I often disagree with Scott Adams’ “nonfiction” remarks (he’s neither sufficiently libertarian nor sufficiently left), but his comic strip continues to capture what the actual experience of being in the business world is like – as in today’s installment. As long as libertarians are perceived as offering denials of, rather than solutions to, this pervasive feature of most people’s everyday life, we won’t make many converts – nor will we deserve to.
The masses will follow us as soon they realize how much smarter than them we are. Until then we’ll have to lie our way towards freedom. This is the Libertarian Party secret strategy, right? I hope Barr doesn’t sick his handlers on me for revealing it where the unconverted can see.
You mentioned in a recent talk how some Klingons must study science in order for them to become a spacefaring race. Indeed, there was a Star Trek ENT 2 parter called “Affliction” in which a Klingon scientist mourns the increasing militarization of Klingon society. (I think the portrayal on the show is just to make the story more interesting and sell more merchandise.)
You might also find this funny:
I work at a software company (Dilbert’s company’s apparent industry), and at my company, there is very little of the attitude on display by the boss in the cartoon you linked to. However, my company is in a highly competitive (free market) environment. Scott Adams’s wiki page says he gets his material from his time working at a bank and at Pacific Bell — hardly free market institutions.
I think your point is exactly correct — we need to emphasize that we do NOT live in a free market society today.
Actually Larry if you look at the history of software companies many like Microsoft made money from the Intellectual Property monopoly and not from genuine free markets. The closest thing to free-market software companies are web companies or service/support companies like Red Hat or JBoss.
My company (LeftHand Networks) makes essentially a data storage appliance with embedded software, so we do not depend on what you rightly point out is invalid (from the libertarian viewpoint) IP law. Also we are in a highly competitive segment of the market. My only point was that the kind of management stupidity regularly appearing in Dilbert cartoons can’t happen (or not very much) in a highly competitive industry, or we would quickly be out of business. So we need to emphasize that there should be as few barriers to starting a business (including IP law) as possible.
Thanks Larry, although to be nitpicky I guess you’re not *entirely* in the software market in the first place because you have a physical product. 🙂
Buttersafe also captures the experience of doing corporate finance: http://buttersafe.com/2008/08/21/corporate-finance/