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Santarchy on a Seastead: To Believe in the Spirit of Santa is to Believe in Free Trade

December 18, 2009


Little did you know, but Santa Claus runs the ur-seastead.  And if you believe in Santa kids, you ought to believe in free trade. Pass the egg nog, and listen to Santa Baby.

Flying no flag of convenience, the guy uses ice floes around the North Pole to support and cloak highly mobile capital and productive labor; with a flair for anarchy, he disregards all laws of intellectual property to create an abundance of goods that he then feels free to distribute according to a little understood moral code; his superior logistical system flagrantly disregards all national borders and crosses them with impunity; and no parent tells kids that there ought to be a tariff on Santa; indeed most welcome Santa’s gifts with joy. All the guy asks for in return is milk and cookies.

Yes Professor Caplan, intuitive, basic economics does exist. Let me revise your elementary lesson with holiday cheer. To distill the basics, you once wrote:

Counterintuitive claim: Free trade makes countries richer, even if the other countries have big advantages like cheaper labor or more advanced technology.

Intuitive version:  We’d be better off if other countries gave us stuff for free.  Isn’t “really cheap” the next-best thing?

Here’s my Santarcho-Capitalist revision:

We all wish there were a Santa and know we’d be better off if he gave us stuff for free. Isn’t “really cheap” the next-best thing?

All right, Santa’s surveillance system is a little sketchy, but we all agree the guy’s well-intentioned. And we still reserve our right to be naughty. Nobody can take that away from us!

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