I have been trying to better define my political beliefs as of late and use them better to explain my policy preferences. I have mentioned before I am a left-leaning libertarian. I know people hear that and think it is an oxymoron, but it is not. I find personal freedom invaluable and recognize economic freedoms and protections are required to protect them. I find markets are the best way to allocate scarce resources Adam Smith, who is considered the Father of Economics and Father of Capitalism makes the case well with a few points.
His three laws of nature
1) Law of self-interest is defined as people working for their good.
2) Law of competition forces companies to keep improving to stave off competitors.
3) Law of supply and demand says in market economies goods and services will be produced at the lowest possible price to meet demand.
These, of course, assume a perfect market or at least one where competition exists (too much regulation, high entree costs, or market manipulation, collusion can limit competition). These also are how Smith explains the invisible hand (the belief markets act as if guided by an invisible hand). Markets allow households and firms to interact with each other through prices, allowing for the maximization of the public welfare. Firms sell goods in exchange with households who sell their labor, and the two use prices to make the exchange. But markets can not function without a society and that is where government comes in.
His roles for the government
1) National Defense.
2) Administration of an impartial system of justice.
3) Facilitate public works.
As a left-libertarian, I often debate right-libertarians about what those three entail. What are public works, how extensive is the justice system, and even what does national defense cover? I generally take expansive views on many of these issues. The national defense might include climate change or even energy production. Justice would include property rights, consumer protections, and worker rights. Oh, public works are almost a catch-all from education, roads, bridges, broadband internet, cleaning environmental externalities, and so on.
I want to come back to this article from time to time and use it as a backing to better support my views on everything from free trade to minimum wage to labor rights. My general focus is making sure markets are working for the people in the economy by providing cheap goods and decent jobs(which often requires looking at supply issues). I also hope other liberals use this as a framework to push back against conservatives and some liberals who use Ayn Rand to justify their neoliberal tendencies. We pay taxes to the government, and we should get something out of it. And that something should be correcting market failures and safekeeping of the public welfare of its citizenry.