Monday, May 18, 2009

The Market for Liberty - Book Review

The Market for Liberty, by Linda & Morris Tannehill, is an extremely thought provoking book that asks the outrageous question:

Is government itself an unnecessary evil?

The Tannehills do not just make the case for smaller government...for less government in our lives. They make the case for NO government!

This was a challenging concept for me to grasp. Regular readers know that I'm of the mindset that less government is usually better...but no government? Isn't that...anarchy?

It's tough to imagine no central authority whatsoever. Who will settle disputes? Who will protect us from foreign aggression? Who will protect justice and keep the peace?

All of these questions are answered in a very well thought out manner in The Market For Liberty. The Tannehills describe a Laissez-Faire society that, to be honest, sounds pretty damn good. No bureaucratic regulation. No politics. Everyone is accountable to the free market, not to a central authority which can be lobbied and swayed.

If you have any libertarian leanings, I'd urge you to read this book. (And if you don't - don't bother, you won't be able to follow). For me, this book was a real tipping point in my thinking about government and the free market. To be honest, I had put off reading it for a little while, because I didn't think I was ready for it.

The entire case for the free market is very intellectually engaging and energizing. The Tannehills wrap up by asking: How can we go from government to laissez-faire? The answer may surprise you, as they do not advocate government overthrow, or even peaceful disobedience.

I'll let you read it for yourself, and then we can circle back at this space and compare notes. The book is out of print, but there are some copies available on Amazon - I've got a link below. And even better - if you don't mind reading this on your computer - here's a free PDF version (thanks to Doug Casey for finding this link).

I believe this book is more important now than ever before - and critical to our investing success.  With the amount of government intervention in the markets at levels never seen before in the US, I'm trying to figure out when we'll reach the "tipping point"...when the public sectors basically chokes or crowds out the private sector, and the economy is permanently disabled.

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