(Carson 2008) The subsidy of history


Carson, Kevin A. The subsidy of history. Freeman. 2008 Jun; 58(5):33–38. Available from: http://fee.org/the_freeman/detail/the-subsidy-of-history. Accessed 2012 Nov 17. Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6CEqffqmp. Entire journal issue available from: http://fee.org/the_freeman/issue/june-2008. Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6CEqitQeS.

Carson indicts historically existing capitalism as a betrayal, rather than a manifestation, of free-market libertarian principles. He points out that libertarians have typically focused on the role of state coercion in the present-day capitalist market, neglecting what he calls the “subsidy of history”—the role of past state coercion and robbery, including selective state tolerance of private coercion and robbery by the privileged classes, in establishing the present distribution of private property. The principal mechanism of this coercion was the enclosure and outright theft of land, but various restrictions on freedom of speech, movement, and association (selectively enforced against workers and the poor) also played a role, as did grants of exclusive rights, entry fees, and direct subsidies to the wealthy, especially for transport infrastructure. These measures often had the explicit and conscious purpose of making it difficult for the poor to secure a livelihood in any way except as exploited, low-paid wage workers.

 

 

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