The 2008 Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize
£1,000 to be Won

In honour of Dr Chris R. Tame (1949-2006), The PROMIS Unit of Primary Care has established a yearly prize of £1,000 for an essay on a subject to be announced by Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance.

By the 10th October 2008, contestants are invited to submit essays to Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance.

Essay Title: "Can a Libertarian Society be Described as 'Tesco minus the State'?"
Essay Length: 3,000 words excluding notes and bibliography

Explanatory Note

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.

You tell us.

Rules

For all questions, please contact Sean Gabb