NEWS RELEASE FROM THE LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE
In Association with the Libertarian International

Release Date: Saturday 30th August 2008
Release Time: Immediate

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Release url: http://www.libertarian.co.uk/news/nr071.htm

LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE ESSAY PRIZE (£1000): IS BIG BUSINESS PART OF THE FREE MARKET?

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

Explanatory Note

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 http://www.libertarian.co.uk/conferences/prize08.htm
Full details of the Conference at http://www.libertarian.co.uk/conferences/conf08brochure.htm

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