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Another error is that he treat's Sen's discussion of freedom and Hayek's as if they are talking about the same thing.

In _Development as Freedom_ (one of my favorite books in economics), Sen makes his capability-approach argument for freedom, he is treating it as a positive vessel that is filled by social progress and that freedom is the fulfillment of a person's personhood. However, when Hayek talks about freedom, he is talking about it as the individual's ability to act on his own will. In this sense, freedom has nothing to do with Sen's conception of human capabilities, but instead concerned with human ignorance and social evolution.

Ergo, when Fukuyama writes: "Amartya Sen has argued, the ability to actually take advantage of freedom depends on other things like resources, health and education that many people in a typical society do not possess" against Hayek's conception of freedom, its like saying Sen's notion freedom is more appley than Hayek's even though the latter is more of an orange than an apple. The accusation simply does not make sense in the context he puts it in and it will only make sense once what the two intellectuals are talking about has been fully explicated, which they clearly aren't.

I say this as someone who actually does think that Sen's capability approach can be used as a critique of the purely negative approach to liberty found in the liberal tradition, but to do so would take an article itself, not simply a sentence taking it for granted that they both were speaking about the same thing.

Fukuyama's piece is far worse than you suggest.

Hayek directly asserts the opposite of what Fukuyama claims Hayek says, in multiple cases of Fukuyama misrepresentations.

Fukuyama, embarrassingly, even gets the title of Hayek's most famous essay wrong.

These repeated false characterizations of Hayek in major popular publications do serious damage to Hayek's reputation. The strategy is to saddle Hayek with implausible and maginal positions, and then assert superiority over his system of ideas. It's a good way to get published in the NYTimes Book Review -- which hasn't reviewed a Hayek book in 50 years .. since leftist Sidney Hook's negative review of The Constitution of Liberty.


It's a shabby game, and Fukuyama is playing it in the most pathetic way.


This phenomenon of caricaturing is interesting. A lot of people seem to find a lot of other people guilty of it.

Is it just the nature of specialized knowledge? Is it just a criticism that people need to be open to and therefore willing to work through (and then if they still disagree at the end, that's OK)? Or is it symptomatic of a deeper issue?

I genuinely don't know, I just know I see a ton of caricaturing around from my perspective and I hear a ton of people making similar claims from their perspective, and even when I genuinely work at understanding someone's perspective I can still get told that I'm caricaturing. My guess is it's inevitable. My hope is it's not rooted in a lack of concern or care.

The "problem" with Fukuyama's review is that he is partly correct about Hayek.

A way of explaining this is to say that the theoretical Hayek was often better than the applied policy Hayek.

Hayek's analysis of the "limits" on man's reason was (and is) a devastating blow against all forms of political social engineering. If every man's horizon of knowledge is inherently narrow (and the more complex the social order the more narrow it necessarily becomes relative to all the "knowledge of the world"), then attempts at comprehensive central planning or intensive and extensive regulation and intervention in market affairs confines the creative adaptivity and coordinating capability of the social and market system to what the planners and regulators can understand, integrate and comprehend.

Hence, the strong argument can be made that in such a setting of limited and imperfect knowledge, it is a "pretense of knowledge" for such social engineers to presume to plan for the rest of us in the context of some hierarchy of values within which everyone would be made to conform.

Far better to have a political order of general, abstract, end-independent rules in the context of which each is free to use his own knowledge and abilities as he sees best. And for all the individual plans of all the members of the social system of division of labor be coordinated with the market price system through a competitive discovery process.

Hence, one easily reaches the argument of the minimalist state, the "nightwatchman" state that protects individuals to their life, liberty, and honestly acquired property. But leaves all other aspects of the human condition to individual choice and the free association of men for perceived mutual benefit.

In this setting, a great deal of "experimenting" will go on to discover the new, the better, the most efficient, the more productive.

But Hayek opened the door to critics such as Fukuyama that government had "responsibilities" beyond those "negative" ones. He did so in a variety of places including "The Road to Serfdom" and "The Constitution of Liberty."

Welfare redistribution, social security, regulation of various market activities. The door was opened to the case for degrees of government "experimenting" to fill the gaps supposedly left unfilled by the market (and supposedly fill-able" by government interventions).

Hayek, of course, was not alone in this. Many of the articulate market-oriented liberals of the interwar period and after -- Frank Knight, Frank Graham, Henry Simons, Walter Lippmann, Wilhelm Roepke, for example -- who wrote extensively against extreme forms of collectivism and planning, all insisted that a strict and more "rigid" system of laissez-faire was out of place and out-of-date.

But at what point do you, then, draw a line? The problem is that there is no clear "line" once you've basically conceded a role for the state beyond the protecting of those individual rights. Because where you draw that "line in the sand" may always be different than the line drawn by someone else. And who decides? The democratic process? Well, public choice theory has undermined that delusion.

When Fukuyama points out that some on the "right" have felt uncomfortable with Hayek's apparent ethical relativism, there is a truth, here, as well.

If you do not have some philosophical point from which you at least try to define and defend the right of the individual to his life, liberty and property against all plunders, murders, and oppressors -- including the organized force of government -- it becomes more difficult to draw a "line" that does not run the risk of more and more encroachments of the freedom of the individual.

To paraphrase Joan Robinson's famous remark about Keynes, Hayek did not always understand what his own "revolution" in ideas was all about.

Richard Ebeling

While the review was mediocre, I think Fukuyama's point that Hayek was not sufficiently Hayekian stands. Friedman and Schwartz made a similar point in their paper "Has government any role in money?"

"The element of paradox arises particularly with respect to the views of Hayek [see especially Hayek (1979, vol. 3)]. His latest works have been devoted to explaining how gradual cultural evolution - a widespread invisible hand process - produces institutions and social arrangements that are far superior to those that are deliberately constructed by explicit human design. Yet he recommends in his recent publications on competitive currencies replacing the results of such an invisible hand process by a deliberate construct - the introduction of currency competition. This paradox affects us all. On the one hand, we are observers of the forces shaping society; on the other, we are participants and want ourselves to shape society."

I think we would do well to consider the limits of spontaneous order theorizing.

I can see the tension in Hayek that Richard Ebeling mentions. It's as though Hayek sometimes recoils from the logical conclusions of his ideas. He really admired Weiser and I wonder if he never got over that?

Daniel, I think it's a symptom of something deeper. Caricatures of other people's ideas are dishonest. It reveals the fundamental dishonesty the plagues mankind.

The longer I live the more certain I am that few people care about truth.

If you think about it, there is a lot of tension between the idea that society should follow principles and the idea that society evolved through experimentation.

When we suggest that society should be guided by principles, we're essentially saying that we should stop experimenting with those principles. But why should we stop? Those principles may have succeeded in the past, but we can say that we will never discover better principles in the future.

Sure private property worked well in the past, but the experiment should continue and see if we can come up with something better some would argue.

Still, Hayek's equivocation doesn't justify Fukuyama's blatant dishonesty.

Much of this is a function of the fact that the VAST majority of book-review readers read the review as a substitute for reading the book. This makes getting the ideas of the book right more important. But it also makes it very unlikely that readers will catch any mistakes. Thus reviewers do not have a huge incentive to get it all right. They use book reviews to push whatever they want to say.

I am not a big fan of book reviews -- I do not trust them. Personally, I hate writing them. To do a really good job takes almost as much work as writing a free-standing article. Better to do the latter.

In any event, correcting other people's bad book reviews, when you have already read the book, can be fun.

"I can see the tension in Hayek that Richard Ebeling mentions. It's as though Hayek sometimes recoils from the logical conclusions of his ideas. He really admired Weiser and I wonder if he never got over that? "

That reminded me of Einstein's similar dilemma with his General Theory. He refused the logical conclusion of an expanding universe and stuck by the static theory even though his work pushed logic toward the expanding universe.

However, I don't think it's quite so pronounced with Hayek. Fuzzier subject matter.

"To paraphrase Joan Robinson's famous remark about Keynes, Hayek did not always understand what his own "revolution" in ideas was all about."

I should add to Richard Ebeling's remark above that many modern-day Hayekians have further developed the pretence of knowledge argument in contexts of "piecemeal" economic tinkering. Glen Whitman and I have done this in our work on new paternalism, for one example.

I think Richard's quip misses a symmetry in our ignorance. The limits of reason argument tells you to scale down your ambitions to plan and control. But it also tells you to be cautious about deregulation and "laissez faire." Hayek's famous remark in RTS against the "wooden insistence on laissez faire" falls right out of his basic epistemic vision IMHO. And it reflects Hume's aversion to radical political change. Rothbard vilified Hayek for a reason.

To reply to Richard Ebeling,

I do not think that the dilemma between Hayek's own recommendations and those that his system seems to recommend is more of a weakness of individual pieces rather than in his general thought. For one thing, even Hayek realized that he was not entirely free from interventionist prejudices when he wrote "The Road to Serfdom": from the 1976 preface: "I had not wholly freed myself from all the current interventionist superstitions, and in consequence still made various concessions which I now think unwarranted." Second of all, many of his concessions, especially in "The Constitution of Liberty," are in order to make the work more accessible to the public and also in order to apply liberal principles to the contemporary world rather than to some abstract utopia.

Reading "The Constitution of Liberty" without keeping its audience and time-period in mind is what leads to thinking that many of the measures suggested there were actually essential to Hayek's thought rather than a liberal interpretation of how many contemporary programs. Though I cannot track down the exact quotation, he did say in "The Constitution of Liberty" that even he would not vote for many of the programs that he elucidated in the book.

I think that this willingness to go into the messy factual questions of politics and show how things can be done in a way that is most liberal is actually something that should be praised and emulated, not condemned. Too many liberal and libertarian authors have spilled ink about how their picturesque social world would look rather than how the actual world can be nudged in that direction. By providing possible reforms to the current world, an author also provides a vehicle by which liberal/libertarian thought can be promulgated. Without a doubt, Hayek was successful in this respect and this success cannot be considered independent of the manner by which he wrote his political philosophy.

On Richard's point, Hayek was surprisingly willing to tinker especially in later years. Go back to his early work on money,however, and you already see the proclivity at work. He got himself tangled up on optimal monetary policy and whether to offset deflation.

Under a classical gold standard, the question becomes irrelevant. Gold flows will automatically offset movements in price levels in one country (up or down).

Of course, the post-WWI international monetary system was not a classical gold standard. It was akin to Ricardo's bullion standard. Central banks were sterilizing gold flows. But Hayek knew that. He bought into the constructivism among monetary economists for a "better system".

At the Cato event, Bruce Caldwell was a bit more generous to Hayek than Richard. Caldwell said Hayek was not specific on how society should deal with such things as welfare: through voluntary means or governement; and if through government, at what level.

I do think we may demand too much from free- market economists. Very few individuals like going against the consensus outside of their own area of expertise.

Don't forget: Mises thought the state should subisdize the opera.

I rarely find myself in either theoretical or factual disagreement with Jerry O'Driscoll. But here is one instance -- a factual matter!

Jerry's statement that Mises believed that the state should subsidize the Vienna opera is, I think, not accurate. This, apparently, is based on an article once written by Leonard Read, "Can Opera be Grand If Socialized?" in "The Freeman" (September 1962). He says that:

"A friend of mine who resides in a European capital remarked, 'We can no longer finance our opera privately, so we have turned it over to the government.' I told him that if their opera could not be privately financed that his city should have no opera. 'But what about our culture?' he asked. Let us grant that culture is advanced by opera. But I insist that culture is degraded where state compulsion is used to take the fruits of the labor of any individual to gratify the desires of opera devotees . . . There can be no culture -- no art -- without justice or without freedom. Opera will remain grand, but only be degraded, if socialized."

So some people seem to have misinterpreted that in saying this, Leonard Read meant Mises, but in fact there is no indication of this. Now, Mises was devoted to regularly attending the Vienna Opera when he lived in Austria -- he especially like Verdi's operas.

And maybe he did endorse state funding. But I've never found evidence of him saying so. In "Liberalism," Mises makes it clear that he strongly opposed government censorship of or subsidy for religion, literature, or art. So I find it hard to believe that he considered the Vienna Opera as an exception.

Admittedly, a small point, but the record should be set straight!

(And by the way, Jerry, your piece in the WSJ on Friday about the attempt to eliminate participation of regional Fed presidents in Federal Reserve policy making was very good!!)

Richard Ebeling

Daniel, this isn't "caricature", with Fukuyama what we are talking about is direct opposite of the fact getting it exactly wrong.

And there is a special history of doing this kind of thing to Hayek -- it's been an intentional attack strategy of marginalization against Hayek by his political among intellectuals. Keynes set the original example and Samuelson and Galbraith picked it up -- the strategy of smear and marginalization, rather than engage the substance.

You see it continue to happen to Hayek just about every day of the week -- the fraudulent accounts of _The Road to Serfdom_, tying Hayek's tale to bloody dictators, the belittling of Hayek's remarks at Cambridge to uncomprehending Cambridge economists in 1931, dismissing Hayek as a perfect markets economists, etc.

I've seen all of that multiple times just in the last week.

Roger,

I understand the symmetry of limited and imperfect knowledge that you are trying to clarify about our limited knowledge about various interventionist policies, as well.

But . . . there remains on essential difference about actions on the basis of our decentralized and limited knowledge in the market place vs. in the political arena: the latter involves the use or threat of the use of coercion.

Government interventions prohibit, restrict or command actions on the part of people which they would not have voluntarily chosen if left to their peaceful (and honest) own decision-making. The same applies to taxation for such government interventions, re-distributions, and "experiments."

This makes peaceful, voluntary actions by people in the market place vs. actions by the government in the political arena a difference of kind, and not simply of degree.

If I do not want to belong to, say, the Rotary Club any more and participate in their community "service" work, I can withdraw from the club. I do not have the same option with the state.

Tthe state, in principle, has the authority to use force to compel me to "pay" my taxes for their interventionist and re-distributive schemes, whether I want or support them, or not.

In principle, if I do not pay my taxes, the state may confiscate my wealth; if I resist this confiscation, the agents of the state have the authority to arrest me and imprison me; if I resist arrest or imprisonment, those agents have legal authority to use force, including and up to lethal force under specified conditions, to seize my wealth and property for these interventionist and re-distributive purposes.

Now, often when I have expressed it in this fashion, people will accuse me of stating the case in an "extreme" form, or just don't want to deal with this issue.

But why, then, do we comply with our tax payments or with the state's regulations, restrictions, prohibitions, or controls over our, otherwise, peaceful and honest conduct? Because he know that behind their "instructions" stands the power of force.

This is why, Roger, I referred at one point to the need to try to defend individual liberty on some basis. Certainly, you do not think that the state, in principle, should have the right to imprison you or me, or kill you or me to re-distribute your or my income or wealth to another person to fund their food stamps or visit to the doctor, do you?

And if you do, on what principle or basis? And why do their food stamps or doctor's visit take precedence of your or my life and choices?

I know that "God is dead" and that secular "natural rights" theory can be argued to have their own weaknesses. But why, then, does the "default" position become "group" rights, or "democratic" preference, or "community feeling?" All of which have tended to result in some being plundered for others.

Richard Ebeling

Richard, your reply sounds more like Rothbard than Hayek. Hayek's epistemic vision simply does not give you radical libertarianism. Thus, the quip that "Hayek did not always understand what his own "revolution" in ideas was all about" seems more witty than true. Like both Hayek and Hume, I prefer muddling through to sudden radical change. I give more details on how I parse these issues here:
http://thinkmarkets.wordpress.com/2010/03/03/liberty-by-design/

Fukuyama says the socialist calculation debates were between Hayek/Mises & Schumpeter in the 1930s & 1940s. Who need to be told how silly is that remark?

Fukuyama says we shouldn't dismiss Hayek's ideas because of his association with Glenn Beck -- while brings up Hayek's association with Glenn Beck repeatedly and in the first sentence.

Fukuyama says that Hayek published an essay called “The Uses of Knowledge in Society.”

In The Road to Serfdom Hayek explicitly says exactly the opposite of what Fukuyama writes here:

"Hayek made the slipperiest of slippery slope arguments: the smallest move toward the expansion of government would lead to a cascade of bad consequences that would result in full-blown authoritarian socialism."

And on and on.

What does it take in the age of tenure, seniority & celebrity for an academic to disgrace himself?

Roger,

With all due respect: You did not answer my question.

Are you willing to kill me to fund your neighbor's food stamps?

Richard Ebeling

Oh come on now, Richard, play fair. Shall I ask whether you are still beating your wife? I gave you a real and serious response. Yes, I am a liberal who fears the state. No, I am not a radical libertarian who opposes all state coercion. Yes, I favor "welfare" in forms such as health insurance vouchers and a negative income tax. Where Hayek leaks, I leak. We had radical political change away from the old Soviet system and lifespans fell. IMHO we need to be wise and serious about how to unwind the mass of state restrictions on human action. That means liberty by design. And if you go down that road, issues such as where precisely to draw the line evaporate.

I sense that you think that I'm being, well, too extreme, or expressing the "choice sets" in an unreasonable way, Roger.

But from your response, I must assume that to fund health insurance vouchers or negative income taxes you are willing to imprison or do other forms of physical harm to members of the society, if some of them attempt to refuse to subsidize these programs.

I just want to have it clear in my mind: You are willing to do me physical harm to fund someone's else's health care voucher. (And then threaten someone else to fund the medical treatment for the physical harm you've done to me!)

Richard Ebeling

Fukuyama’s appeal to his readers is based on an appeal to authority. He doesn’t bother to grapple with Hayek’s ideas. He merely wants to tarnish Hayek’s authority enough to prevent people from reading the book. To do that, he brings in other authorities who disagree with Hayek.

Next he uses the ad hominem attack by bringing up Glenn Beck. Hayek can't be worth reading if Beck recommends him.

The coup de grace is Chile and Pinochet. So Hayek endorsed a dictator. What does that have to do with his economics!

Maybe worst of all Fukuyama descends further into dishonesty by insinuating that Hayek knew about the regime’s mass murders at the time. He didn’t. No one did. Clearly Hayek endorsement of Pinochet was limited to his free market policies. To suggest that included an endorsement of Pinochet's mass murder is just dishonest.

