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« Talking About the Hayek Book | Main | Wirth Institute 2018 Conference on the Austrian School of Economics »


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"One of liberalism’s greatest accomplishments was the gradual extension of equal rights to all humans..."

This was actually the work if Christianity over 1500 years according to Larry Siedentop in "Inventing the Individual." Christian individualism was so radical it took the church centuries to transform culture and institutions. Geert Hofstede and others demonstrate the importance of individualism to economic development, though they have cause and effect reversed. Also, Helmut Schoeck shows the importance of individualism as the opposite of envy and its necessity in economic growth. Schoeck shows that only Christianity suppressed envy enough for individualism to flower and people to prosper.

I summarize these guys and more in "God is a Capitalist" available on Amazon with a review on my blog

The Liberty Matters discussion is great, but misses the core of the problem - human nature. Marx clearly recognizes that something is wrong with humanity. It's the ancient problem of the origins of evil. The Greeks and Romans saw the problem as one of education. Marx and all socialists before him and after have blamed capitalism. Islam and Hinduism think education can perfect humanity in the same way. Only Judaism and Christianity have seen mankind as inherently flawed and no amount of education and no economic system can fix us. Everything Marx attributed to capitalism existed before capitalism and in all non-capitalist societies. The explosive growth in wealth that Marx attributes to capitalism happened only after Christianity tamed envy with the invention of political and economic individualism.

Roger is correct. At the heart of socialism is the moral opprobrium of private property, that profit is theft. This is incorrect. Elsewhere Roger correctly notes that the solution to envy, as demonstrated by Schoeck, is Christianity. Christianity asserts, under God, that private property should be protected. It follows that when one provides a product and solves his client's problem, the company makes a profit, as does the client, who would not engage in exchange if there was no value inherent in the transaction. Mises was correct, that socialism has no way of calculating the correct allocation of capital investment without prices, hence the need for the individual to make the time and place decisions as an entrepreneur as to how to effectively allocate scare resources for productive purposes.

I don't see any way to comment on the "Liberty Matters" site, so I'll comment here.
It appears as if the authors understand Marx's theory of exploitation to involve being "cheated" in exchange, to receive less than the value of one's marginal product. The problem with that is that Marx explicitly asserts, in Capital, that he assumes equal for equal in exchange. The problem of exploitation is not in "the market." It is that the hiring party owns the worker's time and all of the worker's product (which are separate issues from getting paid too little). Marx explicitly calls for the abolition of the wages system, not the abolition of low wages. Probably the labor theory of value obscures these points for most readers. And, probably, he could have made these points better with a labor theory of property (see David Ellerman).

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