That’s what Bryan Caplan asks Jeff Hummel, after the latter trashed the “crazy Rothbardian” take on the 100% reserve gold standard. I don’t know if said debunking is online, but I do think central banks throughout the first world have outperformed Milton Friedman‘s expectations perhaps because of Friedman himself. I do think it’s a good question to ask libertarians, and brings to mind James Q. Wilson’s book (which I reviewed here). Wilson has a high opinion of the Army Corps of Engineers (as well as the Forestry Service and for a long time the Social Security agnecy). Libertarian Steve Horwitz says the Coast Guard performed relatively well in the aftermath of Katrina here. I agree with some of Caplan’s commenters that the military is one of the few bureaucracies that actually faces competition that could eliminate it, but the U.S is such an overwhelming superpower and its military used for such pointless excursions I don’t know if I would select it. The Post Office now breaks even and competes to some limited extent with UPS, so it’s a candidate. Finally, if the comparison was not to a hypothetical privatized version but other existing states, I would say that our country does a quite good job of providing “rule of law“.

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