I think even a minimal state collects taxes, Richard. But really, you are putting a complex question when you ask if I am willing to physically harm you to fund a voucher. That way of putting it suggests that I might specifically desire to personally clout you as part of a redistribution scheme. I might equally ask if you are willing to kill me to prevent you from taking a drink from your well or ring your doorbell uninvitedly. Ordinary notions of proportionality apply here. In particular, the state can seize your assets without physically harming or touching you. You just wake up one morning to find that your bank account is small than it had been! If you are running so low beneath the radar that such seizures are not possible, then perhaps I would indeed prefer the state to just let it go and concentrate its collection efforts elsewhere. The fact that the state has (by definition) a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence does not imply that every infraction is to met with by the meting out of some violence. It just ain't so. Sure, if they seize your assets, that's coercion. But it's not physical harm.

"The coup de grace is Chile and Pinochet. So Hayek endorsed a dictator. What does that have to do with his economics!

Maybe worst of all Fukuyama descends further into dishonesty by insinuating that Hayek knew about the regime’s mass murders at the time. He didn’t. No one did."

I could not find any of that in the Fukuyama article. Am I missing something? Incidentally, when did knowledge of the Pinochet regimes crimes become public knowledge?

Hayek didn't endorse Pinochet.

"Hayek didn't endorse Pinochet."

What did he say, if anything, then? All I can find online is assertions.

The leftist NY Times reporter who covers the "Tea Party" beat is the one who falsely wrote last year of Hayek's supposed "sunny view of the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet".

She's famous for falsely smearing the "Tea Party" as being full of racists, and for publishing many other falsehoods in her reporting on the tea party. She's also known for several laughable "backgrounders" on Hayek and Friedman -- saying that Hayek's ideas are unknown and "defunct", and then mischaracterizing what those ideas might be.

That article is link as part of Fukuyama's article.

What did he say, if anything, then? All I can find online is assertions.

Please help me to work out where he stood.

Chileans in the 60s, 70s & 80s studied econ at the U. of Chicago.

Some of these and other Chilean classical liberals joined the Mont Pelerin Society and set up a free market / classical liberal think tank.

A couple times they invited Hayek in his old age to visit, and they sponsored a regional meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society.

These Chicago trained economists were successful in helping get market reforms of major Chilean institutions enacted into law.

Many of these reforms have in fact proven very successful.

Hayek thought these reforms were good economics and good for Chilean civil society and republican democracy over the long term.

And he said so. He encouraged Thatcher to try things like something similar to the Chilean reform of old age "insurance".

He also made a point about comparative institutions -- he'd seen in his life that totalitarian / non-liberal "democratically" elected governments (e.g. Stalin's Russia, Hitler's Germany, the Red governments of post-WWI Central Europe) were often less free and had less of a chance of transitioning toward liberal democracy than countries with kings or other kinds of non-elected leaders who allowed all sorts of classical liberal freedoms more often over time transitioned to something like classical liberal parliamentary democracies, e.g. Britain or Austria under the Habsburgs, etc.

Hayek was optimistic that this was likely to be the case in Argentina.

Hayek's remarks this topic, unfortunately, come out of a "phone tag game" translation of a translation of a translation of an interview for a newspaper -- from German to Spanish to English.

We will never know what Hayek actually said -- the original conversation is lost, only a translation by a journalists remains, and what appears in English are translations produced by leftist academics out to smear Hayek of a prior translation of an interview.

Roger,

Yes, while I'm not looking the government might seize my assets without physically warming me.

The same applies if a burglar breaks into my house and takes my television while I'm not at home. It is called theft.

I would consider it theft if the government did it. I would not give the "sanction of the victim" by calling it "paying my fair share."

The words of the French classical liberal, Benjamin Constant, in his "Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments" (1810) is suggestive:

"Say to a man: you have the right not to be put to death or arbitrarily plundered. You will give him quite another feeling of security and protection than you will by telling him: it is not useful for you to be put to death or arbitrarily plundered. . .

"To say that such rights are inalienable or impresciptible is only to say that they should nto be alienated or taken away or abandoned."

As invaluably useful all consequentialist arguments are -- and which of us as economists or classical liberals do not take advantage of their intellectual force all the time? -- we will always be at a disadvantage if we are not able to find ways to ground our defense of individual liberty and rights in some manner not exclusively dependent on (however one tries to refine and qualify them) "purely" utilitarian grounds.

Unless we can articulate "other lines of defense," we are always threatened by those who explicitly or implicitly argue that, "So what if we don't use all the knowledge in the world; who cares if we don't achieve the maximum possible productive creativity; or what does it matter if some incentive motives are weakened at the margin? We will attain great material and social status equality by redistributing wealth and restricting the ability of those with more talent to get 'too far' ahead of those who are less gifted."

"You don't have an inherent right to the gains resulting from your inherited talents resulting from the accident of birth; you don't have a right to a greater wealth than the 'community' decisions are acceptable margins of difference that serve agreed-upon 'social ends'; the earth and its riches belong to 'all of us,' and its uses will be decided collectively."

Many of the "modern" versions of such arguments are ably challenged and critically undermined by Mark Pennington in his new book on "Robust Political Economy," from carefully and insightfully developed "Hayekian" and Public Choice perspectives.

But his "rebuttels" and defense of the market order fail to answer the person who says: "Who cares? Social equality is far more important, even in a world explained by Hayek and Buchanan. And besides, individuals don't have rights, and you can't 'prove' that they do. So we may socially engineer and redistribute in any way 'we' decide."

This is the intellectual reality in which we live. Now, maybe it is "impossible" to demonstrate -- by reason and "proof" -- to a large segment of the intellectual community that individuals do, in fact, have such inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property.

But if that is the case, then I have little confidence that an enduring defense and achievement of liberty will be possible by consequentialist arguments alone.

Men fight and die for the morality of the "right." Not to reduce the price of eggs by 10 cents a dozen by lowering a tariff.

I saw people stand up to Soviet soldiers and die in the process, to win freedom and end oppression for themselves and their loved ones. Not simply to have more time-saving checkout counters at Soviet retail stores.

Richard Ebeling

In my first sentence just above, it is supposed to read:

"Yes, while I'm not looking the government might seize my assets without physically harming me."

Not "warming me." Though what government does often gets me "hot under the collier."

Richard Ebeling

"We will never know what Hayek actually said -- the original conversation is lost, only a translation by a journalists remains, and what appears in English are translations produced by leftist academics out to smear Hayek of a prior translation of an interview."

