Available Now!

Available Now!
What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Back from the (former) USSR

I made it home in one piece and will have more to say about my trip to Georgia and Armenia in due course. Meanwhile I urge everyone to read this excellent post by Roderick Long regarding the student protests in France. If I may sum it up thus: Never take your eye off the ball (the corporate state)!

Postscript: After something of a night's sleep, I want to add a couple of points.

1. The French law letting employers fire young workers without cause during their first two years on the job is a freeing of "the market" only on the surface. France is a cartellized and concentrated economy thanks to heavy goverment intervention on behalf of the country's elite. Whether we call it state capitalism or state socialism is a mere detail. Thus giving the beneficiaries of state privilege a bit more leeway in firing employees hardly constitutes freeing the market. Why is there no talk in France of removing the myriad deep restrictions on free competition? That is what would really give workers bargaining power.

2. The violence of the protesters should not be condoned, or even appear to be condoned. I do not believe that those who burn cars and shops have attempted to target only the property of their oppressors.

See more here and here. In the latter, Kevin Carson puts it well: "Start with a massively corporatist framework. Then tinker around the edges of the system to give more discretion to the usual suspects: landlords, employers, etc. And finally, call it 'free market reform.'"

Post Postscript: There's a good discussion of this issue over at Liberty & Power. It is here. As I commented there, policy issues are less than clear-cut, and people on both sides often have valid grounds. Take a look.

No comments: