The next question from @simonr916
“Will a Libertarian world not become more and more unequal
as each generation further entrenches the privilege of the few?
Those people who have been successful will naturally wish to give their own children advantages and protections in life. They will pay for education, help their children develop networks of useful contacts, give them resources to use as capital and so on.
Those who were not successful will not be able to do things. Their own children – through chance of birth and no fault of their own – will have much less chance of success, even if they are hard working and clever. They will, of course, have no state education or welfare support.
Many of the most successful people in society have ‘pulled themselves up by the bootstraps’. Poverty is a great motivator. These people do this through hard work and ability, but they also require opportunity– whether that be a state education (which may allow them to shine and
achieve a bursary for higher education), or a public library for
research, or a small amount of capital to start their own business, or welfare support so that every moment isn’t dedicated to base survival”
It is certainly true that each of us has different opportunities, resources and abilities. The children of attractive parents are more likely to be born attractive, the children of intelligent parents are more likely to be born intelligent and the children of rich parents are more likely to have capital to start their way in life.
However, the relationships are complex. Regression to the mean dictates that the children of highly intelligent parents will not be quite as intelligent as their parents, children of highly attractive parents will not be quite as attractive. Over the generations the children tend to revert to the mean.
Many who receive large amounts of unearned income lose it all in a remarkably short period of time. According to some sources 1/3 of lottery winners declare bankruptcy
I can see two possible arguments in your comments:
1. Inequality would increase simply because inherited wealth accumulates
2. Inequality would increase because opportunities for those without any inherited wealth would disappear.
If the first argument were true, it would also be true, albeit at a slower rate, in any society that did not have a 100% inheritance tax.
We have had countless generations without such a tax and yet 80% of millionaires are the first generation of their family to become wealthy!
The reality is that inherited wealth is more likely to be dissipated by inept children than grown further for the grand children. The saying cloggs to cloggs in three generations or the Saudi version: “My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet airplane. His son will ride a camel” reflect the fact that 9 out of 10 wealthy families lose their wealth by the third generation.
The second possible argument makes the unjustified assumption that without state support there would be no opportunities for those born without wealth.
To equate no state education with no education, no public libraries with no libraries and no inherited capital to start a business with no capital to start a business is simply an error.
Private schools already offer scholarships to bright pupils who cannot afford the fees.
Free education at university level is available online at places like Khan Academy , Coursera and Itunes U . There are thousands of digital books available free for kindle users. It is highly likely that low cost education would be available using shared computers, kindles and online resources such as these once the state monopoly on education was removed. Parents and local communities would also club together to provide access to these resources and charities promoting education and industry sponsored schools would also likely be supported for the very poorest.
As a society we value the importance of education, it is in the interests of parents, children, employers, etc so the idea that it would not exist without the state is simply wrong. The free market and charity can do anything the state can do, usually better and more cheaply.
The idea that without inherited capital you cannot start a business is also simply wrong. The traditional way to acquire capital is to save. Work as much as possible, spend as little as possible and save the difference.
If you have a good enough idea you can bring in outside investors for a share of the business, or you can borrow money and pay interest on the loan.
I had no inherited capital but formed a business through personal savings an external investor and some money borrowed on a credit card.
It is therefore not inevitable that inequality would increase with every generation in a libertarian society. As long as opportunity is not crushed at the bottom end of the wealth scale it would not matter if it did. Wealth is not a fixed pie to be divided up, but an infinitely expandable pie with plenty for all who contribute.
As a libertarian the fact that others have been much more successful than me is not a cause for concern but a challenge to do better myself having had my eyes opened to what is possible.