Well, how accurate are their claims? Or is it just smears and BS.

What did he say? How accurate are the translations?

From that, Naomi Klein and a number of tenured professors have been falsely spreading the lie that Hayek was a Pinochet adviser, some have even written this so as to seem to be saying that Hayek was a part of the Pinochet regime.

Of course, it's a lie, Hayek played no such role, never met Pinochet, knew very little about the man, or even much about Chile or its contemporary history (Hayek by all accounts of those who knew hims was a cliche of an ivory tower intellectual, not very sophisticated about what was going on in the world, too busy with the world of ideas.)

Hayek (after leaving the Austrian government) throughout his life did not play any active role in advising governments. He just didn't do it.

He tried to play a role WWII with the British government, and they passed on his offer.


Sorry, make that:

"Hayek was optimistic that this was likely to be the case in Chile."

"From that, Naomi Klein and a number of tenured professors have been falsely spreading the lie that Hayek was a Pinochet adviser, some have even written this so as to seem to be saying that Hayek was a part of the Pinochet regime.

Of course, it's a lie, Hayek played no such role, never met Pinochet, knew very little about the man, or even much about Chile or its contemporary history"

Well, if DeLong and Quiggin are correct and you are right about his lack of knowledge on Chile then it is shocking that Hayek would not keep clear.

It is not true that he never met Pinochet. They met in 1977.

"Just plain confused Hayekian"

Why don't you Google this? Or read Hayek's Wikipedia entry for an introduction.

There is no way to know how accurate the translation is. The original interview does not exist. What we have is the Spanish translation by a journalist.

And we have translations into English by leftist academics with a Hayek-smearing agenda.

You must have the picture. Send it to me.

"It is not true that he never met Pinochet. They met in 1977."

What are the chances this is just another leftist lie?

Very high, I'd suggest. I've never heard this claim before.

Substantiate it.

""Just plain confused Hayekian"

Why don't you Google this? Or read Hayek's Wikipedia entry for an introduction.

There is no way to know how accurate the translation is. The original interview does not exist. What we have is the Spanish translation by a journalist.

And we have translations into English by leftist academics with a Hayek-smearing agenda."

How accurate is google or wikipedia. I was hoping for more scholarly sources. Is there evidence that the original interview does not exist? Are the interviewer and the translator different people?

As I said, I was hoping for something better than google and DeLong's blogs on the topic. Thanks anyhow.

"You must have the picture. Send it to me.

"It is not true that he never met Pinochet. They met in 1977."

What are the chances this is just another leftist lie?

Very high, I'd suggest. I've never heard this claim before."

It is in the Mirowski book on the Mont Pelerin Society.

Where is the evidence Hayek event went to Chile in 1977?

Certifiably dishonest leftists keep writing that Hayek "repeatedly" went to Chile "throughout the 1970s & 1980s".

I've never seen any evidence of this. It looks to me like he went there a time or two in the early 1980s. I've seen evidence for twice.

The idea that Hayek was "repeatedly" in Chile defies plausibility.

"Where is the evidence Hayek event went to Chile in 1977?"

See Mirowski book. Whether the claims are true or not is up for debate. He certainly thinks they hold water.

"just plain confused Hayekian"

I'm beginning to doubt your sincerity (it doesn't help to be hiding your true identify, not the mark of sincerity).

If you know how to use Google you can find the original translation into Spanish, and you can find one of the translations of this translation into English.

It ain't that hard, and you are a grown up.

Act like it.

"you can find one of the translations of this translation into English"

This I've found. It was not be a leftist group though but a free market think tank.

I keep my true identity quiet because I prefer my employers not know of my interest in Hayek. I guess Mirowski is too big a gun for you to argue against. Is his argument any good? That is all I want to know.

"As Friedrich von Hayek, author of the influential The Road to Serfdom, put it in an interview he gave in Chile in 1981, reproduced here, Pinochet’s death-squad dictatorship was necessary to establish a “stable democracy and liberty, clean of impurities. This is the only way I can justify it – and recommend it.”

Is Grandin accurate or not? The link below has links to a stack of Hayek material: http://greggrandin.com/?page_id=232

Karin Fischer, lecturer at the Project for International Development at the U. of Vienna says that Pinochet extended an invitation to Hayek to meet him in 1978.

She doesn't indicate if Hayek accepted that invitation.

And, yes, I do consider Mirowski's _The Road from Mont Pelerin_ be largely made up of leftist smear jobs (although I haven't read all of the book. Caldwell has indicated to some degree how much of Mirowski's own "account" in that volume is unreliable and borderline deranged -- Caldwell is overly charitable in his discussion.

Thanks. I'll discount the Mirowski book heavily.

I've read the English translation of the Spanish Chilean interview, and I don't atall recall the quote written by leftist hack Greg Grandin.

He certainly is an agenda driven far left guy.

The Karin Fischer piece if highly scholarly by comparison.

You have to ask yourself, why don't any of these lefties link to the actual interview?

There is actually a lot interesting information in the _The Road from Mont Pelerin_ book.

Unfortunately, the left utterly dominates the history departments and the history of ideas sub fields.

It would be wonderful if there were hundreds of classical liberals available to do this kind of research -- but they just don't exist.

Here's Caldwell's review of the book:

http://eh.net/book_reviews/road-mont-p%C3%A8lerin-making-neoliberal-thought-collective

And here is Caldwell on Miroski on Hayek & the Chicago School:

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1356899

Caldwell on the book:

"The great weakness of this collection is the attempt by some of the authors in various ways, some subtle, others not, to associate their subjects with authoritarian regimes and thinkers, with fascism, and with hucksterism .. Some of these claims are risible, others are in the process of being responded to (see, e.g., Caldwell on the claims made in Mirowski and Van Horn, and Shearmur on the alleged influence of Carl Schmitt on Hayek). Once such claims are out there, though, they very quickly get picked up by what Hayek would call second-hand dealers in ideas: witness the recent New York Times Book Review commentator who, in a breezy piece on the brief rise of Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom to top seller on Amazon.com in June, could not resist adding a slur about Hayek’s “sunny view of the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet” (Schuessler 2010, p. 27).

"You have to ask yourself, why don't any of these lefties link to the actual interview?"

