Some Reflections on the Anarcho-Capitalism of Futerman and Block

Futerman and Block perform an important service by putting a name—a priori statism—to the unreasoning attachment so many people feel for socialism, the only system of political economy that has been conclusively refuted in practice. They set out their own doctrine in brisk, manifesto-like fashion, which means that they inevitably assert more than they argue. Hence, if Futerman and Block wish to convince even someone who, like the author of this response, is among the freest of free marketeers, they will have to do much more than they do here. In particular, they will have engage seriously with the fact that the market and the government, as fundamentally different social institutions, face very different schedules of transactions costs. Thus, with respect to some value-producing transactions, it is very likely that the government’s costs are lower, which implies that, in a limited range of cases, governmental intervention in the market is efficient. If they wish to make their moral arguments persuasive, Futerman and Block need to clarify how they understand some key moral terms. It may be that, once they do so, whatever plausibility their more radical claims possess will evaporate.