How Can We Reconcile Freedom-Loving Libertarianism with Tough Prosecution of Fraud?

George Washington's picture


Liberty and Justice Are Not Irreconcilable

I voted for Gary Johnson (and am a huge fan of Ron Paul), and respect and fully-support the libertarian passions for freedom and free markets.

But I am also a tireless crusader for enforcing the rule of law.

You might assume that these are opposite philosophies.  For example, a reader asks:

Your work on the dangers of the American nuclear industry has been really comprehensive, and you have drawn attention to the deception, manipulation, neglect, and willful ignorance of the nuclear industry. For example, I just watched the Al Jazeera video you posted earlier this year (3/12), in which the NRC and the nuclear industry are (rightly) criticized for waiting for harm to happen, instead of preventing it. At the same time, you identify as libertarian, and I believe you supported Gary Johnson in the presidential election. He is opposed to public regulation of industry and has said that post-harm lawsuits -- for example, in medical contexts -- are sufficient to encourage businesses to self-regulate for public safety. Could you please explain how you reconcile the libertarian position against regulation with your clear recognition that too-loose self-regulation of the nuclear industry imperils the public?

Nuclear Power Would Not Exist In a Free Market

Initially, it is undisputed that nuclear power plants would not exist if operators had to obtain funding and insurance through the free market. Private insurers won’t touch nuclear energy. Investors run the other way, because the odds of losing all of their investment are so high.

No private company in the world would operate a nuclear plant unless the government put a very low cap on liability. In many parts of the world, governments cap liability at a mere $13 billion dollars.

This is a little insane, given that “the risk of a nuclear catastrophe … could total trillions of dollars and even bankrupt a country”.


If there was a free market in energy, nuclear power would be over … immediately.

AP notes:

Nuclear power is a viable source for cheap energy only if it goes uninsured.




Governments that use nuclear energy are torn between the benefit of low-cost electricity and the risk of a nuclear catastrophe, which could total trillions of dollars and even bankrupt a country.




The cost of a worst-case nuclear accident at a plant in Germany, for example, has been estimated to total as much as €7.6 trillion ($11 trillion), while the mandatory reactor insurance is only €2.5 billion.


“The €2.5 billion will be just enough to buy the stamps for the letters of condolence,” said Olav Hohmeyer, an economist at the University of Flensburg who is also a member of the German government’s environmental advisory body.


The situation in the U.S., Japan, China, France and other countries is similar.




“Around the globe, nuclear risks — be it damages to power plants or the liability risks resulting from radiation accidents — are covered by the state. The private insurance industry is barely liable,” said Torsten Jeworrek, a board member at Munich Re, one of the world’s biggest reinsurance companies.




In financial terms, nuclear incidents can be so devastating that the cost of full insurance would be so high as to make nuclear energy more expensive than fossil fuels.




Ultimately, the decision to keep insurance on nuclear plants to a minimum is a way of supporting the industry.


“Capping the insurance was a clear decision to provide a non-negligible subsidy to the technology,” Klaus Toepfer, a former German environment minister and longtime head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said.

U.S. News and World Report reports:

The disaster insurance for nuclear power plants in the United States is currently underwritten by the federal government, Cooper says. Without that safeguard, “nuclear power is neither affordable nor worth the risk. If the owners and operators of nuclear reactors had to face the full liability of a Fukushima-style nuclear accident or go head-to-head with alternatives in a truly competitive marketplace, unfettered by subsidies, no one would have built a nuclear reactor in the past, no one would build one today, and anyone who owns a reactor would exit the nuclear business as quickly as possible.”

See this and this.

In other words, this is not a free market.  Instead, the public has funded the nuclear industry.  As such, we - the owners - should get some control over how nuclear plants operate.

Likewise, the government created the mega-banks, big oil and the other mega-corporations.

Free Market Champions Demand Prosecution of Fraud

A strong rule of law is the main determinant of prosperity.  On the other hand, failure to prosecute fraud is destroying our prosperity.

Nuclear meltdowns, the financial crisis and the Gulf oil spill all happened for the same reason:  fraud to make a few more pennies, and a subsequent cover-up to try to protect the wrongdoers and continue "business as usual". And see this.

This is not free market economics.

Indeed, the father of free market economics - Adam Smith  - leading Austrian economists, and other free market advocates are for the prosecution of fraud:

There is a widespread myth that free market supporters are against regulation or prosecuting fraud.


In fact, Adam Smith – the father of free market capitalism – was for regulation of banks, and believed that trust is vital for a healthy economy. Because strong enforcement of laws against fraud is a basic prerequisite for trust, Smith would be disgusted by the lack of prosecution of Wall Street fraudsters today.


Smith railed against monopolies and their corrupting influence. And Smith was pro-regulation, so long as the regulation benefited the little guy, as opposed to the wealthiest:

When the regulation, therefore, is in support of the workman, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters.

Richard Posner – one of the leading proponents over the course of many decades for removing the reach of the law from the economy – has now changed his mind.


So has another leading proponent of deregulation and turning a blind eye towards fraud: Alan Greenspan.


While some promoters of a fake version of Austrian economics are anti-regulation and against prosecuting fraud, the main Austrian economists were unambiguously for them.


William K. Black – professor of economics and law, and the senior regulator during the S&L crisis – notes that leading Austrian free market economists said that fraud must be prosecuted:

Real Austrian economists … hate elite frauds and want them prosecuted vigorously. Ludwig von Mises and Friederich Hayek are the two most famous Austrian economists.


Hayek, F.A. The Road to Serfdom

To create conditions in which competition will be as effective as possible, to prevent fraud and deception, to break up monopolies— these tasks provide a wide and unquestioned field for state activity.