I cannot find the original Spanish interview online (assuming that is the one you mean above). Please post a link if you have to hand. I have found several in English including the think tank one I mention earlier. Thanks.

The Spanish translation is out there somewhere. I've got a copy on one of my hard drives somewhere.

Here's the English translation of the Spanish translation that leftists love to yank pull quotes from out of context:


What opinion, in your view, should we have of dictatorships?

Well, I would say that, as long-term institutions, I am totally against dictatorships. But a dictatorship may be a necessary system for a transitional period. At times it is necessary for a country to have, for a time, some form or other of dictatorial power. As you will understand, it is possible for a dictator to govern in a liberal way. And it is also possible for a democracy to govern with a total lack of liberalism. Personally I prefer a liberal dictator to democratic government lacking liberalism. My personal impression — and this is valid for South America - is that in Chile, for example, we will witness a transition from a dictatorial government to a liberal government. And during this transition it may be necessary to maintain certain dictatorial powers, not as something permanent, but as a temporary arrangement.

Apart from Chile, can you mention other cases of transitional dictatorial governments?

Well, in England, Cromwell played a transitional role between absolute royal power and the limited powers of the constitutional monarchies. In Portugal, the dictator Oliveira Salazar also started on the right path here, but he failed. He tried, but did not succeed. Then after the war, Konrad Adenauer and Ludwig Erhardt held initially almost dictatorial powers, using them to establish a liberal government in the shortest possible space of time. The situation called for the presence of two very strong men to achieve this task. And the two of them very successfully accomplished this stage towards the establishment of a democratic government.

Yeah, but Richard, there is no sense in which all that stuff is somehow there in Hayek's epistemic argument, waiting to be set free. Recall that our exchange got rolling because I somewhat objected to your quip about H. not getting the point of his own revolution. I still don't see how the quip fits. I do see that H. was not a radical libertarian! As I recall, Walter Block has said H. was not a libertarian at all. Me neither, FWIW. So I guess I would hope we can all agree that Hayek is "liberal, but not libertarian." Is that okay?

"Search ResultsTeaching Empire's Workshop... dictatorship was necessary to establish a “stable democracy and liberty, clean of impurities. This is the only way I can justify it – and recommend it.” ...
greggrandin.com/?page_id=232 - Cached"

"I've read the English translation of the Spanish Chilean interview, and I don't atall recall the quote written by leftist hack Greg Grandin."

"L'Institut Hayek publie deux interviews inédites en anglais de ...As a means of establishing a stable democracy and liberty, clean of impurities. This is the only way I can justify it - and recommend it. ...
www.fahayek.org/index.php?option=com_content... - Cached - Similar"

Our "perplexed Hayekian", our "anonymous Hayekian" and our "confused Hayekian" seems to have known all of these sources and all of this material in advance ... so he's been BSing me all along ...

Wonderful.

I've got to say, I'm really sick of these disingenuous, very often dishonest anonymous posters.

Mr. Hayekian,

Can we ask you to please stick to ONE pseudonym? We have booted people off the blog for sock puppetry before, especially if it’s combined with otherwise unacceptable behavior. You are behaving yourself, and we understand your reasons for a pseudonym, but we would still appreciate you sticking to one pseudonym, especially since you are using a phony email address as well.

Thanks.

The Management

Not so. I spent some time on google looking for the Grandin quote (which probably does not bear any similarity to what Hayek actually said given what you say earlier).

Leftist tell us this was a Pinochet newspaper that did the Spanish translation of the 1981 Hayek interview, so they were Pro-Pinochet people with a Pro-Pinochet agenda.

Then the people who did the translation are American academic leftists, with an anti-Hayek agenda.

So we are not only playing the "phone" game, we are playing the game with people with a strong political motive for twisting the translation in a particular direction ...

"Then the people who did the translation are American academic leftists, with an anti-Hayek agenda."

Does that include the Belgian Hayek Institute? I'd not put them down as crazed leftists but as good classical liberals.

Is it their translation?

Does it say?

I find gotcha "scholarship" by leftists even less edifying than gotcha journalism practiced by MSM hacks.

MacArthur was made dictator of Japan after WWII and he set up what grew into an amazingly successful liberal representative democracy with classical liberal freedoms -- and a titular, incredibly weak Emperor or "dictator".

And there are stronger, effectively actual dictators in many democratic country, with very weak liberal freedoms, and massive corruption and other non-liberal pathologies.

So these categories are very imprecise, bordering on pathological conducting clear conversations.

Hayek considered democracy to be the only mechanism ever invented for the reliable non-violent transfer of power across time.

But these are long conversation, not productively or non-pathologically conducted with "gotcha" agenda driven lefties in blog comment sections.

Their translation? Yes.

I guess what is needed is a new translation of the original Spanish. A job for the Hayek Center if funding is available?

I'll have to go along with Hayek: I would prefer a classically liberal dictator to a socialist democracy any day.

This seems only urgent to insincere gotcha lefties, "Perplexed Hayekian" .. You?

Roger,

It, surely, depends upon how you are defining a (classical) liberal.

In the first half of the 19th century, many of the prominent liberals were for a fairly minimal state -- especially, though not exclusively, the French liberals. They were very close to the image of the advocate of "laissez-faire."

In the second half of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century, liberals shifted their position to one that became more inclusive of interventionist and welfare-statist policies.

(Though even in the period of the last decades of the 19th century and the start of the 20th centuries, there were a number of prominent figures -- Herbert Spencer, William Graham Sumner, and others -- who defended that earlier, far more laissez-faire liberalism.)

Except for anarcho-capitalists, who attempt to distinguish themselves from classical liberalism by their opposition to any state, I would say that most classical liberals are far closer again, today, to the laissez-faire tradition of the 19th century.

I used that Joan Robinson phrase about Keynes, but in reference to Hayek, because it seems to me that if one takes seriously Hayek's ideas on decentralized and divided knowledge, spontaneous order, competition as a discovery procedure, and the integrating and coordinating role of market prices, the logic position is one that harks back rather closely to that laissez-faire version of the classical liberal tradition.

Much that is in his policy chapters in part III of "The Constitution of Liberty" seem inconsistent (to me) with the general arguments in (especially) part I and in part II of that book.

