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For a lot of people, the line between red and blue is a bit fuzzier in real life than it is on Twitter. For me, this is true even though I’m firmly on the side of le resistance. I think it’s because there are some threads woven into my own biography that keep tying the two sides together, in spite of all the enmity. Maybe, I just have an odd intellectual history, but I wonder if others share something like the story I’m about to tell. I hope it’s not a story that ends up in one of those both-sides, can’t-we-get-along, dead-end morality clause cul-de-sacs. I hope my thinking isn’t as lazy as that. But the threads the story traces are definitely the common ones, and I’m going to take the risk of equivocation in order to follow the story to a conclusion that’s a little more complicated (and a lot less satisfying) than “blue is right, red is wrong.” More… “Red Pill, Blue Pill”

Adam Smith is Assistant Professor of Political Philosophy and Director of the Honors Program at the University of Dubuque.

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Can capitalism be defended from the libertarian right?

The hostility of libertarians to the modern state is well known. Less well known are the objections that many libertarians have to modern capitalism.

The modern capitalist economy rests largely on two major government-created privileges bestowed on private firms and individuals: limited liability and intellectual property rights, like patents and copyrights. Limited liability, a legal privilege bestowed by the government, means that the owners of a government-chartered corporation are liable to creditors or plaintiffs in lawsuits only up to the amount that they have invested in the enterprise. In contrast, sole proprietors and partners in general partnerships traditionally have unlimited liability for all of the debts of the enterprise. By ensuring that investors in corporations do not risk personal ruin, governments in the 19th and 20th century enabled the rise of large, efficient industrial corporations that can access huge pools of private capital by means of flourishing stock markets.
More… “Taking Liberties”

Michael Lind is a contributing writer of The Smart Set, a fellow at New America in Washington, D.C., and author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States.

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