The Constitution of Liberty

There remains, however, one other kind of harmful action that is generally thought desirable to prevent and which at first might seem distinct. This is fraud and deception. Yet, though it would be straining the meaning of words to call them ‘coercion,’ on examination it appears that the reasons why we want to prevent them are the same as those applying to coercion. Deception, like coercion, is a form of manipulating the data on which a person counts, in order to make him do what deceiver wants him to do. Where it is successful, the deceived becomes in the same manner the unwilling tool, serving another man’s ends without advancing his own. Though we have no single word to cover both, all we have said of coercion applies equally to fraud and deception.


With this correction, it seems that freedom demands no more than that coercion and violence, fraud and deception, be prevented, except for the use of coercion by government for the sole purpose of enforcing known rules intended to ensure the best conditions under which the individual may give his activities a coherent, rational pattern…..


Liberty not only means that the individual has both the opportunity and the burden of choice; it also means that he must bear the consequences of his actions…. Liberty and responsibility are inseparable.

Mises, L.

Government ought to protect the individuals within the country against the violent and fraudulent attacks of gangsters, and it should defend the country against foreign enemies.

Black also notes that fraud is a leading cause of financial bubbles and malinvestment – two of the greatest sins which Austrian economists rightly fight against.


Unless financial fraud is prosecuted, bubbles will be blown … and when they burst, the economy will tank. Fraud – along with bad Federal Reserve policy – is what causes bubbles in the first place.

The Proof Is In the Pudding: Fewer Prosecutions Equals a Worse Economy

Obama has prosecuted fewer financial crimes than any president in decades – less than Ronald Reagan, less than George H.W. Bush, less than Bill Clinton, and less than George W. Bush.


The economy is worse than it has been since the Great Depression, if not before.


See the connection? See this and this.

Everyone Supports Laws Protecting Contract and Private Property Rights

Even the most radical free market advocates support laws protecting contract and private property rights. In other words, they support the judicial branch of government and the basic laws Congress passes to support such rights.

There are obviously good, pro-competitive laws and bad, anti-competitive laws.

Paul Craig Roberts – a true conservative, who was a Wall Street Journal editor and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan, and is widely credited with being the “father of supply-side economics” – points out:

Regulation can increase economic efficiency and … without regulation external costs can offset the value of production.




Thirty-three years ago in an article in the Journal of Monetary Economics (August 1978), “Idealism in Public Choice Theory,” I developed a model to assess the benefits and costs of regulation. I argued that well-thought-out regulation could be a factor of production that increases GNP. For example, regulation that contributed to the quality and safety of food and medicines contributed to specialization in production and lower costs, and regulations enforcing contracts and private property rights add to economic efficiency.


On the other hand, bureaucracies build their empires and extend their regulations into the realm of negative returns. Moreover, as regulations increase, economic managers spend more time in red tape and less in productive activity. As rules proliferate, they become contradictory and result in paralysis.


I had hopes that my analysis would result in a more thoughtful approach to regulation, but to no avail. Liberals continued to argue that more regulation was better, and libertarians maintained than none was best.

Do Anti-Law Advocates Really Want Anarchy?

All sports need a referee. Some players will be bigger or more talented than others, which is great. They have a better chance of outcompeting the other guy and winning.


But without basic rules and referees, ruthless players might use a knife or kick the other guy in the knee. Perhaps we could suspend all rules, and maybe everyone would whip out a knife break the other guy’s kneecap. That’s fine … but that’s not the game of football.


Radicals who believe that we should not have any laws against fraud are implicitly arguing for anarchy. They might not use that word, but that is what they’re arguing for.


But the same Founding Father who argued for periodic revolutions to keep the government honest also argued against tearing down something unless you have something better in mind to replace it? Thomas Jefferson, the most vocal advocate of the citizens’ right to revolt to ensure honest government also cautioned against tearing something down unless it was for the express purpose of replacing it with something better.


Real, deep-thinking anarchists (as opposed to those using fake anarchy philosophy in order to promote lawlessness by the super-elite) are not for destroying all organization.  Instead, they argue for self-organization and self-regulation. See this, this and this.


JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs aren’t reining in one another’s fraud.  Bank of America and MF Global didn’t police each other’s fraud.   Tepco and BP didn’t make sure the companies made accurate reports about their safety measures.  Solyndra and Koch Industries didn’t guard against abuse by the other company.


So if one wants to argue that the Federal government should not regulate financial players, fine (perhaps our country is too big and complex to manage, and the federal government has become too corrupt) … but who should?


The states? Cities? Communities? Neighbors?


Human beings have the ability to form social contracts. Our D.C. government has largely breached it social contract with the people.


But we shouldn’t tear down the federal government unless we replace it with something better.


No one wants to tear down the state of organization so completely that we go back to monkeys (without the ability to talk), or one-celled critters . . . so the question is how do we want to organize?


Do you want to live as a “savage”? In reality, the natives had survival skills, cultural traditions, and knowledge developed over many hundreds or thousands of years (including knowledge gained before the migration from Asia to America), stored in the database of oral traditions. The settlers had traditions and knowledge as well. If we tear away all of that organization, life is going to be pretty challenging.


It is easy for a teenager to criticize his parents, but a lot harder to actually create a better adult life for himself. A teenager looks silly and immature when he criticizes everything his parents do without understanding the challenges he’ll face as an adult. But a young person who rebels against his parents and then creates a better adult life is doing important and heroic work.


In other words, anarchy as an economic model could work if economic players organized in such a way as to police against fraud and criminal behavior (the equivalent of pulling out a knife or taking out someone’s kneecap in the middle of a football game).


This is a long-winded way of saying that we should not stop the government from enforcing fraud laws unless we come up with a more effective way to stop fraud.

The Real Problem ...

While liberals tend to distrust big corporations and conservatives tend to distrust the federal government, it is really the malignant, symbiotic relationship between the two is the root problem.

Too much government overreach? Giant unaccountable corporations?

Maybe ... but the root problem is that corrupt government officials and corrupt corporate fatcats have merged into a crime syndicate.

Do you get it?    Before we can have a real free market, we need to burst the bubble of fraud.

Before we can have a functioning government, we need to stand up to corrupt government officials.

We all need to step out of the left-right dichotomy which is distracting us and dumbing us down.

