13 July 2007

On capitalism and commerce-free zones

Julian Sanchez today:

It is perfectly coherent to be a thoroughgoing free-marketeer, to appreciate how deftly the price system harnessed the self-love of thousands of individuals, from lumberjacks and miners to carpenters and plumbers, in order to produce your local church—and yet still prefer that Starbucks refrain from opening up shop in the narthex. Having bought prophylactics at the corner deli in the evening does not forbid you from taking umbrage if your lover leaves a fifty on the nightstand the following morning. The most ardent capitalist will want a few spaces where she can feel confident that her neighbor's friendliness is not the opening gambit in a pitch to sell her a T-shirt, even if she was happy to buy the one she's wearing.
This is exactly right, except that an awful lot of people who describe themselves as anti-capitalist or anti-corporate miss this point completely. It seems to be hard for these types to get that, by the miracle of private or quasi private (co-op) property, you can take what benefits you choose from commerce even while excluding unwanted commercial interactions from certain spheres.

Full post here, on why Burning Man attendees who are frustrated that some companies will get to exhibit new green technologies this year have a point.