Martin Wolf on Political Economy
By Arnold Kling
But what is a confiscatory government? It is just a government run by profit-maximizers.
…There have to be rules, ethical norms and institutional constraints governing profit-maximizing behavior, to ensure that the maximization operates for the social good. Of course, pure libertarians would deny this. They believe that a society could be constructed on the basis of voluntary exchange, with no coercion. I think that would last until the first well-organized gang came over the hill, as Thomas Hobbes argued. We need the Leviathan. The question is how we tame it.
Read Wolf’s whole piece.
Note that Mencius Moldbug argues that a profit-maximizing government would be better than what we have. In order to maximize profits from taxing wealth, a government would have to encourage people to create wealth to begin with.
Robert Mugabe is not building a long-term profitable enterprise. Instead, he is trying to hang on to power and get what he can while he is there.
Suppose that governments were profit-making corporations, subject to takeover bids by other investors. If you wanted to displace Mugabe, you would bid for his corporation. If enough shareholders liked the price you offered, you would own Zimbabwe. Then you could try to turn it around and sell it for a profit.
The problem of taming Leviathan amounts to ensuring that takeovers occur peacefully, by votes of shareholders, rather than through violence. That is why the government corporations in the Moldbug model would need security forces.
One can argue about whether we in the U.S. would be better off under a profit-maximizing corporation instead of our current government. I don’t think there is much of an argument about whether the people of Zimbabwe would be better off.
Maybe Moldbug and I should submit this as our take on Creative Capitalism.