We need liberty and justice.

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Jstyr's picture

I am trying to wrap my mind around something. How can a libertarian(I don't identify as a libertarian but most of my views are line with them and certainly my economic views) society address an issue like the pollution being experienced recently in Beijing and other Chinese cities?

Libertarianism comes naturally to me but I am having trouble understanding how a truly libertarian society could come to a consensus on something like pollution. Pollution is a gradual thing. It builds up. At what point is the pollution now "infringing upon the rights of others"? For me as an individual I would say the pollution levels in places like Beijing are an infringement on my rights to access healthy, clean air.

Wouldn't something like air pollution require a complex consensus? Obviously everyone will not stop voluntarily driving their cars and using dirty energy. Apparently in China people will continue to drive their pollution spewing cars even as the smog becomes so think they can barely see down the road!

How does libertarianism gain consensuses when it comes to addressing the unforeseen consequences of high technology that demand coordinated responses? Or am I asking the wrong question?

blindman's picture

What the Economic Crisis Really Means - and what we can do about it

Radical Marijuana's picture

"In many parts of the world, governments cap liability" for nuclear power accidents.

In Canada, the legislated limit is $75 million. Furthermore, the Harper government, a couple years of ago, through an omnibus budget bill, privatized Atomic Energy Canada, selling its assets to SNC-Lavalin for a pittance, while the public kept responsibilities for its liabilities. (Of course, SNC-Lavalin is often in the news these days for its notorious corruption, all over the world.) So Canadians spent billions of dollars subsidizing atomic energy, then practically gave away the good things accumulated to a private company for almost nothing, while the public was left holding the big bag of radioactive toxic waste.  Such a classic example of privatizing the profits, while socializing the losses!

Atomic energy is the leading edge of the basic problem: Neolithic civilizations were controlled by the people who were the best at being dishonest, and backing that up with violence. Atomic energy is literally billions of times bigger than anything before in human history. However, all the decisions regarding the development of atomic power are made by those people who were selected by the history of militarism to be the best at deceits.

Therefore, we have a fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting system being used to decide to subsidize atomic energy, because of the history of the desire to build atomic bombs. From a philosophical point of view, atomic energy totally transforms common sense with respect to the ideas which support our present religious and political concepts. However, despite that being the case, the vast majority of people still think in the same ways as they did before atomic energy was realized, and therefore, its theory proven to be correct.

The develop of atomic energy is first and foremost of the ways in which pumping up the social pyramid system, to amplify it to astronomical sizes with scientific technology, has made society become totally insane! The history of militarism reached the point during the 1960s when any real world war would become almost omnicidal, and therefore, suicidal to start. However, the runaway development of the established social pyramid system has continued to select for the most psychopathic and sociopathic people to be able to consolidate ever more control over a globalized civilization. ... We have no way to fully understand how this will play through!

I would offer a few hints towards the ways that we should change our understanding of the meaning of "justice" to approach that idea through unitary mechanisms, consistent with general energy systems, rather than through the old-fashioned false fundamental dichotomies, and impossible ideals.

The deeper problems can be described as the PARADOX OF ENFORCEMENT. Only those who are the best at being dishonest, and backing that up with violence, can effectively prevail to enforce their "rule of law" against all other groups. The answer to Plato's question "Who will guard the guardians?" is nobody. The process of natural selection has selected for the actual history of militarism to make War Kings, and then that morphed to become Fraud Kings. The only back-up system is more natural selection. The current artificial selection continues to make the Fraud Kings more wealthy and more powerful, and therefore, even more able to engage in frauds, such as subsidizing atomic energy, etc., through every aspect of the way that our financial system operate, including insurance, as one of the main pillars of those systems.

"Justice" should be understood as the result of the conservation of energy, manifesting itself through its transformations. By cybernetic definition, the most labile component controls the system. In human terms, that meant that the most dishonest and violent people controlled society. Energy goes down the path of least resistance, which in human terms means the path of least morality. More morality requires building systems of resistance, that change what the path of least resistance becomes.

Politics is applied human ecology, and justice should be understood as an evolutionary ecology. THE PROBLEM is that science and technologies have advanced through dramatic paradigm shifts, rapidly resulting in human beings becoming trillions of times more powerful, while our social pyramid system is based on the same old biggest bullies' bullshit that has been dominating society for many thousands of years. Atomic energy, et alia, are the result of profound paradigm shifts in the ways that we perceive the world. Those should drive equally profound paradigm shifts in the ways that we understand politics.

Of course, that is nothing but a vain fantasy, at the present time, since the vast majority of people want to continue to be mostly ignorant, and their ruling classes want to make sure that the majority of other people want to continue to remain ignorant. In theory, we should revolutionize our militarism, and our monetary system, because those ARE now global electronic fiat money frauds, backed up by atomic bombs. However, instead, we are slip sliding away towards even more insane things, because our society is controlled by the maximum possible deceits, done by the most criminally insane people, who are able to walk away doing that, since it is relatively a cake walk for the current ruling classes to control the masses of Zombie Sheeple.

The first generation that grew up with atomic bombs is still alive today. We have managed, mostly through lots of dumb luck, as well as a few moments of good decisions, to not yet have atomic bombs actually used again, since World War Two. However, there are thousands of them able to go at a moment's notice, at the turn of a few keys, and thousands and thousands more of them held in reserve.

I originally became involved in registered political activities because of that fact, since there is nowhere to hide, and nothing else to do, if one thinks about it, and can not forget those facts. Of course, that led me on to think about the money system, which pays for the murder system, which backs up the money system. That let me on to work on the problem of the funding of the political processes ... which is the work that I am still engaged in now ...

HOWEVER, all of that has only confirmed, over and over again, what I have written above. Namely, our civilization is psychotically insane, and is controlled by the people who are the most psychotically insane. The vast majority of people are adapted to go along with that, and to do nothing about it, and to not want to do anything about it. There is "justice" only in the sense that there are energy systems, which conserve energy through their transformations. However, that "justice" is setting itself up for the biggest blow-out social storms that we can possibly imagine.

