A Perfect Government discussion

Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 1: Rules and Order
Capitalism is Opaque?

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message 1: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Ward (jerry6030) | 27 comments Quotation is from page 165 of volume III (“The Political Order of a Free People,” 1979) of Hayek’s Law, Legislation, and Liberty :

"At present, however, an ever increasing part of the population of the Western World grow up as members of large organizations and thus as strangers to those rules of the market which have made the great open society possible. To them the market economy is largely incomprehensible; they have never practised the rules on which it rests, and its results seem to them irrational and immoral.

They often see in it merely an arbitrary structure maintained by some sinister power. In consequence, the long-submerged innate instincts have again surged to the top. Their demand for a just distribution in which organized power is to be used to allocate to each what he deserves, is thus strictly an atavism, based on primordial emotions. And it is these widely prevalent feelings to which prophets, moral philosophers and constructivists appeal by their plan for the deliberate creation of a new type of society."

Do you think this is true?


message 2: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Ward (jerry6030) | 27 comments I've never read that book either, but I have read a bit of Hayek. The reason he says the western world is because hewas talking about capitalism.

I interpret him as follows: most people get their paychecks for doing some job that someone else put in front of them, buy their food from the grocery store, etc, etc., and have no idea how the stuff on the shelves came to be there (or their job came to be there for them). They think it unfair that some people are filthy rich, and are slightly suspicious that the system is rigged against them.

The way I have expressed that is a bit harsh, but I believe that sentiment to be moderately widespread today—the media certainly pushes it. Very few people have a clear idea (or even an unclear idea) of what capitalism is or why it has worked so well or why it is fundamentally incompatible with equality of result. I believe that sentiment has been growing in this country because many politicians find it advantageous to encourage it.

I do think that most people would love to live in a world where "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." prevailed. They've tried often enough. But it doesn't work because it disconnects accomplishment from reward.

Hayek won the Nobel Prize for his book "The Road to Serfdom" that made your point, JIm, that socialism always ends up in despotism.

message 3: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Ward (jerry6030) | 27 comments Hayek again (I have read this book):

… is from page 71 of F.A. Hayek’s 1960 volume, The Constitution of Liberty:

"Liberty not only means that the individual has both the opportunity and the burden of choice; it also means that he must bear the consequences of his actions and will receive praise or blame for them. Liberty and responsibility are inseparable."

I think there are lots of people happy to give away a little liberty to a leader to be freed of a some responsibility.


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