by Tyler Cowen
on September 29, 2012 at 2:00 pm
1. New BBC show on Hayek (Friedrich), and the new Camille Paglia book on art and images.
2. Michael Chabon on books.
3. 3-D printing and internet freedom.
4. Somali pirate unemployment and skills mismatch.
5. Do American and Japanese elephants have different personalities?
You’re linking to part two of the documentary.
Here’s part one:
The documentary is alright, but there is no substitute for just reading Hayek, especially his 1945 AER paper on “The use of knowledge in society” or his book “The Constitution of Liberty” (although I agree with Hamowy that Hayek’s definition of liberty is not that helpful and with Bowles, et al. (and with Coase, 1937) that Hayek’s critique of central planning applies in some respects to central planning within firms as well)
Prostitute Faduma Ali longs for the days when her pirate customers had money. As she smoked a hookah in a hot, airless room in Galkayo last week, she sneered as she answered a phone call from a former customer seeking some action on credit.
“Those days are over. Can you pay me $1,000?” she asked. That’s what she once got for a night’s work. “If not, goodbye and leave me alone.”
Evidence for nominal wage stickiness.
That’s a lot of money, most places in the developing world. True, Somali girls are pretty attractive, pun intended.
Why Pun intended, are you at all familiar with Somali girls?, hang out at any nightclub in Nairobi, Seattle or Minneapolis and you’ll discover what many other people have, that Somali’s produce beautiful women.
Clearly the optimal course of action for the horny pirates would be to flood the market with counterfeit currency.
This happened to the Somali Shilling a long time ago. Nowadays it is worth the same as the costs of its paper and ink.
See, that’s the problem with not having a Somali central government. A strong government would have taken over the piracy industry to nurse it back to health. It’s easy to just say, “Let the pirates go bankrupt,” but what about all the peripheral industries like prostitution that relied on the piracy industry for survival? Also, no one is extending credit to the pirates. Clearly, they need some form of QE. Does anyone know how far NGDP is below its previous trend?
QE or Trickle Down economics. Thanks, GWB and Reagan.
On the other hand, the price of tea dropped from 50 cents to 5 cents, so maybe only the prostitutes are sticky.
They certainly are after I’m done with them.
Do American and Japanese elephants have different personalities?
The Japanese ones will know more about History and Geography.
3. FWIW, 3-D printing will be a part of organ replacement.
As a fan of Hayek, seeing simple-minded pundits like Peter Schiff speak from his corner is frustrating.
Factual mistakes in the BBC show on Hayek:
1) Hayek always and repeatedly identified economics as a science, a sound and powerful causal explanatory science.
The BBC falsely says the opposite.
2) As Bruce Caldwell points out, Hayek’s _Road to Serfdom_ was an argument about an avoidable causal process involving state ownership of the means of production and related state interventions into production and distributions, of the sort undertaking during war and which the British Labour Party was preparing to impose on the British economy after the war. It was not an argument about the welfare state, and Hayek explicitly and repeatedly says that any host of welfare state measures are completely compatible with a system of freedom. Hayek says this directly any number of times.
3) Hayek repeatedly rejects and criticizes 19th century Laissez-Faire and rejects the idea of “returning” to a 19th century Laissez-Faire system.
4) Hayek repeatedly endorses Milton Friedman empirical work showing that a massive and unjustified deflation in America was the principle cause of turning the 1929 downturn into a Great Depression. And Hayek consistently from the 1920s to the end of his life endorsed the causal economic significance of a post-bust secondary deflation / depression, and repeatedly endorsed both monetary and fiscal measures taken to counter a major post-bust secondary deflation, including endorsing in 1931 novel proposals made by Keynes himself to counter such a deflation.
5) Hayek liked Keynes and Keynes was extremely kind to Hayek, for example, going up and beyond all necessity in making Hayek feel welcome at Cambridge during the war. The two got along well, exchanged arguments briefly in the early 1930s, then only rarely interacted intellectual after that, with brief discussions only in their major 1936 and 1941 books. They got along well and never got into any personal fights whatever — instead they shared table at Cambridge and enjoyed discussing their common book collecting hobby and their common interest in the history of ideas.
I could go on ….
I should add that Keynes nominated Hayek for membership in the Royal Society, and Hayek and Keynes were allies during the war on war funding policy.
They were not “fighting” each other — they were fighting together against the Nazis and for Britain.