The world today is primarily dominated by the Fraud Kings who run the monetary system, who have been in feedback loops to pay for politics, and things related to politics, such as the mass media, in order to maintain the financial system that the Fraud Kings gradually constructed, on the basis of the previous history that made the War Kings.

Thus, the whole world is controlled by fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting systems, where "money" gets made out of nothing, as debts, and everyone is forced to accept that, and adapt to live inside of that debt slavery system. That debt slavery system automatically runs away to become debt insanity, because the exponential growth of debts generate numbers which are impossible to find any mathematical solutions for. That is the context in which decisions, such as how to develop atomic energy, and build atomic bombs, are made.

Of course, there is still "justice" just like energy pumped into the weather systems can eventually produce storms with hurricanes or tornadoes. That is what we are looking at today. More and more energy is being pumped into social pyramid systems, as electronic frauds, backed by atomic energy. We are still in the relative calm before the possible social storms. However, the tipping points, where that energy gets organized into intense storms, do not appear to be far away.

Justice is balance. Things will balance through, since energy will conserve itself. However, the entropic processes that we are looking at in the foreseeable future are likely going to be astronomically amplified beyond our current abilities to image their scales ...

Anyways, like always, I am favourably impressed by the articles that George Washington writes, and which are republished here on Zero Hedge. However, I find them to be many orders of magnitude smaller than what I think are the real problems, and therefore, what the real solutions should be. ... BUT, of course, I recognize that nothing I say matters much, since the real world will continue to be controlled by lies, backed up with violence, spinning out of control to a greater and greater degree, regardless of anything I say, since there are no reasons to believe that the ruling classes will change their morbid social habits, nor will the masses of people change their action patterns.

The vast majority of people will keep on being muppets, and their politicians will keep on being puppets, while the real world will continue being controlled by the Fraud Kings. Therefore, everything we do will continue to be dominated by the maximum possible deceits, and the consequences of that will finally accumulate to go utterly off the scale of all past history, to generate social storm events of unprecedented proportions.

Earth Ling's picture

Outstanding - thank you for this. I know you are skeptical that we'll save ourselves.  So am I. I do believe that when people express reality as clearly as you just did it makes a difference. Enough of a difference? I wouldn't bet on it, but I'll keep trying anyway and so should we all. I will share be printing out and otherwise sharing this comment.

- War Kings and Fraud Kings

- the money system, which pays for the murder system, which backs up the money system

- our militarism and our monetary system

- those ARE now global electronic fiat money frauds, backed up by atomic bombs

Effing brilliant RM!


Radical Marijuana's picture

Thanks Earth Ling!

I have been beating the drums long enough to have a few rifts down pat! For those who have never heard that beat before, they may be entertaining, even enlightening. However, others that have heard them already too many times may not enjoy hearing them again. ...  But anyways, I tend to write for the sake of my own sanity, when attempting to understand the world, where writing becomes a tool to help with that thinking.

EscapingProgress's picture

Fraud is a breach of contract and, ultimately, theft. Breaking contracts and theft violate the nonaggression principle.

If I own a company and sell you some stock in that company, but I misrepresent my balance sheet by way of fraud in order to convice you to purchase the stock then I have violated my contract with you because I misrepresented what I was selling and, therefor, stole your money. 

A more simple example: If I tell you I will sell you one whole banana in exchange for $1, and you give me $1 but I only give you one-half of one banana in exchange then I have broken my contract with you to sell you one whole banana in exchange for $1. In effect I have stolen $0.50 from you.

nc551's picture

BS on no nuclear energy in a free market.  Perhaps we wouldn't have Uranium reactors designed in the 50's.  If you've never heard of them you should look up liquid fluoride thorium reactors.

Fred Hayek's picture

Good stuff overall George, as usual.  But NC551 is right. 

You need to distinguish between forms of nuclear power.   You wouldn't say that all cars are unsafe, maybe just the Pinto and some others.   All forms of nuclear power aren't the same.  They don't all have the same dangers and the same benefits.

Look up some of Kirk Sorensen's presentations about LFTR's.  It'll blow your mind.

Back in 1942 a scientist saw that with a tiny bit of uranium you could start a reaction in Thorium that would get you more energy out than you had put in.  At that time he called it a "quadrillion dollar discovery".  It still is.  But various forces have combined for all of us to wait more than 70 years for the tremendous benefits. 

Please!  Go look at Kirk Sorensen's presentations about Thorium power.  You'll be stunned.



windcatcher's picture


Great job GW but I agree with nc551 and fred hyack


The US were the pioneers of safe liquid fluoride thorium reactors but abandoned that technology in favor of nuclear reactors that provides a by product for nuclear weapons.


Today, Communist China is the worlds leader in safe liquid fluoride thorium reactor technology and Americans have there thumbs up their butts waiting for the inevitable and calculable nuclear disaster.


windcatcher's picture

Great job GW but I agree with nc551 and fred hyack


The US were the pioneers of safe liquid fluoride thorium reactors but abandoned that technology in favor of nuclear reactors that provides a by product for nuclear weapons.


Today, Communist China is the worlds leader in safe liquid fluoride thorium reactor technology and Americans have there thumbs up their butts waiting for the inevitable and calculable nuclear disaster.

YouAreBliss's picture

Oh here is another "Cheaters Wins, and Win Big!"  hero for America.



Hagel’s Millions Fmr. Nebraska senator engaged in questionable business practices to earn cell phone millions


God Bless America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YouAreBliss's picture

These guys like Paul and Johnson are the Banksters best friend!  They champion the "new" America.  These guys are such corporate suckups it's not the "teaparty" a very nasty stench.


The new American culture of "CHEATERS ALWAYS WIN...and WIN BIG!"   Don't fight it - embrace the lying, thievery, fraud, deceit, and bribery.  It's the new American motto - Win at all costs - don't worry no one goes to jail (well except those who protest this new America - get it occupy?).


