Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

Rothbard vs. Friedman

rated by 0 users
Answered (Verified) This post has 0 verified answers | 20 Replies | 7 Followers

Top 500 Contributor
Male
235 Posts
Points 5,230
shazam posted on Tue, Jul 7 2009 6:48 PM

Besides law, what were the differences in the theories between Murray N. Rothbard and David D. Friedman? I know that the latter came to his conclusions through utilitarian means, but were there any major differences in the conclusions themselves besides whether law would be agreed to or purchased on the market?

Anarcho-capitalism boogeyman

All Replies

Top 200 Contributor
Male
458 Posts
Points 6,985

Their conclusions were similar: no one knows exactly what a totally free market would look like.  Their educated guesses were just about the same.

The main difference between the two, as Rothbard pointed out, is that Friedman took a look at things and concluded that things would function more efficiently with no monopolist in law and law enforcement.  Rothbard looked at things and concluded that the state was evil and hated it.

I go with Rothbard.

Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under - Mencken

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 50 Contributor
2,417 Posts
Points 41,720
Moderator

gocrew:

Their conclusions were similar: no one knows exactly what a totally free market would look like.  Their educated guesses were just about the same.

The main difference between the two, as Rothbard pointed out, is that Friedman took a look at things and concluded that things would function more efficiently with no monopolist in law and law enforcement.  Rothbard looked at things and concluded that the state was evil and hated it.

I go with Rothbard.

Geeked

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Male
244 Posts
Points 5,455

Although I enjoy reading Rothbard, Friedman is my favorite economist.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Male
235 Posts
Points 5,230
shazam replied on Tue, Jul 7 2009 11:07 PM

gocrew:

Their conclusions were similar: no one knows exactly what a totally free market would look like.  Their educated guesses were just about the same.

The main difference between the two, as Rothbard pointed out, is that Friedman took a look at things and concluded that things would function more efficiently with no monopolist in law and law enforcement.  Rothbard looked at things and concluded that the state was evil and hated it.

I go with Rothbard.

Wouldn't most anarcho-capitalists agree that both are true?

Anarcho-capitalism boogeyman

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Male
238 Posts
Points 3,960
Cork replied on Tue, Jul 7 2009 11:36 PM

They approach things quite differently, but I'm a fan of both.  For a New Liberty and The Machinery of Freedom are different books written for different audiences.  Rothbard's book is better at firing people up at presenting a radical case against the state.  Friedman's book is less dogmatic and IMO does a better job at addressing tough issues that some libertarians ignore.

I prefer some parts of Friedman's approach to Rothbard's, but favor Rothbard's version of ancap over Friedman's.  The Friedman version of competing laws just seems kinda...messy. 

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Male
119 Posts
Points 2,150
Suggested by Praetyre

Felipe:

Although I enjoy reading Rothbard, Friedman is my favorite economist.

I consider Rothbard more of a political theorist than an economist.  He did make a few original contributions to economics like reformulating austrian monopoly theory and synthesizing the seemingly opposed austrian theories of production,  but his main contribution is creating a rock solid foundation for libertarianism using economics, history, and natural law.  In terms of economic thought, Mises is probably as good as it gets.

Where I come from, the women don't glow, but the men definitely plunder. 

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Male
5,118 Posts
Points 87,310
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

revolutionist:

Felipe:

Although I enjoy reading Rothbard, Friedman is my favorite economist.

I consider Rothbard more of a political theorist than an economist.  He did make a few original contributions to economics like reformulating austrian monopoly theory and synthesizing the seemingly opposed austrian theories of production,  but his main contribution is creating a rock solid foundation for libertarianism using economics, history, and natural law.  In terms of economic thought, Mises is probably as good as it gets.

Rothbard was like a best-of-everyone-else.

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 200 Contributor
Male
458 Posts
Points 6,985
gocrew replied on Wed, Jul 8 2009 12:20 AM

shazam,

sure, but I suppose I should have said that Friedman stopped at efficiency, while Rothbard went beyond it.  For Rothbard, it was a moral issue as well as a practical one.  For Friedman, it was just practical.

Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under - Mencken

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Male
119 Posts
Points 2,150

Daniel:

revolutionist:

Felipe:

Although I enjoy reading Rothbard, Friedman is my favorite economist.

I consider Rothbard more of a political theorist than an economist.  He did make a few original contributions to economics like reformulating austrian monopoly theory and synthesizing the seemingly opposed austrian theories of production,  but his main contribution is creating a rock solid foundation for libertarianism using economics, history, and natural law.  In terms of economic thought, Mises is probably as good as it gets.

Rothbard was like a best-of-everyone-else.

That's a good way to put it. The critical point being that a lot of his work is more synthesis than original creation. He did contribute some original thought to economics, but in that regard, Mises is far superior.  Rothbard was able to take Mises' economics, make some improvements, take the ideas of natural law, and apply these ideas to history to create a foundation for pretty much all deontological libertarianism (excluding Objectivism).

Where I come from, the women don't glow, but the men definitely plunder. 

 

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
2,940 Posts
Points 49,115

Daniel:
Rothbard was like a best-of-everyone-else.

He was a system builder. Just as Mises was. He pieced it all together and that takes a genius. Smile

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Male
554 Posts
Points 9,130

While not really a follower of either man, I believe this to be a somewhat unfair comparison. Mr Friedman was an economic theorist, while Mr Rothbard was an ethical and sociopolitical theorist. As aforementioned, Rothbard did refine a few areas of Austrian theory, but most of his writings are ethical arguments against governments (while Friedman was not in favor of abolishing all government), and he specifically rejected utilitarianism.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 100 Contributor
Male
853 Posts
Points 17,830

As far as I know, Rothbard's requirement of a "single legal code" is the only substantive difference between their systems.  Their arguing styles are obviously the main difference between them (natural rights vs utilitarianism). 

I have never been quite clear on what exactly the difference is between them on law - can anybody help clarfiy for me? 

Rothbard says that a libertarian legal code would need to be agreed upon "in advance".  In Rothbard, the courts compete over who is best at applying the legal code, and over the harshness of punishments.  In Friedman, they additionally compete over which law code they are using.  In this sense Friedman is more "pure" anarchy than Rothbard.  I wonder why Rothbard insisted on a single legal code...

My problem with Rothbard's system is... who is agreeing to the single legal code and how?  What if somebody disagrees?  What about disagreements over the "correct" libertarian answer to issues like abortion, IP, etc?  Is it possible to ban heroin in a community (a la Friedman), or would this be against the single legal code?

I've not been able to find much in the way of comparisons between the two systems online.  I sometimes feel I'm seeing differences between them that don't really exist.  If anybody knows of any critiques, or can provide a brief one, I'd appreciate it. 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Male
5,255 Posts
Points 80,815
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

I think Rothbard meant to say that for a society to be libertarian it would have to be bound by the NAP, not that non-libertarian societies that may emerge under anarchism should be thwarted.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Male
258 Posts
Points 4,595

First off, Friedman isn't a utilitarian; not all consequentialists are utilitarians.

As to whether or not they differ in their conclusions very much, for the most part Rothbard is much closer to having definite ideas about what anarchy will be like, whereas Friedman is more open to the idea of there being all sorts of new systems emerging. The idea that law will be uniform is just one example of this Rothbardian tendency.

  • | Post Points: 20
Page 1 of 2 (21 items) 1 2 Next > | RSS