NoahnSmith should have given idiot fan boy Ransom an entire section to himself in his blog troll post
Ransom can often be annoying (like not always mentioning Hayek’s endorsement of deflation in the 30s, seeming to imply his later opinion was held at the time), but here he’s saying very true & relevant things which one would hope the BBC would get. The most annoying thing about Greg is how he goes on about Hayek all the time and how people don’t really understand Hayek, but when the BBC does a special on him, that’s just the situation when his critique is appropriate.
Ransom, all of what you have said needed to be said, over and over, and underlined.
My personal interest lies in the welfare state, and what you said is indubiously true: Hayek saw no limit to the welfare state, except that room should be left for non-govenments to experiment [Constitution of Liberty].
Dismalist must have read a different Constitution of Liberty than me. Hayek makes it clear that the welfare state will lead us to tyranny (chapter 17 and 18)
On Hayek’s argument that the welfare state would lead to totalitarianism see the extensive discussions of the topic (and his take down of Greg Ransom) on Daniel Kuehn’s blog.
I need to revisit the sections before I affirm your read of what I said.
What I remember arguing about with Greg was over whether Hayek supported Social Security and other social insurance programs as they existed in the United States. He was quite clear that he didn’t, contra Greg Ransom’s assertions. He did support certain types of social insurance, but not Social Security as it existed.
I don’t know if Greg genuinely failed to understand that distinction or was obscuring it because he realized it made his claim about Hayek and SS wrong. But it was a distinction that Hayek made.
If Hayek said the welfare state leads to totalitarianism in that section I don’t recall it one way or another. I find discussions around “what Hayek said” on this (by Hayek and the discussants) to be very slippery and relatively uninteresting. Often he’ll talk in vague terms and it’s not clear what he’s thinking – or the vagueness may be intentional.
Wrong, Melvin: Already in the Road to Serfdom, Hayek writes two or three positive sentences about the Welfare State. In the Constitution of Liberty, the argument is scattered in bits and pieces over the last third of the book.
Read, Melvin, read.
Poe’s law strikes? Two or three sentences and a disconnected, piecemeal “argument.” How compelling.
Right Dismalist. Hayek never says that cold socialism (aka the welfare state) will lead to totalitarianism in chapter 17 of this 1960 book and never says that the Labor Party old age pension plans will lead to concentration camps.
The surprising thing among all the posted links is not anything about Hayek, I don’t fancy him much, but that Michael Chabon is a James Bond fan. Who knew?
Maybe also see the big Howson biography of Lionel Robbins for what Hayek actually thought about the welfare state (pages 844 onwards). A fantastic book and full of information on Hayek and Robbins (very pricey alas).
The issue is not what Robbins’ biographer thought Robbins thought about what Hayek thought about the welfare state, nor what Robbins thought Hayek thought about the welfare state, nor what Robbins thought about the welfare state, but rather, what Hayek thought about the welfare state.
Nor is someone’s blog about someone dissing someone else’s comments on Hayek relevant.
Normally, I would say: Arguments are wanted, not citations. However, here citations are clearly needed, but only from Hayek himself. I do give those to paying audiences. Non-payers must do their own homework.
Does Michael Chabon not know what genre fiction is?
Well, this will be a two part test about how 3D printing might work in terms of Internet. First, the name of a web site where 3D files can be downloaded, available since the beginning of 2012 – the Pirate Bay, in a section called Physibles.
Well, the second part with the actual link did not appear, providing a certain amount of insight into the current state of Internet freedom in a world of automatic filtering. What would be amusing is to see what other web sites on placed on this blog’s list of unmentionables – and that would provide a fair contour of what sort of freedom even self-proclaimed libertarians are unwilling to risk sharing, at least within the institutional framework that pay the bills.
Though it did just occur to me – maybe the filtering is done for https: links? Which would still reveal something about Internet freedom in an age of filtering, though at a slightly more subtle level.
I hear Bern is Hitler’s nephew.
Wow. No wonder Greg Ransom is viewed as a pariah by most of the blogging world.
Sense of humor, much?
Is this someone impersonating Greg? Or are you really that much of an unfunny dick?
(golf clap). Excellent troll.
It’s fascinating how some people only find insults unacceptable when they intellectually disagree with the person making the insult…
Once again, East Asians go unquestioned. There is a “good student” bias Western people have with East Asians. The Japanese data was kept and studied in the elephant study while the American and Canadian data was tossed out.
Enrique, I am totally agree with your thoughts. Keep doing these type of work.
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