Showing posts with label Hayek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hayek. Show all posts

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hayek vs Hayek vs Von Mises

Hayek was in my view not nuts enough, or at least The Road to Serfdom isn't (his views might have gotten more "fundamentalist" later). E.g. quoting The Road to Serfdom:
“The preservation of competition [is not] incompatible with an extensive system of social services — so long as the organization of these services is not designed in such a way as to make competition ineffective over wide fields.  ... There is no reason why, in a society which has reached the general level of wealth ours has, the first kind of security should not be guaranteed to all without endangering general freedom; that is: some minimum of food, shelter and clothing, sufficient to preserve health. Nor is there any reason why the state should not help to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance in providing for those common hazards of life against which few can make adequate provision."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Unreported Soros Event Aims to Remake Entire Global Economy" says Media Research Center

The Media Research Center (MRC) article titled "Unreported Soros Event Aims to Remake Entire Global Economy" starts off with:

Two years ago, George Soros said he wanted to reorganize the entire global economic system. In two short weeks, he is going to start - and no one seems to have noticed.

On April 8, a group he's funded with $50 million is holding a major economic conference and Soros's goal for such an event is to "establish new international rules" and "reform the currency system." It's all according to a plan laid out in a Nov. 4, 2009, Soros op-ed calling for "a grand bargain that rearranges the entire financial order."

 The MRC provides a pointer to the event website:
 where INET (the Soros organization in charge of it) bills it as simply one in a series of international conferences.

The MRC describes its purpose as "to bring balance to the news media... and neutralize [the impact of "liberal bias"] on the American political scene.

Why then does the MRC deliberately present a yearly conference as the launching of the New World Order?

Soros gave his opinion, in strong terms granted, that the worst worldwide recession in several decades revealed a need for a reorganization of the global financial system.

But it goes way beyond spin to say, as MRC does that he "wanted to reorganize the entire global economic system." and "In two short weeks, he is going to start and no one seems to have noticed."

Why is this event "unreported"?  Because it is a conference of 200 mostly academic economists, with no apparent representation by actual world leaders, which is going to generate a lot of presentations world leaders, if they take the time, may or may not find persuasive.

George Soros has taken some bold actions, but to spread the fear that he can "reorganize the global financial system" goes way way beyond bias.  It is systematic misrepresentation.

In the 1980s, the supposedly "left wing" Soros set up organizations in the ex Warsaw pact countries to assist them in making the transition to personal freedom and free trade.  He named the central organization of all those he set up after Karl Popper's book title "The Open Society and its Enemies".  Soros is deeply indebted to Popper, who in the 1940s joined with Friedrich Hayek and other intellectuals in warning against totalitarian systems -- explicitly naming the Soviet Union in this class, as well as Nazi Germany.

Soros believes the financial system, like our highway system needs a system of rules to avoid spinning out of control.  After the great Ponzi scheme-like bubble that ended in the 2008 crash, why do so many people start yelling "Marxist" whenever they hear this?

If the financial system can be reformed in a useful way the reform would have to be international in scope.  Otherwise those who want to profit from financial bubbles can simply shop for the country with the loosest regulations.  We can go crazy when an international group talks about trying to harmonize the various currencies and have some rules to keep speculation from turning into con-artistry, but the financial system is international and there's no escaping that.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Real Truth about Hayek's Book: Road to Serfdom

Never mind the title - I am just poking  at the visceral way we are drawn to  dramatically phrased promises to reveal "The Real Truth", or something like that, especially with hints that this is just for you, the people who aren't easily duped.  I think we are hard-wired that way -- at any rate, I can feel my own blood rising a bit looking at some book title promising to reveal "What they don't want you to know", or "The secret history of X", and in our political debates, whether it's  Hayek's book, Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascists: the Secret History of the American Left..., An Inconvenient Truth, or The Real Anita Hill,  this handy way of getting our attention has been leaned on  heavily.  I'd hate to have to guess how many books has "secret history" in their title.

And so, F. A. Hayek, writing originally in 1944, and very alarmed, for excellent reasons, at the way the world was going, promised to reveal the counterintuitive (to some people) truth that the shining path to the future that supposedly ran through the abolition of private ownership was a "Road to Serfdom", and that all government "planning" puts us on a slippery slope leading to that "Road to Serfdom".  I agree up the the italicized part, but beyond that, have a lot of problems, and I'm afraid so did Hayek.  Does a national road system or education system involve this "planning", which, he indicates we must avoid at all costs?  Apparently not, since he admits (at least in 1944) that these may be necessary and legitimate.  He even says, in this book, at least, that public "safety net" measures - even specifically naming universal health insurance might have a place in a nation that is not on the "road to serfdom".

I would start by saying, in substantial agreement with Hayek:  In my opinion all hard core socialists and Communists failed to see that, whatever bad effects the unequal distribution of wealth may have, their alternative: "ownership by the people" was an imaginary construct more suited to mystical Hegelians, Fascists, and Nazis than to supposedly clear thinking hard headed materialist socialists.

But while "peoples ownership" of all property (or even just the "means of production") is a glib and impossible idea, we can and must talk about how the difficult business of making the "peoples' ownership" of our democratic government -- the Res Publica which is the origin of the word "republican" -- to make this "ownership" as real and substantial as possible.  Can I demonstrate that this "ownership" is really workable?  Not really, not now and maybe never, but I'm pretty positive there is no good alternative to wrestling with what it means to "own" a democracy.  And yes, there is no other way of looking at this than as something we have to face collectively.
To be continued, and continued, and continued...