My views on the free market

Jon P writing at the Liberty Cadre, gives a plug to the Magna Carta Plus News blog (thanks Jon!), and he also writes:

One of its contributors is James Hammerton, whom I have come across while perusing a few Libertarian Alliance documents. He is a sort of civil libertarian leftie, opposed to the free market but wants freedom in pretty much everything else…

I suspect he’s probably read my critique of libertarianism, I recall someone in the Libertarian Alliance expressed interest in it some time back. I wrote the essay about a decade or so ago. At the time, I would happily have described myself as a Green, having been in the Edinburgh University Green Society throughout my undergraduate days and then its equivalent at Birmingham University during my PhD. As I recall, I wrote the critique during the early days of my PhD, but note my PhD had nothing to do with it! It was written in my spare time.

Anyway since then my views have changed quite a lot. I wouldn’t describe myself as a Green now. Re-reading the essay has reminded me by just how much my views have changed. Basically I want to see the state shrunk, and I’m generally in favour of free trade, my reading having convinced me that its generally beneficial.

However I don’t believe in cutting the state back to a “nightwatchman” state the way some libertarians do. For example, I support the idea of a citizen’s wage, plus I think action is needed to wean the world economy off oil and onto something both less environmentally harmful and less dependent on unstable middle eastern governments. So whilst I might be opposed to total laissez-faire, I do wish to see much freer markets and a much smaller state than we currently have.

Maybe a followup to my critique, considering it in the light of my current views, is in order….

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