Judge Stephen Williams has provided an excellent description of some of the Hayekian advantages of international competition. Here I discus how sound legal policy can protect and intensify such competition. First, I want to suggest a few more points about the virtues of international competition.
1. Military Competition. As war has demanded ever better financing and technology, the connection between the flourishing of a nation’s citizens and its success in war has increased. Great Britain beat the continental powers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in no small measure because her limited and democratic government gave lenders confidence that they would be repaid. As a result of the greater capacity to borrow Britain was able to muster greater military force in a crisis.
Today technological progress and military might are ever more connected: the robots conceived today will be the soldiers of tomorrow. The United States’ technological superiority is intimately connected to its open society and an educational system that favors creativity over rote learning. Authoritarian nations are at some disadvantage in replicating the decentralized structures that promote rapid technological progress.
This advantage for the West and the United States should make us wary of entering into agreements to limit the deployment of technologically advanced weapons like drones.
2. Competition from In-Migration of Firms and Individuals. The capacity of the United States to attract immigrants shows the relative power of its social norms. Indeed, its growth from a relatively small nation of a few million people at the founding to the third most populous nation of the world is the most persuasive evidence of its greatness.