In some earlier remarks I have already touched on the unhelpful implications of using the phrase "the market" as a general descriptive term referring to a liberal economy with private property rights and the rule of law. This misdescription falsely suggests an organic unity, for which there is no evidence, and distracts attention from the obvious fact that a liberal economy is a population of independent actants.

In another place I have observed that it is misleading to speak of "the state" without reference to the people employed in it, and observed that effective criticism of the illiberal economy must be personalised to make it clear that "the state" is composed of living, breathing individuals, real people consuming real taxes, flesh and blood taxeaters as Cobbett would have said.

Both errors arise from hypostatisation, and probably have a single root, the understandable tendency in efficient analysis to abstract or summarise over separate pieces of information or members of a population to produce a single entity with fixed (or at least less variable) characteristics. However, the losses in these two cases are too large, and the gains from abstraction too little to compensate. It is also true, that in civilised discourse we are reluctant to personalise an attack, but this reluctance must be overcome for the problem that we face is not impersonal; it is humanly political.

In isolation both the errors described above are dangerous, but in combination they are deadly to the aspirations of liberal thinkers to demonstrate the wisdom of their position. Indeed, the combined error hands the game to their opponents.

By describing the liberal economy as "the market", and suggesting that it is a single organism, the listener is led to perceive it as set up in distinct distinct opposition to themselves, or as an individual to whom they must pay money for goods and services. This matters since it is universally understood that profit alone motivates free market businesses, and, again understandably, there is always a degree of resentment in the transaction between purchaser and seller. The purchaser has had to offer the seller a margin over the costs, in effect a share of future growth in the economy, which is a slightly disadvantageous barter, and the fear that this persuasive margin is excessive haunts the mind. We don't like being ripped off, and the purchaser is inherently suspicious,and should be.

Thus, by hypostatising the market and personalising the abstraction, the individual can be led into the position of mistrusting the mass of operations which lies beneath that abstraction. But this is a self-inflicted wound, since in effect the individual is misled into distrusting their own freedom, both as purchaser and seller, for they possess both roles in a liberal economic situation.

In other words, the individual is encouraged, by the liberal side of the argument of all people, to distinguish themselves from the exclusive entity known as the market, which in fact is nothing more than an abstraction describing activities amongst which are their own willing sales and purchases.

When deceived into self-hatred in this way the individual is susceptible to the further ingenious ploy of describing the state as a single organism, a tactic that allows its myriad beneficiaries, the employees of state, to pose as a disinterested figure, an organic whole unmotivated by profit, that taxes the suspected Market (in other words the self-hating individual), and from this bounty returns free or fair goods and services to the listener.

The two errors are thus one error, that of depersonalisation. To resolve this problem it is necessary to repersonalise politics. The economy consists of millions of free individuals, each of these individuals making decisions about what and when to consume, and how to trade goods and services for individual benefit. The movements of the "market" are simply the aggregate of millions of individual choices, some of the weightier than others it is true, but none permanently so. If we say that "the market has decided something or other", we are making a statistical observation, merely, not indicating a state of mind; the economy doesn't have a mind, it has minds.

The "state", on the other hand, is the same, but different. It is composed of millions of individuals, each consuming taxes levied on the non-state economy, and for whom the individuals in the non-state economy labour and dissolve their assets to pay for goods and services that they are compelled to buy. Individuals within the state are in essence no different from any others in that they trade goods and services with the rest of the population, but they have the enormous advantage of being able to name their price without fear of being undercut, because there is no competition permitted, and being able to shelter from the dissatisfaction of their customers behind the power of the state. And of course the state is an all but invincible shield since it is permitted by law to arm its employees in the name of national defence, and, in its role as the executor of the rule of law, to deprive others of their liberty.

This tactic is all the more effective because the state has authority once vested in a personal monarch and now vested in the Crown as an abstraction. Traces of this history remain in the actual persons of the Queen in the UK, or the Emperor in Japan, and in the temporary incumbents of bureaucratic positions such as the US Presidency or the Prime Minister. The real individuals who live within and through the State can and do hide behind the monarchical abstractions and the less enduring temporary representatives, pretending to be their servants and thus the agents of a benevolent power. The truth is that they are as self-seeking as any, and more able to express themselves in action since their selfishness is unqualified by the need to drive an acceptable bargain with the purchaser. That their outward demeanour is mild and courteous is because it need not be otherwise, so secure and superior is their position. And the purchaser, who fears all vendors is least suspicious when they should be most on their guard.