Do people deserve all they are able, and only what they are able, to get through free exchange?
If you say yes, you think that what people deserve is largely a matter of luck. Why? First, because only a tiny minority of the population is lucky enough to inherit wealth from their parents. (A fact lost on Mitt Romney, who famously advised America’s youth to “take a shot, go for it, take a risk … borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business.”) Since giving money to your kids is just another example of free exchange, there’s nothing wrong with the accumulation of wealth and privilege in the hands of the few. Second, people’s capacities to produce goods and services in demand on the market is largely a function of the lottery of their birth: their genetic predispositions, their parents’ education, the amount of race- and sex-based discrimination to which they’re subjected, their access to health care and good education.
It’s also a function of what the market happens to value at a particular time. Van Gogh, Schubert, William Blake, Edgar Allan Poe, Vermeer, Melville and Schubert all died broke. If you’re a good Nozickian, you think that’s what they deserved.
Marine Le Pen told me in June that her first order of business on setting foot in the Elysee Palace (if elected) would be to announce a referendum on membership of the European Union, with a "rendez-vous" one year later: "I will negotiate over the points on which there can be no compromise. If the result is inadequate, I will call for withdrawal. Europe is just a great bluff. On one side there is the immense power of sovereign peoples, and on the other side are a few technocrats."
Asked if she intended to pull France of the euro immediately, she hesitated for a second or two and then said: "Yes, because the euro blocks all economic decisions. France is not a country that can accept tutelage from Brussels."
Officials will be told to draw up plans for the restoration of the franc. Eurozone leaders will face a stark choice: either work with France for a "sortie concerted" or coordinated EMU break-up: or await their fate in a disorderly collapse.[...]
[T]he Front has been scoring highest in core Socialist cantons, clear evidence that it is breaking out of its Right-wing enclaves to become the mass movement of the white working class.
Hence the new term in the French press "Left-Le-Penism". She is outflanking the Socialists with attacks on banks and cross-border capitalism. The party recently recruited Anna Rosso-Roig, a candidate for the Communists in the 2012 elections.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer talks with Ioanna Kolher about teaching himself French by reading Proust. Not quite as charming as Justice Scalia's story about how he took up hunting, but impressive...
About the Author
Matthew Boudway is an associate editor of Commonweal.