Monday, October 5, 2015

On Morality, Economics, and Why I’m Not an Anarchist

I recently saw a Facebook post about how in China people would rather kill pedestrians they strike with their cars than risk them being injured.  The primary reason behind this horrendous practice is the law requires you to pay for their health care if they are injured, but only a funeral if the unfortunate person dies.

I pointed out that this is why I am not an anarcho-capitalist, or any other kind of anarchist, because it demonstrates that economics isn’t good at creating a moral code.

Of course, people were confused by what I meant by this.

It’s actually real simple.  Economics is the study of the use of scarce resources that have alternative uses.  Ludwig von Mises stated that economics is really just a subset of praxeology, which is the study of human behavior.

Unfortunately, it is not the subset that deals with evil.

For a moral code to exist, you need to have a clearly defined set of evil actions.  Otherwise, it becomes subjective and wrong.  Yes, with any moral code you will have ethics and vagueness.

But at the same time, the point of any moral code is to point out the evil that men and women do.

In economics, what this means is that you are fitting your moral code into forced exchanges for when someone takes another person’s life, liberty, or property through force or fraud.  But some evil acts cannot be measured monetarily.

Human life is one such thing.  You cannot simply kill someone and pay off the loved ones.  What if the person had no living loved ones?  And there isn’t a clear value you can place on human life.

But anarchists claim that private companies can isolate serial murderers by banning them from the private roads and homes and other such nonsense.  It makes no sense.

Murder is not something that has an economic value we can apply it.  The best thing we can do is execute the person who has committed the murder and only if we are 100% sure said person committed the heinous act.

And this is really why I can’t subscribe to the ideals of anarchism.  They don’t value human life and instead regard it as just another economic actor in the grand scheme of things.