Old Lance Armstrong is worth a cool $100 Million...our American HERO!!!


Hurray for Lance, Hurray for BofA, HURRAY for Lloyd!!  GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!!

NaN's picture

GW: Very good piece.  These points about Adam Smith's support of fair markets and the free ride nuclear power gets need to be made often.


Colonial Intent's picture

“You know, a long time ago being crazy meant something. Nowadays everybody's crazy.”

--Charles Manson

falak pema's picture

by having honest governement that applies the law and does not support crony oligarchy power; all the while ensuring balanced redistribution to allow all to participate in the economy. This implies that "we the people" participate in the process; that is not happening. 

Seer's picture

Do NOT confuse anarchism as being lawless.  Further, to state that anarchy means NO LAW is totally false- law of nature.  Sorry, but there is no truer, firmer, and non-corruptible set of laws than comes from nature.  I do not state these things as being in some way a champion of them, no, I state them because it's reality.

Also, I'm not so certain that something like the nuclear industry couldn't happen in a totally free market world.  Big entities have always colluded, and when trouble is on their tail they morph (or slink off- declare bankruptcy, leaving very little available for compensation of damages done).  Consider a logging company that might totally clearcut an area, that it may be backed by local "pro-growth" people and it pays insurance for lawsuits; what if a future lawsuit pops up (and there is, without any doubt, damage done to others) and that company no longer exists or folds and the same for the insurance company?  The problem lies with humans seeking very short-term results at the expense of the future; and as growth continues it places further pressures on the need to consume more (in total) NOW.

Lordflin's picture

There is another name for your so called law of nature...'the rule of the jungle'... or as Machiavellie put it... might makes right. It is also the path to tyranny... and the only form of law under the same.

The opposite of 'rule of law' is not anarchy, but tyranny. All free societies derive from a set of laws that descend from moral authority, and to which all are beholden.

So far as anarchy is concerned... it is the old argument over whether man is naturally good or evil. I suppose it is easy to understand in a world where good and evil are no longer concepts, or better yet, are reversed, that this argument is often not understood. Anarchists believe that man, left to his own, and without government intervention, would live a moral life... that government is the root of evil. Those believing the opposite... read, founding fathers... believe that man, by his nature, is evil, and will not behave well unless restrained.

Both free societies and tyrannies believe in government... the former, in a government in which opportunity is equally available to all via a level playing field... the latter believe in a government that suits their personal desires...

MachoMan's picture

When a conflict takes place between any manmade system of government and the law of the jungle, which has won each and every conflict?  All we do is classify temporary attempts to defy economic and political gravity based upon who derives the spoils...  I think this type of analysis (or classification) completely ignores (and draws attention away from) the substance of the situation...  that the law of the jungle never left...  and even the most steadfast attempt to defy it tends to fall flat on its face...  often times in short order.

TrulyStupid's picture

The real enemy of free markets is monopoly and monopolistic practises...resulting eventually in the corporatism we see today.

Adam Smith noted that whenever business owners from a similar trade got together in private the first thing they inevitablly did was to conspire to fix prices against the free market dynamic of competition. The wave of industry consolidation, levered buyouts, outsourcing and capital flight to other jurisdictions all stem from these monopolistic urges legitimized by government regulation.

More on Adam Smith:

falak pema's picture

try Joan Robinson on oligarchy "dominant position" market trends in capital formation. 

Here is a case study based on her work.

useful overview from origins.

History of economic thought - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Colonial Intent's picture

"But the European Court of Justice (ECJ) did not rule on the other key issue raised by Fenin; as to whether health services were to be judged to be an economic market activity as opposed to a social activity based on solidarity."

Capitalism vs Socialism?

DaveyJones's picture

well said, it is funny how we think Amazon will save us. A great example of the necessity of some kind of societal "rules" and "regulations" that only are effective if they are minimal, fundamental and remain uncorrupted. (See: founders) A constant battle. And one that we are losing. 

dexter_morgan's picture

Excellent GW, I also voted for Johnson since Paul had dropped out and I would agree about nuclear power.

Silversinner's picture

Deep inside I am an anarchist,libertarian is my way of

compromising towards society.

Walt D.'s picture

"Nuclear power is a viable source for cheap energy only if it goes uninsured".

Or if the plants are owned by the state, or the state underwrites any loses, as with Hurricane Sandy.

The same can be said for banks - not viable absent TBTF. (Ralph Nader, considered a crank for saying this 25 years ago, turned out to be right.)

The same for dammage after a large earthquake in California - housing is only viable if the Federal Government underwrites any large earthquake losses.

At this moment in Europe, the UK is dependent on France's surplus of nuclear energy - how ironic. What is going to happen when these plants get decomissioned? If the severe winters keep up or get worse, a lot of people will die from the cold. As Margaret Thatcher said - "You can ignore reality, but you still have to bear the consequences of ignoring reality."



steve from virginia's picture




There is no such thing as a 'freedom loving libertarian'. One cancels out the other.


Libertarians are universally apologists for plutocrats and tycoons who are promised every advantage in their war of total dominion against the rest of the world and all that it contains.


Tycoons are the enemy of life, the determined destroyer of the human race, in their mindless greed they are bent on reducing to money ... whatever they can put their hands on ...


Until some libertarian puts tycoons to the well-deserved sword none of them are to be taken as anything other than as whores for the rich.


That includes precious Ron Paul ... whore for the tycoons.

Cheyenne's picture

Excellent stuff, GW. As you pointed out in another post, Iceland arrested and charged a staggering number of bankers. ("about 200 high-level executives and bankers responsible for the economic crisis in the country were either arrested or were facing criminal charges")

Based on relative GDP and population figures, Iceland's anti-fraud effort would scale to about 200,000 "executive and banker" arrests in the U.S., which sounds about right. (Cf. 1000+ successful criminal prosecutions after the $150 billion S&L crisis, which would scale to 100,000 prosecutions in the current $15T crisis).

