The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties
policy institute, today announces the title for its 2008 Chris R. Tame
Memorial Essay Prize competition.
This Prize is funded by a generous grant from The PROMIS Unit of Primary
Care and is in honour of Chris R. Tame (1949-2006) Founder and first
Director of the Libertarian Alliance. The Prize is worth £1000.
The essay title for 2008 is:
“Can a Libertarian Society be Described as ‘Tesco minus the State’?”
Essay Length: 3,000 words excluding notes and bibliography
Submission Date: 10th October 2008
The purpose of this year’s essay title is to draw wider attention to a
debate that has been taking place within the libertarian movement for
over a century, and that is now more relevant than ever: is big business
really part of the free market in which libertarians believe? Or is it
just the “third way” between free enterprise and socialism?
Many socialists and conservatives regard libertarians as cheerleaders for
big business. Our belief in free enterprise is understood as support for
the bigger, and therefore the more successful, corporations – General
Motors, Microsoft, HSBC, Tesco, and so forth – and for an international
financial system centred on the City of London.
Some libertarians are happy to be so regarded. They dislike the way in
which big government provides opportunities for big business to acquire
privileges that shelter it from competition. Even so, they believe that a
world without government, or a world with much less government, would be
broadly similar in its patterns of enterprise to the world that we now
have. It would be much improved, but not fundamentally dissimilar.
Other libertarians disagree. They regard big business as fundamentally a
creation of big government. Incorporation laws free entrepreneurs from
personal risk and personal responsibility, and allow the growth of large
business organisations that are bureaucratically managed. These
organisations then cartellise their markets and externalise many of their
costs. The result is systematic distortion of market behaviour from the
forms it would take without government intervention. These libertarians
often go further in their analysis by denying the legitimacy of
intellectual property rights and ownership rights in land beyond what any
individual can directly use.
Where do you stand in this debate? Are you broadly comfortable with a
global capitalism that is raising billions of people from starvation
towards affluence. Or are you a radical with a vision of a society that
has never yet been tried and is as alien and even frightening to most
people as anything promised by the Marxists.
The winner of the 2008 competition will be announced at the London
conference of the Libertarian Alliance, on Saturday the 25th October at
the National Liberal Club.
Full details of the Prize at
Full details of the Conference at
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Note(s) to Editors
Dr Sean Gabb is the Director of the Libertarian Alliance. His latest
book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England,
and How to Get It Back, may be downloaded for free from
http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3. It may also be bought. His other books are
available from Hampden Press at http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk.
He can be contacted for further comment on 07956 472 199 or by email at
Extended Contact Details:
The Libertarian Alliance is Britain’s most radical free market and civil
liberties policy institute. It has published over 800 articles, pamphlets
and books in support of freedom and against statism in all its forms.
These are freely available at http://www.libertarian.co.uk
Our postal address is
The Libertarian Alliance
2 Lansdowne Row
London W1J 6HL
Tel: 07956 472 199
The Libertarian International – http://www.libertarian.to – is a sister
organisation to the Libertarian Alliance. Its mission is to coordinate
various initiatives in the defence of individual liberty throughout the
Sean Gabb’s personal website – http://www.seangabb.co.uk – contains about
a million words of writings on themes interesting to libertarians and
Hampden Press – http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk.- the publishing house of
the Libertarian Alliance.
Liberalia – http://www.liberalia.com – maintained by by LA Executive
member Christian Michel, Liberalia publishes in-depth papers in French
and English on libertarianism and free enterprise. It is a prime source
of documentation on these issues for students and scholars.