Making the Case for Libertarianism by Looking at Switzerland

Switzerland is one of the most free and prosperous countries in he world. Their GDP per capita is $85k while the US is $53k. That is quite a big difference. Their economy is one of the most prosperous in the world. They have the highest rating of economic freedom in Europe, they are even above America. They have the lowest inflation rates for the 19th and 20th centuries for the world. The median income in 2016 was 101,992 CHF (approximately $109,419). Their average wealth per adult is $379,550 well above most countries. The highest recorded unemployment rate was in 2009 where it peaked at 4.4%. Their economy grows around 3% per year.

They get 56% of their energy from hydroelectricity, 39% from nuclear power and 5% from conventional methods. They plan to phase off nuclear and conventional methods soon.

They have not been attacked by a military force since 1850 and they do not engage in wars and conflicts around the world. They believe in non-interventionism and are perfectly safe. They have been neutral since the mid to late 1800’s. In 2003 they lowered their military personal from 400,000 to 200,000 and still were not attacked.

1 Like

I love the concept of libertarianism, but you’ve got to compare apples to apples. Any political system can operate in a small area. Switzerland has less land area than West Virginia and a smaller population than New York City. It’s a wild guess, but I’m betting WV is more libertarian than the nation at large.

You need to take the time to actually justify why libertarianism is best, not just assume it is. You’ll find once you actually look at the history of economies and critically examine some of the arguments behind libertarianism that it doesn’t hold up to criticism. It is one thing to have a set of ideals like ‘maximum freedom is best’ and another to develop a system which actually delivers those ideals.

Just one problem which libertarianism lacks the tools to solve is the tragedy of the commons. Another is the problem of externalities.

Libertarianism is statistically a thing that young men believe in then eventually move on from.

Ok, fair enough. Libertarianism is best because it promotes the most freedom, security, and prosperity.

Libertarianism does not lack tools to solve the tragedy of the commons. If we run out of resource x we will move to resource y. If the new resource is cheaper now we will move to it. New technology is invented every day allowing the resources to be used more efficiently. Also, with new technology, we are finding new ways to retrieve resources. We now have the technology to help create clean coal, which is better than regular coal for the environment. Look at Chevron, they are experimenting with algae, which could be a cleaner fuel source and they are probably doing it because they want to make money if it is successful.

As for externalities, if you are referring to pollution, which I assume you are I am not knowledgeable enough to explain.

Is there a difference between being a classical Liberal and a Libertarian? I ask because I have read some quotes by Milton Friedman which suggests that Friedman thought that the two schools of thought were the same. I see similarities, but am not sure that they are the same. Thoughts?

If Libertarianism was practiced society wouldn’t be arguing about gay rights, women rights, trans rights, children rights and so on…

Tragedy of the Commons tends to occur in areas were the common have no ownership interest of the said item. Tying the right of the common to property rights would solve most of the problems. By doing this it forces the person or persons to have “skin” in the commons without actually owning it.

The problem with modern libertarianism is that it stresses (though not, I think, intentionally) selfishness and a complete and total disregard for the community in favor of the individual. I think that is irresponsible and immoral. Modern libertarianism is almost anarchist in nature, and they center themselves pretty heavily on economics.

In short, their economics are unrealistic and their approach to civil issues is just a big flying “meh.”

I think you are confusing personal responsibility with selfishness. I have yet to discover in Libertarianism the “complete and total disregard for the community in favor of the individual” . Although Anarchy is a small sect of libertarian philosophy, it is hardly the mainstream. As for economics, well, Taxation is theft.

What evidence do you have to support our “unrealistic” approach to economics and your claim that our approach to civil issues is just “meh” is unfounded.

Libertarianism promotes the maximum freedom of the individual.