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The Market Will Solve

April 20th, 2009 · 12 Comments

Earlier this afternoon:

Rachel: do the libertarian wonks supporting seasteading intend to continue their wonkery once they move to the sea colony? or would they have to like, build stuff for the first few years?

Julian: Build stuff? Don’t be silly.  The Market will provide

Rachel: So the equilibrium is a place populated partly by libertarian escapists, and partly by non-libertarian teachers and nurses and radio dispatchers who work there because none of the escapists could do those jobs (or in sufficient quantities to meet demand)?

Julian: Who said anything about teachers and nurses?  The Market will do it.
In a pure libertopia, the Market will be so efficient as to dispense with the need for human intermediaries, like a Lovecraftian Elder God who casts aside the husk of an avatar to bestow the touch of madness with its own deathless tentacles.

Rachel: Sweet.  I’m moving.
Rachel: Ready the dinghy.

Julian: Also, I’m having T-shirts with the slogan “ready the dinghy” made up.

Rachel: awesome
Rachel: The dinghy WITH NO MAKER.  Because I demand one and will pay, it shall appear.
Rachel: Or does that just take effect once I’m a’stead?

Julian: Time and causality have no meaning in a frictionless market
Julian: As God constantly creates Himself outside of spacetime
Julian: So supply creates its own demand
Julian: Your desire for a dinghy is merely the tesseract shadow cast by the four-dimensional dinghy itself

Rachel: Man, there was a lot I missed in that Patri Friedman post.

Julian: Not all are prepared for the Higher Efficient Markets Theory.

An unsettling proportion of my IM conversations look vaguely like this.

Update: I should probably clarify that this is just a bit of silliness on my part, not really a dig at any particular experiment in living, and certainly not at Patri, who clearly doesn’t hold the sort of panglossian view I’m caricaturing here.

Tags: Economics · Libertarian Theory



12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ben // Apr 20, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Why does everything come back to Yog Sothoth?

  • 2 Christopher M // Apr 20, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Wouldn’t a dinghy have to be five-dimensional to have a shadow that was, itself, a tesseract?

  • 3 William Newman // Apr 21, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    It’s a cruel barb, and I can see the humor. But I also find it cruelly funny in return that nursing, a specialty often filled by trained immigrants who seem to be on net more excluded than promoted by current policy, is nominated as one of the two prototypical examples. Ooh, the cluelessness and lack of perspective of libertarian dreamers, check!

    I see various things which could go easily terribly wrong with any new sovereign organization, libertarian or not, but fundamental inability to get nursing services (or cane sugar, or textiles) does not seem to me to be among them.

  • 4 Micha Ghertner // Apr 21, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I’ll have what you’re smoking, please. Also, having chilled with both Julian and Patri separately, it would be freakin’ sweet to watch you two go at it in person, intellectually speaking, of course. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • 5 Julian Sanchez // Apr 21, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I should probably add that this is emphatically not supposed to be a dig at Patri; I was really just being silly.

  • 6 Doug // Apr 21, 2009 at 8:45 pm


    A cheeseburger is manifesting my appetite even as we speak.

  • 7 Todd Seavey // Apr 23, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Let it not be forgotten, though, that in the end, it took only one boat ramming Cthulhu to destroy him. The better world to come is fragile.

  • 8 Miscellaneous Links « Brad Taylor’s Blog // Apr 23, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    […] Ready the dinghy. […]

  • 9 David // Apr 24, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    This brings up a question I’ve had. Do libertarians actually believe in Says law? Even a version thereof? I only ask because you include it in your caricature.

  • 10 Patri Friedman // May 26, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    It’s all a question of scale. When there is only 1 provider of any piece of central infrastructure, someone (say, your friendly neighborhood dictator & president Patri Friedman) is gonna have to make sure that piece of infrastructure is provided. Emergency Rooms, ferries with supplies, internet access – someone has to think of these things. Carnival Cruise Lines designs the facilities on each of its ships, it doesn’t just allocate a bunch of commercial space and throw it open to the market.

    On the other hand, as you grow from “tiny company town” towards city, with multiple providers of each piece of infrastructure, I think you really can just throw up your hands and let the market provide.

    I know I’m taking a silly question seriously, but the question really does have some meat to it and it’s one I have been thinking about lately in regards to Ephemerisle, the floating Burning Man-type festival we are throwing in October. In theory, it should be magic anarcho-capitalist land with competing clusters of land, and all the organizers need to do is name a place and time. In practice, in year 1, we’re gonna have make sure there are porta-potties and a medical evacuation plan.

  • 11 Protection Agency Cartels and Organizational Innovation « Brad Taylor’s Blog // Jul 22, 2009 at 12:30 am

    […] course, just because there’s an incentive to provide something doesn’t mean it can actually be provided. Anyone inventing a perpetual motion machine would become very rich. Unfortunately, such a machine […]

  • 12 Tamiko Dorris // Nov 12, 2010 at 1:25 am

    Interesting post, I am going to put it on my blog