Far from destablizing the economy (as Geithner and Lanny Breuer would have it), Iceland's prosecutions occasioned a drop in unemployment to below 5%:

mikmid's picture

Obama is a fraud

Holder is a fraud

The congress is a fraud

Our financial system is a fraud

Zirp, bond rates, stock valuations, gold price, the wars, the news, rule of law are fraud.


Lordflin's picture

Its not my fraud... and I have already paid a big price.

DaveyJones's picture

It's like the show "lost" - bad fantasy, recycled scripts, plots that make no sense, soon pulled by the real producers

MachoMan's picture

GW, this is largely a strawman...  the real issue is how to deal with (or, as some might say, correct) the wealth gap.  We can talk about prosecution of fraud til we're blue in the face...  clawbacks of any illegally obtained spoils...

However, the real problem is not with prosecuting fraud (although it would sure as fuck be a good start), rather, the problem is somehow clawing back those spoils that were legally obtained but through immoral chicanery.  This is no strawman...  this is where the rubber meets the road...  It cannot be disputed that some regulatory intervention is necessary for markets to function, however there will be great dispute as to how we "right the ship" on a macro level... 

The fundamental paradox of capitalism is that the normalization of profits through perfect competition is impossible given rational actors inherently seek to avoid it.  By virtue of needing this regulator to ensure markets even function, the seeds of its own destruction are sown, given the regulator will be mercilessly corrupted by existing, entrenched competitors.  Thereby, defeating the alleged boon of capitalism (efficient use of resources/cheap goods for all).

Further, the larger issue is the sounding of the starting gun for the race of life.  Capitalism is premised upon many things, at least one of them being a fundamental flaw...  that when the starting gun is fired, there is some semblance of a level playing field...  which actually allows and/or requires competition among market participants.  What we have now is nothing but entrenched players too resource rich and otherwise connected to concede any power.  The argument that simply letting TBTF finally die would provide a wellspring for the rest of us to begin business (or fill the power vacuum) is complete nonsense.  More often than not, legal liability ends with these entities...  and the principal actors of the fraud (individuals acting on behalf of the entities, while taking a handsome sum in the process) have managed to stash away the spoils for a very, very long time.  But, it doesn't really end there...  you have legal insider trading...  legal capture of positions closest to the money spigot...  public works projects...  

Our monetary policy literally makes everyone, in some form or fashion, complicit in the scheme (we also benefit as a nation before other nations, given we're closer to the spigot, but I'll leave that for another topic).  As a result, it's very, very difficult to try and determine who is culpable and how much, if any, should be recouped....  This is what is difficult to discuss....  prosecuting blatant fraud is an issue that no one disputes (but for the most entrenched power).  I'd like to hear your thoughts on the less black and white issues... 

moneybots's picture

Freedom and prosecuting fraud are not at odds with each other.  There is nothing to reconcile between the two. 

indio007's picture

I didn't sign no social contract and neither didn't anyone else.

Debt to society is a bunch of drivel, concocted to get the commoner to blindly support the elite kleptocracy.

DaveyJones's picture

funny how they call it a debt to society when it's literally backwards 

knukles's picture

Nailed it!

(guess that makes him a danger to society... take away hos free speech card)

tip e. canoe's picture

this is what i believe made Aaron Swartz so dangerous to the string pullers.

fijisailor's picture

Ultimately it's the psyche and attitide of the people of a country that determines success or failure.  Resource poor countries have been very successful and resource rich countries have been a failure.  Having traveled around the world that is my conclusion.  If Americans choose to be corrupt and ignore the law then this country will fail as it is now failing.  I see many here on ZH who see the high level corruption in the US and are disillusioned and see their own corruption as a solution also.

DOT's picture

Believe not the denier, who would compromise so that you might compromise.

blindman's picture

how do you reconcile debt at interest in a fractional reserve
money system (these notes as legal tender) = money?
just forget about it, you don't. then in good time
the only accounting that sustains the system is fraud.
the powers that be do not want to commit fraud and tell
outrageous lies in public on a daily basis, they are
required to to maintain the status quo. to retrieve the
last bit of functionality out of the system that is done!
they know it and are on full alert to lie and steal as much
as possible in preparation for the next iteration of gangland
slavery disguised as something else. i believe it is a strategy.
we have a system that was designed for one thing, growth.
it doesn't work without it and that is fatal flaw that drives
us to financial suicide. the money is funny. fed's balance sheet
and the national debt tells the whole story of "money". it is
a failed system by design, can't be reconciled, only scrapped.
how much time? it is no oddity or curiosity that there is no
prosecution of fraud. it is the system stripped down to its
very own nature, the money system in all it's glory ! thank you
federal reserve for a wasted 100 years of war and desperate greed
and insanity, ongoing. how do you reconcile that?
forget about it.

Radical Marijuana's picture

Indeed, blindman, that is an interesting question, what will be the "next iteration of gangland slavery disguised as something else" ???  Some seeds from the old systems may grow into new systems.

IF human beings survive, then future realities MUST necessarily still be some systems of organized lies, operating organized robberies. The one we have now is the "money as debt" system. One goes into to bank, to "borrow" money, which does not exist until one agrees to borrow it. The bank gets to make that money out of nothing, to lend. That is a fundamentally fraudulent contract, where the banks have the power of the state to back their systems up. People are forced to pay taxes in the money that the private banks make out of nothing. People are forced to accept that privatized fiat money supply as their legal tender. The people are forced to live inside of a system where if there was no more debts, then virtually their entire money supply would disappear.

Of course, OBVIOUSLY, creating "money" out of nothing is a fraud, which became enforced by governments. However, since that is our entire economic system, at some point we should stop believing in bullshit that it is not, or that it should not, or could not be. The practical response should be to accept that human realities are always organized lies, operating organized robberies, and then attempt to evolve better balanced ecologies of those dynamic equilibria. Instead, we have the ruling Fraud Kings almost totally dominating our society, to the degree that almost the only significant opposition is controlled.

