F.A. Hayek, the Progressive’s Devil

F.A. Hayek, the Progressive’s Devil

There is the ideologically captured mind that squeezes all the complexities, diversities, uncertainties, and serendipities of life into one limited dimension of cause and explanation. One such mind is that of Wellesley College historian, Quinn Slobodian, who sees everywhere the manipulating agents of a nefarious “capitalism.” Even what seems as differing or even opposing ideas are placed through an analytical sieve that ends up making them “really” all just modified versions of the same purpose: making the world safe for capitalists everywhere to oppress and exploit the rest of the global...

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To Kill Markets Is the Worst Possible Plan

To Kill Markets Is the Worst Possible Plan

Momentous events usually leave strong memories on those who have lived through them, and those memories often become passed on to later generations in the form of historical interpretations of why and what had happened in the past. This has certainly been so in the cases of the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, the financial crisis of 2008-2009, and now, no doubt, in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020. One very important aspect to many of the interpretations of these past events is the...

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Joseph A. Schumpeter, Outsider Looking In

Joseph A. Schumpeter, Outsider Looking In

Seventy years ago, on January 8, 1950, one of the most famous economists of the 20th century passed away at the age of 66, Joseph A. Schumpeter. During and after his lifetime, he has been identified with two related ideas, the notion of the innovative entrepreneur and the imagery of the competitive market as a process of creative destruction. He was also a master of the history of economic ideas. Properly understood, these two ideas of entrepreneurial innovation and the transformative creativity of market competition explain much about the amazing changes in modern economic times that have...

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Examples of Dedication to Freedom

Examples of Dedication to Freedom

When Austrian economist Friedrich A. Hayek (1899–1992) wrote his famous book The Road to Serfdom (1944) in the midst of the Second World War, he mentioned in the preface that he had often been told by his socialist colleagues that he would, no doubt, hold an important position in a future planned society, if only he would come around to agree with them and espouse their collectivist values. But he could not. He firmly believed that too many people in society were attracted to the socialist vision of a future society without being properly informed and aware of all that such a command economy...

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History is Clear, Central Banks Fail to Assure Economic Stability

The world has been plagued with periodic bouts of the economic rollercoaster of booms and busts, inflations and recessions, especially during the last one hundred years. The main culprits responsible for these destabilizing and disruptive episodes have been governments and their central banks. They have monopolized the control of their respective nation’s monetary and banking systems, and mismanaged them. There is really nowhere else to point other than in their direction. Yet, to listen to some prominent and respected writers on these matters, government has been the stabilizer and free...

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Bernard Mandeville and the Social Betterment Arising from Private Vices

One of the major turning points in social and economic understanding emerged in the 1700s with the theory of social order without human design. Before the eighteenth century, most social theory presumed or took as a working assumption that human society had its origin and sustainability in the creation of social institutions through either “divine” intervention, or by human will and plan. But in the 1700s, the idea of society as a spontaneous order that emerged out of the actions and interactions of multitudes of individuals, each pursuing their own self-interest, began to develop into a...

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