And it is why when Ludwig von Mises wrote his review of "The Constitution of Liberty" -- and no one, I think, would challenge Mises' "credentials" as a classical liberal -- he praised parts I and II of "The Constitution of Liberty," but criticized Hayek's "compromises" with the welfare state in part III.

Richard Ebeling

"In the first half of the 19th century, many of the prominent liberals were for a fairly minimal state -- especially, though not exclusively, the French liberals"

Richard, I'm afraid you just proved Roger's case. Hayek did not like most of the French liberals. He had some quite nasty things to say about most of them. Hayek was a Burkean all the way when it came to politics.

The question about Hayek's liberal credentials goes equally for Burke. What was Burke? Whatever he was, that's what Hayek was.

"This seems only urgent to insincere gotcha lefties, "Perplexed Hayekian" .. You?"

Well, I don't speak Spanish so I won't be doing it anytime soon. But it ill behooves you to whine about leftist translations if you do not think there is a need to have a translation done by someone who is more favorable to Hayek than the lefty translators.

You can't have it both ways. But I guess you want it all ways and more.

"The question about Hayek's liberal credentials goes equally for Burke. What was Burke? Whatever he was, that's what Hayek was."

Hayek would say that he, like Burke, was an Old Whig.

PH -- I'm not whining about anything.

You've been pulling me around the room on this topic with utter insincerity, wasting my time on things you falsely suggest you "need help with".

This is the very definition of troll behavior.

I don't appreciate it.

This isn't true:

"Hayek did not like most of the French liberals."


Who less Tocqueville did he speak fondly about?

Maybe I have just shown my ignorance here, but it seems to me that Hayek rails loudly and often against the "French philosophers", especially Rousseau, for standing in the line of "Cartesian rationalism". JS Mill is even criticized for standing too much in this line of "French" liberalism.

I'm truly willing to stand corrected and learn on this, but please provide some evidence that Hayek had any genuine affection for the French liberals.


Hayek admired Montesquieu and wanted to name his liberal society afterTocqueville. He described Montesquieu as trying to put into words the classical liberal institutional acnievements the British took for granted, a difficult and admirable task. Hayek also admired a number of French economists.

Hayek attacked those who were the enemies of liberalism in France. The first socialists Hayek identifies as enemies of the liberals.

It's true that Hayek identified a "rationalist constructivist" strain in much of French thought, and he saw elements of that in the ideas of some who professed some sort of passion for liberty, fraternity & equality -- but many of these Hayek clearly doesn't view as liberals at all.


I think the goal is Richard's, but the method must be more Hayekian, following what Roger is saying. But I'm entirely on Richard's side that murder, the threat of murder, the threat of kidnapping, and theft should not be allowed by anyone, even if you call yourself a government. Other people have figured out how to get money without doing those things -- why must a government?

"PH -- I'm not whining about anything."

Well, you don't "at all recall the quote written by leftist hack Greg Grandin." A few minutes on google finds the same quote in a translation provided by a Hayek think tank in Belgium. And then you start whining about trolls. It is important to work out where Hayek stands on Pinochet. It is important to show that Naomi Klein and the others (they are all over google) are wrong. If you do not know much about this topic just admit it and stop acting the 'I am the big Hayekian man who knows everything' with everyone else who dares to comment here. You told me to go on google. There is much assertion and counter-assertion there but little hard evidence and no pdfs of the original media material online. I could not work out how to access El Mercurio's archive. I think you had to pay to do so.

It would really help if you all didn't treat French thought as one monolithic breed.

Mathieu,

I completely agree that the thinking of the late 18th and 19th century French thinkers was complex. Hayek sees the French verbal exposition of many liberal principles (which were also held tacitly in England) as being ambitious, but in the end a failed endeavor which leads to a reaction against liberty. The French leaned too much on those rules of the spontaneous order which might be "rationalized" by the individual, and threw out the ones which were not straightforward.

However, it is hard to deny that Hayek stereotyped the "French" thinkers as a particular school of thought, probably more or less for the sake of convenience. To Hayek, several English thinkers such as J. Bentham were also "French" constructivists. In any case, he took great care to distance himself from the "French" school of liberalism.

In which essay?

Fake "Hayekian",

I'm done being trolled.

K Sralla,

I agree with your last comment.

Matthieu wrote: "In which essay?"

In "Individualism: True and False"

Fake Hayek 'expert' (Greg Ransom), I'm done with being lectured to on topics you (much like me) do not really know much about. I'll stick to google in future (Grandin, Klein, DeLong and all).

Mr. Hayekian is a troll.

John V: Whether you label me a troll or not is immaterial. What matters is whether Hayek endorsed Pinochet. We have the evidence (real or imagined) from Grandin, Klein, and others, and we have a few not particularly well documented rebuttals. It is important to know where Hayek stood. Personally, I prefer Obama and Clinton to a so-called liberal dictator of the Pinochet variety (or a nicer classical liberal variety.) The Pinochet question will not go away and ignoring it will not make it go away.

I'm not sure I wanna wade in here, but the notion that Hayek supported Pinochet is a canard that was fully vetted years ago on the old Hayek-L discussion board. The Institut Hayek published a translation of the Mercurio interview here:
http://www.fahayek.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=147&Itemid=0

Presumably, the translation is fine. Here is the bit that gets attention:

You have referred on other occasions to the apparent paradox that a dictatorial government may be more liberal than a totalitarian democracy. However, it is also certain that dictatorships have other characteristics which clash with liberty, even when conceived in the negative way you do...

Obviously there are major dangers in dictatorships. But a dictatorship can place limits on itself and a dictatorship that deliberately sets limits on itself can be more liberal in its policies than a democratic assembly without limits. I have to admit that it is not very likely that this will succeed, even if, at a particular point in time, it may be the only hope there is. It is not a certain hope, because it will always depend on the goodwill of an individual, and there are very few individuals one can trust. But if it is the sole opportunity which exists at a particular moment it may be the best solution despite this. And only if and when the dictatorial government is visibly directing its steps towards limited democracy.

So Hayek is saying that a liberal dictator can be a Hail Mary pass in desperate times. I don't see that as a shocker and is certainly not a celebration of political violence. I really don't see where there is any ambiguity here.

