Saturday, July 2, 2016

Block vs. Wenzel on Boudreaux and Consumer Sovereignty

The following exchange took place between Dr. Walter Block and me as a follow up to, Walter Block on Don Boudreaux: The Consumer vs. Individual Sovereignty:


I get what you are emphasizing, but couldn't a more generous interpretation
of Boudreaux be along the lines of Mises:
The capitalists, the enterprisers, and the farmers are instrumental in the
conduct of economic affairs. They are at the helm and steer the ship. But
they are not free to shape its course. They are not supreme, they are
steersmen only, bound to obey unconditionally the captain's orders. The
captain is the consumer. (Bureaucracy, "Profit Management," p. 226 )

 Dear Bob:

You are indeed correct. Don (who I'm copying on this) is indeed writing in the tradition of Mises. But, Mises was wrong on this matter. He focused on consumer sovereignty.  Rothbard is the corrective to Mises on this issue. He, focused, instead, on individual sovereignty, which includes BOTH consumers and producers. Why leave out producers, and tell only a part of the story, yes, an important part, but only a part.

Let me emphasize again that I'm a big fan of Don Boudreaux's. His pulverizing, eviscerating of the minimum wage law, among many other great things he's done, is really magnificent. But on this issue I (and Murray, I think) have to depart from him.

Best regards,



  1. What does "producer sovereignty" mean? That the producer can produce whatever he wants and the buyers are bound to him?

    I don't think that's how it is. I think the producer would lose his spot to someone who righted the wrongs.

    1. Drop the "and the buyers are bound to him" part. If that were true consumers wouldn't have sovereignty.

  2. A sovereign individual could hit Walter Block in the head with a copy of Human Action. What's he going to do about it if the individual is "sovereign?"