Thursday, September 16, 2010

Where Libertarians and Marxists Agree

Under normal conditions, the state is an instrument of domination.... The repressive character of the state is preeminent....
On my walk to work today, I was reading Grindle and Thomas (1991) on Public Choices and Policy Change and for a moment couldn't tell if I was reading about Marxists or Libertarians.

The primary difference between the two is who is doing the exploiting. Marxists hold that the elite, the rich, the owners control the state and use it to exploit the poor. Libertarians, for all their adherence to political choice theory over class analytic approaches, speak about democracy as if they believed the state was controlled by the poorest 51% for the exploitation of the rich. After all, the poor have much more to gain from using the state to rob the rich than the rich do from robbing the poor.

One would like to therefore abolish the state and the other would like to seize control of it, but to both groups, however, the state is a tool of oppression and wealth/income redistribution.

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