Newmedia on Wed, 12 Sep 2012 18:24:02 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Vice, Freedom and Capitalist Market Expansion

This is a post I made on the "_Points: The  Blog of the Alcohol and Drugs 
History Society_ ( " blog --
Vice "regulation" is, of course, an *economic* topic which is at the heart  
of capitalism -- as it has been at least since early 18th century and the  
publishing (at first anonymously) of Bernard de Mandeville's "Fable of the 
Bees:  Private Vice and Publick Benefit."
The consumption of vice is, after all, the basis of the FREE MARKET.   
Here, you could refer to the defense of the British Opium Wars in front of  
Parliament by Riccardo as *required* by the free market -- using Adam Smith as  
his "authority."
The vigorous defense of the "Fable" by free-marketeer F. von Hayek and the  
publishing of the two-volume "ur-text" of the "Fable" by Liberty Books 
firmly  makes that connection -- as does, perhaps, the copious funding support 
for drug  legalization by free-marketeer George Soros.
Capitalism really makes no sense without vice and, indeed, those who have  
been responsible for expanding its range have consistently argued for more  
vice.  Vice makes the market work.
And, arguably, those attempts to curtail the expansion of vice, like the  
"prohibition" of alcohol occurred at just those moments when new technologies 
 were expanding the market further -- as radio/newspapers/movies were 
opening the  era of mass-media advertising in the early 20th century.
My question is a simple one.  If the world (or even parts of it) have  
become or, as many wish, will become *post-capitalist* and, therefore,  
*post-market* economies, does that mean that the expansion of VICE=MARKET will  move 
in the other direction?
Mark Stahlman
Brooklyn NY
This was in response to a post on "Regulating Vice," by Jim Leitzel, who  
teaches a course with that title at University of Chicago and recently gave  
a TEDxChicago talk on the topic.
More broadly, the whole topic of *freedom*, including freedom of speech,  
assembly and the whole range of freedoms associated with "democracy," need to 
be  discussed in relationship to capitalist market expansion.
And, does our understanding of "human rights" make any sense outside of the 
 need to expand these capitalist markets?
If one is "opposed" to capitalism and the market economy, then were do you  
stand on vice?
Mark Stahlman

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