A Further Thought on Voluntary Versus Involuntary Economic Theory
Lately I have alluded to the idea that the core of mainstream economic theory is the concept of involuntary exchange. In other words, without some form of coercion taken as a given, modern economic theory does not hold true.
Another area with this relationship between involuntary exchange and modern economics can be clearly seen is government deficits. I'm not talking about specific sizes of the deficit - whether a larger or smaller one is better - and I'm not talking about peculiar accounting identities that lead some economists to wrongly assume that private savings and public deficits are somehow linked. I'm speaking of the implications of the policy of having a government deficit in the first palce.
Consider the following premise:
Every individual has an inalienable will.
This a conclusion inferred by the fact that each person has unique characteristics and occupies a certain point in time at any moment, and no other.
"Since man’s personal will is inalienable, he cannot, in a voluntary society, be compelled to work for another against his present will, and therefore no contracts can be made for purchase of his future will." - Murray Rothbard. Man, Economy, and State. p. 201
In other words, you are free to make all the promises that you want, even to promise yourself into permanent bondage, but in a free society I cannot compel you to bondage at some point in the future based on that promise. You might change your mind, and since you have not collected any of my property (e.g. money) based on your promise, you make no invasion of my property by breaking your promise.
So if I can't hold you to future bondage based on a promise you made to me, it certainly also follows that a third party cannot hold you to future bondage either despite any promises you have made.
Nor can any third party obligate you to future unspecified work without your consent.
I'll conclude here, since I am pressed for time. A government debt contract -no matter how large or small - must be paid in the future through the unspecified labor of future citizens. Whether the citizen voted for the deficit hiker or not is irrelevant, since mere promises made in a voluntary society are only that - promises - and nothing more. Therefore, the only way that government deficits can be satisfied is by the involuntary labor performed by future generations of the country's citizens.
Perhaps this might help you understand why Greek citizens today are not very keen on the idea of fulfilling promises made by previous generations of Greek citizens. Present day Greeks rightfully consider these promises invalid (whether or not present day Greeks fully understand the folly and and engage in their own promise-making.)
Any theory that attempts to analyze the impact of public deficits - either using theoretical or empirical study - without considering the involuntary nature of the deficit and the implicit assumption of future bondage based on a mere promise, is a theory that accepts coercion as a given, a necessity, and perhaps even as a benefit.
I reject any economic theory based on an implicit assumption of coercion. And I reject any promises made on my behalf that compel either myself or others to perform unspecified labor at a future date.
David in Qatar