Most Libertarians have become classic controlled opposition. They spout the same bullshit impossible ideals as the elites. Those impossible ideals always backfire and make the opposite things happen in the real world. Those elites may do that on purpose. However, I wonder about whether the reactionary revolutionaries, some of whom call themselves "Libertarians," understand that.

Libertarianism is just another old-fashioned ideology. As such, discussions with them are like debating religions. Indeed, our monetary system is our state religion, which was enforced at the point of a gun. THE PROBLEM we have now, and more and more so in the future, is that the old-fashioned systems of lies, backed by violence, are being amplified by science and technology to become bigger, so that, today we are talking about total electronic frauds going into the quadrillions of units!

That is so, far, far, far way from common sense as to be almost impossible to imagine. Therefore, the meaning of money has been abstracted beyond comprehension. Therefore, basic questions such as what "interest" on money means becomes extremely difficult to make sense of.

The old fashioned idea was that one could imagine "money" to be like herds of domesticated animals. Lots of people regarded their animals as their wealth, much more so than their gold, and indeed, "bride price" was more often measured in a number of such animals, rather than in measures of precious metals. Anyway, if one regards one's herd of animals as one's money, then, since that herd can reproduce and grow in size, therefore, "interest" makes some sense when measuring things in terms of that kind of money.

However, there is still nothing comparable to what happens after we have a primarily privatized fiat money supply made out of nothing. THEN, "interest" is merely more fraud, stacked on top of previous frauds. Therefore, like you said, blindman, it is not possible to reconcile any sane or just meaning of "interest" inside of a fractional reserve system, where money is allowed to be created out of nothing in the first place.

HOWEVER, if one DOES attempt to understand money, going back to the very first technology, which was the domestication of animals, with some human beings domesticating other human beings as the most important manifestation of that, THEN, the crucial meaning is when one KILLS those animals, for food. Or, in the case of human beings, to terrorize others to do what they are told, rather than be killed, which was slavery, which was the basic economic system throughout most of history.

What we have today is more sophisticated slavery, which became relatively better because of the harnessing of inanimate energy sources, (rather than having nothing but animate energy sources) which resulted in there being the equivalent of large numbers of "slaves" working for us, through steam engines, and so on ... But nevertheless, the basis of all money goes back to murder, since the death controls were the central controls. Therefore, the debt controls depended on the death controls.

The history of money was an evolution of all those factors. One system of organized lies, operating organized robberies, rose, then fell, while producing some seeds for the possible next generation of systems. Therefore, the interesting question, indeed, is what MIGHT come next, after the current debt pyramid Ponzi scheme finally collapses through psychotic breakdowns, because its debt slavery system becomes debt insanity, with numbers that are too nuts to be able to continue.

For sure, the next set of systems will be organized lies, operating organized robbery. For sure, money will still be backed by murder. However, those new systems MIGHT become based on sciences and technologies which are many orders of magnitude greater than ever before in human history, and they may well include a whole new industrial ecology, of computer/machine entities, in symbiosis with the older organic entities.

As a personal indulgence, I tend to enjoy speculating about such political science fiction, for its own sake. However, the current reality will surely continue to be ridiculous human religions (such as Libertarianism, and Fractional Reserve Banking) continuing to fight it out with each other, through their own specialized irrational lies, backed by coercions.

blindman's picture

thank you for the comment, insights and opinion.
you wrote ..."However, there is still nothing comparable to what happens after we have a primarily privatized fiat money supply made out of nothing. THEN, "interest" is merely more fraud, stacked on top of previous frauds. Therefore, like you said, blindman, it is not possible to reconcile any sane or just meaning of "interest" inside of a fractional reserve system, where money is allowed to be created out of nothing in the first place."
that is it. the interest is only payable by committing perpetual fraud,
by design, and only a few are permitted this fraudulent power, therefore
the system is a fraud based slavery system to replace blatant and explicit
ownership of labor in the form of other human beings. thanks again for
articulating that precisely.
as for the future, it is usually an iteration and modification of
something with roots in the population or mind of the existing population,
however, that need not be the case and there are many roots and ingrained
strains that can be developed and can become foundation for future or
potential development. (not growth but development).

Radical Marijuana's picture

Yes, blindman, as you wrote "only a few are permitted this fraudulent power."

It is NOT the fiat aspect of fiat money that is the problem, it is that power was privatized, but still enforced by the government.

I agree with the following great quotes regarding the THEORY of governments creating fiat money, to serve the general interests of the whole population.

Such as from President Lincoln:

"The government should create, issue, and circulate all the currency and credit needed to satisfy the spending power of the Government and the buying power of consumers. The privilege of creating and issuing money is not only the supreme prerogative of the government but it is the government's greatest creative opportunity. By adoption of the these principles, the taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest. Money will cease to be master and become the servant of humanity."

Or from the longest serving Prime Minister of Canada, William Lyon Mackenzie King:

Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most conspicuous and sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of Parliament and of democracy is idle and futile.”

I also agree with the THEORY of the monetary reforms promoted by people like Ellen Brown and Bill Still. The issue is WHO CONTROLS THE MONEY SUPPLY. That is what has been PRIVATIZED, although that legalized counterfeiting by private banks continues to be enforced by the government against the rest of the population!

Creating the money supply, as a public utility, in ways which strives to benefit everyone, should be government's supreme prerogative, and greatest creative opportunity, and its most conspicuous and sacred responsibility.

Instead, giving away the power to make money out of nothing to private banks was the most insane domestic policy that a government could ever adopt! However, it is easy to explain the history of how that actually happened. It was simply the history of the application of the methods of organized crime to take control over governments, in a runaway spiral of the success of fraud enabling those who did that to constantly be able to get away with even more frauds. That started more slowly and secretly. However, it was on an exponential growth curve, so that it now is becoming blatantly obvious to even mainstream morons that the banksters have become the new royalty, who are above the law, because they effectively control the political processes.

