I attended a meeting recently to listen to a speaker discussing the economic and political ideology behind Democrat Presedential hopeful Lyndon LaRouche.
The pretense was a rebuttal of the corrupt free-market economics taught here at Mason, and a historicist argument for "American Political Economy;" of selected tariffs and intervention.
As Steve's kitten Bertie once said ""I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong." and I broadly agree. I try my very best to be open minded, and hoped to expand my understanding of issues such as outsourcing, financial markets and comparative advantage.
The publicity, however, had been confrontational, and a group of Libertarians were aggresively present to shout down the slightest contradiction to their world-view.
What appeared to be a naive infant-industry argument underpinned the LaRoucheian hostility to free trade. Quite rightly, they pointed out that all prosperous nations are so due to (initially) protectionist policies. I agree. Or rather, a tax break and subsidy are, in effect, the same thing. The point is not that Singapore's government targetted specific industries, rather they followed the correct path to a free-market, capitalist country.
The key to the success story of so many emerging countries is not the protectionism which they held onto, rather the one's which they removed.
I agree that the Washington Concensus of "shock therapy", and immediately reducing all barriers to foreign firms is morally wrong, and economically unsound. But I suspect that so too do most capitalist economists who've stepped foot in the real world.
Alas, you wouldn't have thought so based on the vocal heckling of the undergraduate Libertarians.
It was deeply frustrating for me to hear spoilt morons arguing my side, badly. I urge any reader: if you hear the words "tax is theft" or "government is a state enforced monopoly of coersion" to realise that they do not speak for the classical liberalists.
I arrived anticipating a fracas with some statists, and ended up ashamed of the movement for globalisation. The classical liberal intellectual framework, which should be used to help the poor, has been hijacked by the tax-dodgers.
It's time to expose and disown the Libertarians.