When the state is controlled by “legal plunderers” and every decision for or against state intervention in a particular circumstance reflects their strategic assessment of the ideal mixture of intervention and non-intervention, it’s a mistake for a genuine anti-state movement to allow the priorities for “free market reform” to be set by the plunderers’ estimation of what forms of intervention no longer serve their purpose. If the corporate representatives in government are proposing a particular “free market reform,” you can bet your bottom dollar it’s because they believe it will increase the net political extraction of wealth.
The corporate ruling class’s approach to “free market reform” is a sort of mirror-image of “lemon socialism.” Under lemon socialism, the political capitalists (acting through the state) choose to nationalize those industries that corporate capital will most benefit from having taken off its hands, and to socialize those functions the cost of which capital would most prefer the state to bear. They shift functions from the private to the state sector when they are perceived as necessary for the functioning of the system, but not sufficiently profitable to justify the bother of running them under “private sector” auspices. Under “lemon market reform,” on the other hand, the political capitalists liquidate interventionist policies after they have squeezed all the benefit out of state action.
We must remember that the measure of statism inheres in the functioning of the overall system, not in the formal statism of its separate parts. A reduction in the formal statism of some separate parts, chosen in accordance with the strategic priorities of the statists, may actually result in a net increase in the overall level of statism. Our strategic agenda as libertarians, in dismantling the state, must reflect our understanding of the overall nature of the system.