The Grandin quote seems to come from a .doc file that says it's from a letter to the Times from 1978. But searching the archive for the relevant date does not produce the letter. Nor does the text read like Hayek. Until I see sturdier evidence, I'll assume no such letter to the Times exists.

"I'm not sure I wanna wade in here, but the notion that Hayek supported Pinochet is a canard that was fully vetted years ago on the old Hayek-L discussion board."

Offhand, are these discussions online in an archive? I too could not find the Times letter.

Apparently, there is a letter from 3 August 1978. You can find it by searching "defensor pacis" at http://archive.timesonline.co.uk/. I could not access it, however. Can someone out there do so? If the Grandin transcript is right, Hayek seems to say that Allende was worse than Pinochet, which is indeed a pretty big error. Before chastising Hayek, however, I’d like to see the letter. I would also like to be smarter about what we knew about Pinochet in the summer of 1978.

In defence of the notion that leftwing dictators are worse than most non-leftwing dictator, Allende was driven by an ideology that systematically destroys peace, freedom and prosperity while non-leftwing dictators are just driven by the lust for power which is short-term, opportunistic and, in the case of Pinochet, did not destroy his capacity to permit sensible economic reforms which have been essentialy retained under new and more leftwing management.

A similar point has been made with regard to corruption in politics in Australia, the left/Labor people do it systematically with ideological intent so it builds over time and they are prepared to justify it with intellectual arguments (also politics is their way of life), but corruption among the conservatives is random, opportunistic, clearly crooked and it is used by the left to justifiy their own activities.

If anyone makes the letter available, please could you report on what Hayek actuallys says. Thanks. Others may disagree but the claims about Hayek and Pinochet do much damage to the spread of Austrian ideas I think. Also, what was known about Pinochet in 1978 or earlier? Were his crimes known or did all that come to light much later in the 90's and later when he was arrested?

"A similar point has been made with regard to corruption in politics in Australia, the left/Labor people do it systematically with ideological intent so it builds over time and they are prepared to justify it with intellectual arguments (also politics is their way of life), but corruption among the conservatives is random, opportunistic, clearly crooked and it is used by the left to justifiy their own activities."

Rafe Champion makes an excellent point. Are there any good Austrian studies of Allende's policies in the late 60's/early 70's? Wikipedia and similar is not particularly helpful when it comes to detail.


Incidentally, the charges that Grandin makes against Hayek (what he is meant to have said in the Times letter) are a bit similar to what he says in the new edition of the Constitution of Liberty (the topic of this probably already overlong thread). See the chapter on Democracy and Majority Rule. This is my last post for today as I am off to work now and hope that the truth about the Times claims are resolved when I check back. This is all very interesting and important to resolve I think.

Mr. Hayekian,

"Whether you label me a troll or not is immaterial. What matters is whether Hayek endorsed Pinochet."

No. What matters is that you are a troll with a clear agenda. I find Hayek's views on Pinochet pretty clear and well-taken in context. You, OTOH, have an agenda to build something out of it that attempts to remake the truth.

I'm bored and done here with you.

"No. What matters is that you are a troll with a clear agenda. I find Hayek's views on Pinochet pretty clear and well-taken in context. You, OTOH, have an agenda to build something out of it that attempts to remake the truth.
I'm bored and done here with you."


Far be it for me to dare and disagree with th wellgrounded and respected views of a serious scholar like John V, but I was unaware that John V had yet to get started with me let alone be done. So I am a truth remaking troll? Perhaps John (having a monopoly on the truth perhaps) will explain how lefty agitator Grandin misrepresents Hayek's "well taken" views on Pinochet? I was under the impression that Hayek's views on Chile were far from "pretty clear." And yes, I do have an agenda. I want to know where Hayek actually stood on the Pinochet question; and unlike John V, I do not have an agenda of 'my Hayek, right or wrong.'

Enough name calling please.

Is anyone willing to stump up the $$$ to pay and put up a pdf of the Hayek letter Grandin and Dr Koppl mention?

Friedman and Pinochet as viewed by a non-leftist philosopher.

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1142741

In that paper Eric Schliesser is making a case against the value free concept of science, possibly in order to discredit Friedman on account of his advice to Chile. The cites to Friedman in his paper pretty clearly support some of the people on this list such as Mckinney and Greg who insist that Friedman was giving advice for the good of the Chilean people and it would have been the same advice whoever was in power at the time.

We now have both Hayek and Friedman sucked into the Chilean labyrinth, and I think in each case they come up clean. You can't trust lefties interpretation of comments by "evil" people like Margaret Thatcher, look what they did with "there is no such thing as society". If you look at the context of her remark the implication is the opposite of the leftwing interpretation, up to the level of the "master" of hermeneutics, Habermas.

I think Schliesser is confused about the value-freedom issue. FWIW he posts on the HOPOS (history and philosophy of science) list but he is confused on that topic as well, judging from a recent exchange between us on the Austrians email list.

As Greg wrote, there is a lot of interesting historical material in Mirowski et al on the MPS but in its interpretation the of the material book is a crock.

http://catallaxyfiles.com/2010/02/12/a-leftie-look-at-the-mont-pelerin-society/

On the topic of trolls, the link above attracted four apparent trolls (in addition to our resident Stalinist). Did not at the time check ISP or emails but today test emails to the four all bounced.

Friedman visited Chile.

Friedman also visited China and advised their post-Maoist leaders giving his standard advice: become another Hong Kong. Does that visit make Friedman a communist?

Plenty of renegade liberals visited Stalinist Russia in the 1920s and 1930s and came back saying that they had seen the future. Were they communists too or just useful idiots?

"Consequently Mirowski can only see limited government as a device to disenfranchise the masses. He manages to trace a line from Adolf Hitler’s crown jurist Carl Schmidt to Hayek (p 443-4). He suggests that Hayek owed more to Schmidt than he realised and so “For Hayek and the neoliberals, the Fuhrer was replaced by the figure of the entreprenneur, the embodiment of the will to power for the community, who must be permitted to act without being brought to rational account.” From that point of course it is only a skip and jump to support Pinochet in Chile."

Rafe, as usual, nails it. Does Mirowski have any evidence? Has anyone written up an argument against his silly claims about Hayek and the Nazi jurist? Whether or not there is any mileage in the Hayek and Pinochet claims (Grandin and others) I cannot accept any Hayek/Hitler claims.

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