98 REVIEWS brought about by the exercise of state power on behalf of people who were trying to get a competitive advantage that they could not attain through ordinary liberal processes. In particular, an alliance of medical associations and insurance companies was able to generate political support to take away the competitive ability of the friendly societies. This was accomplished through such devices as setting minimum fees that the friendly societies had to charge, and requiring people to pay through taxation for state-supported services even if they didn’t use them. Schmidtz is thus arguing not for some leftist caricature of individual responsibilty, but for a regime of internalized responsibility. That regime itself emerges as people interact within a framework of private property and free association. The central thrust of his argument is summarized by that aphorism: a rising tide lifts all boats. Indeed, one of the chapters is titled “the tide of wealth.” The crux of this argument is grounded in the superiority of private property as a framework within which economic activity is organized. He illustrates his point by recounting the early history of the Jamestown colony, which nearly died out when it was organized through common property
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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