This is unbelievable. Don Boudreaux uses the suffering of North Koreans at the hands of an illiberal, tyrannical, undemocratic, communist, police state as an example of caution against proponents of liberal, free, democratic, capitalist government. It's really sad that classical liberalism has degenerated into "government is bad" for some people. There's apparently a spectrum: more government and less government. And apparently I and others are closer to North Korea than Don.
This is how these people think of you who agree with me on a lot of things. And moderate libertarians - this is how minarchists think of you. You're just inching over to North Korea. And minarchists - this is how anarcho-capitalists think of you. It's not fair to say that you're in Kim-Jong-Il's camp, but you're closer to it than the anarcho-capitalists.
I wish more people would have the guts to call B.S. on this sort of thing. Not just give reasons for why we want free governments to do certain things, but to call B.S. on the whole template - the whole way of thinking about the issue. If I thought libertarianism promote liberty best, I'd be a libertarian. If I thought Ron Paul would make the United States more free, I'd support Ron Paul. We disagree on very tough questions. We are not flirting with statism.
Don Boudreaux, I believe is a pretty garden variety libertarian. I'd like to see his reaction if an anarcho-capitalist were to throw these accusations at him. I know Boudreaux doesn't think very highly of Rothbard's mudslinging. What he does not seem to realize is that Boudreaux's logic and Rothbard's logic are very similar.
UPDATE: OK, people seem to really be thinking I'm saying more than I'm actually saying in this post. Of course I agree with Don that unalloyed capitalism would never come close the depravations of unalloyed government control... that's why I'm a market economist and in support of limited government - duh!!! What I'm saying is that Don treats government as a single spectrum where you can have more of it or less of it, and on that spectrum Krugman is between Don and Kim Jong Il. Now, Don did say that the consequences of (please note he referred to the consequences of government before you tell me he wasn't talking about a spectrum) government are non-linear. But he still thinks about government that way, which is wrong. My point is people are more free under a free government and a free market than they are under no government and a free market. Indeed - a free government seems to me to be required to maintain a free market. This sort of thinking is the sort of thinking that leads Mises to grouchily dismiss the attendees of the Mont Pelerin Society as socialists. This sort of thinking is what leads anarachists to call minarchists "statists".