THE PROBLEM is that after one faces the social facts that the banksters ARE the biggest gangsters, who were able to take control over governments through applying the methods of organized crime, all THEORIES about what monetary reforms should be are still born in that situation. THEORIES of what "money" should be are actually irrelevant when what money IS has already become runaway frauds, backed by force, while those who are able to do that have collectively become a group of trillionaire mass murderers.

The REAL SOLUTIONS depends on facing the facts regarding the REAL PROBLEMS, which are that money is backed by murder, and therefore, the best organized gangs of criminals have taken control over the money system, and one of the primary ways that they were able to do that was through assassination of the best politicians who refused to be bribed or intimidated, in order to become the puppets of the banksters.

The sovereign powers of "We the People" have already been 99% PRIVATIZED, and that is now a runaway situation, which is driving the government to become the worst enemy of the People, because the government is actually being controlled by the banksters. Any REAL SOLUTIONS, therefore, can not actually be through some sort of sane monetary reforms. Rather, what MIGHT happen is the eventual psychotic breakdown of the current runaway frauds, which MAY provoke some kind of monetary revolution. ??? ???

However, given that overwhelming vast majority of the People do not understand, and do not want to understand, any of the basic social facts about their monetary system, it is almost impossible to imagine how BAD that psychotic breakdown could eventually become, and therefore, just as difficult to speculate about what could be rebuilt after that.

blindman's picture

The Mark by Maurice Nicoll. Reading by Dennis Massa.
Two Hammer Blows and a Random Walk…
January 20, 2013
Waiting For the End of The World - Elvis Costello
we might see.

IamtheREALmario's picture

First, I am a big fan of civil law as opposed to maritime law. You hurt someone then you make amends and if you cannot make amends then there is punishment. There is no such thing as 5 years in jail for things that are currently crimes that hurt no one. I am also completely opposed to corporations being considered "people" under the law and the corporate veil that protects people committing the acts from being punished. Similarly, if a so called government creates unconstitutional laws that hurt people then the people creating the law must personally make amends or be punished (a nightmare to adminsiter, but we would have fewer laws). There is an amendment process for the constitution. We should be using it instead of creating unconstitutional laws/executive orders and then challenging an over burdened courts system to sort it out (it is overburdened because there are too many laws).

The unfortunate thing is that we don't really have a legal system in this country (world). What we have is one gang telling the rest of the people what we they and cannot do in what they consider "their" country (world). If you join or are allowed into the gang, you give up your free will, but the gang protects you and you benefit from membership. The gang rules by force and leadership in the gang is passed down within families. There is no way this gang is going to willingly give up their power. They are just not morally good people (because they force their will on others and live parasitically), regardless of how they claim to be servants of the people, how many awards they give themselves and how much propaganda they push out.

In my view, the system must collapse for the gang to lose power because they certainly are not going to wake up one morning and decide they are going to be "good" people, reversing all the damage they have done. The sooner we get there the better, IMO... so that we can start the recovery. 

MickV's picture

If GW were really a "tireless crusader for enforcing the rule of law" then he would trumpet the REAL BIG law being broken and on which all laws have been made moot. It is the FACT that Obama is a domestic enemy and is squatting in the Oval Office. He is not a natural born Citizen, as required by A2S1C4 since he was born, and likely still is, British of a British subject father. Dual allegiance from birth voids eligibility for President of the US--- it is a security measure designed to assure allegiance and attachment to country in the CIC of the US armed forces.

Untill this fact has mass realization, then none of GW's whining about the fracture of law means anything. There is no law and no Constitution when the POTUS, whom is the executor of the laws, is illegally holding the office. Obama is like LOKI in Boca Raton, squatting in the WH and playing with our drones. Maybe GW has been threatened to shut up? or maybe he's not that smart.


US LAW (now defunct):

"The Constitution does not in words say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners". Minor v. Happersett, 88 US 162, 167 (1874).

indio007's picture

The REAL BIG law that is being broken is the law of allegiance. Allegiance can only be to a man and between men, not a legal fiction "State".


Sovereignty is the legal justification (propaganda really) for just about every gov't oppression.

Somehow the gov't disavows a duty of protection but out of the otherside of it's incorporeal face claims sovereignty.

Protection is the foundation of sovereignty.


Everyone is being conned.

ex fide non ficta

MickV's picture

Correct. "subject to the jurisdiction" has always meant "subject to the jurisdiction of the US and no other foreign power" (See the Civil Rights Act 1866, and Revised Statutes 1873). TPTB have manipulated it to mean "subject to the laws" or "within the jurisdiction" in a territorial sense. That has created a situation where even the Naturalization Oath, which stipulates that the oath taker forgo all other foreign allegiance, is made moot by that lie, even though the state Department as a matter of policy discourages dual allegiance.

One lie leads to another, so now the lie is that simple birth in the US means natural born Citizen, eligible for POTUS, when the original reason for the requirement was to assure singular allegiance of the CIC, and to eschew foreign influence. Is the child of 2 Mexican national illegal immigrants a US Citizen?--- It has been accepted that they are by the laws of the US, despite the language of the 14th Amendment, that demands allegiance to the US and no other foreign power by the age of majority. That question has never been adjudicated by the SCOTUS.

"The Constitution" and "Laws of the US" are 2 separate things (see A3S2). That one is deemed to be a US Citizen (even at birth-- since it is well held that the Constitution can NATURALIZE US Citizens at birth, w/o the aid of legislation-- see Wong Kim Ark, 169 US 649, 703 (1898)) by the laws of the US does not mean that that child is a natural born Citizen, eligible to be POTUS as required by A2S1C4. By the law of statutory construction a natural born Citizen of A2S1C4 cannot mean the same as a "born Citizen" of the 14Amendment (all statutes must be given separate and distinct meaning), i.e all natural born Citizens are native born, but not all native born are natural born. Natural born Citizens are born fully w/in the allegiance of the US-- so a foreign parent voids natural born municiple status as eligible for POTUS.

Of course in the NWO there is no "allegiance", thus the attempt to change the meaning of "subject to the jurisdiction".