Episode 61 – Is it true that the state must provide basic necessities?

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state must provide basic needs

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One of the main concerns among people is how basic needs would be met.  A lot of libertarians think the answer is obvious—otherwise we wouldn’t be libertarian!  If a societal framework couldn’t provide the means for the basic needs to be met, is it really a workable framework?  Most people outside of libertarian circles believe this to be one of the major oversights of libertarianism.  They are stuck in the paradigm that the state must provide basic necessities through—though not always admittedly—socialism.

It’s not as though a libertarian society or the Non-Aggression Principle per se would “provide” for basic needs, but that the lack of institutionalized aggressive violence provides the environment where people are free to pursue their self-interests.  It is through the profit motive that industries and suppliers identify areas of need.  It should be obvious, therefore, that the basic needs should be met fairly easily.  If things like food, shelter, clothing, infrastructure, etc. weren’t handled by the free market, then the rest of the society would necessarily come crumbling down.

Unlike the state, which uses violence and the threat of violence to achieve its ends, services and products would be provided through voluntary means in a libertarian society.  With the markets only requiring no central planning, why do people believe that the state must provide basic necessities?

Previous episodes
Episode 7 – Does libertarianism rely too much on naivete to work in practice?
Episode 26 – What is anarchy?
Episode 29 – What do to about the poor?

Links
George Ought to Help
You Can Always Leave
The Machinery of Freedom: Illustrated summary
How an Economy Grows and Why It Doesn’t

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