Back in 1969, Harold Demsetz introduced the idea of the Nirvana Fallacy in the evaluation of economic outcomes and policies. In neoclassical economics, the conditions that describe a so-called perfectly competitive general equilibrium -- an utterly unattainable situation that, even now, many economists continue to use as a standard for assessing real-world situations and policies -- misleads mainstream economists into urging that the government intervene even when no one has any realistic basis for assuming that it can actually improve on the existing state of affairs.
Discussions of anarchism serve as magnets for what amounts to the mirror image of this fallacy. Let us call it the Anarchistic Hell Fallacy. Presented with incontrovertible evidence of the state's monstrous actions -- in every age, in every part of the world, and among many different ethnic and national groups -- supporters of the state assert, with only conjecture to support their claim, that if the state were eliminated and anarchism prevailed, even greater horrors would occur, and civilized life would become impossible. How do they know? In fact, they don't know, and they can't know. Except in olden days, in small-group situations, and in wholly unrepresentative places (e.g., Somalia), the experiment has not been performed. The presumption of certain knowledge about modern life without the state is a form of invalid argument, the Anarchistic Hell Fallacy.
Quinta-feira, Julho 05, 2012
Socialist Nirvana Fallacy vs. Anarchist Hell Fallacy
Reflexão de Robert Higgs: