Hayek and Pragmatism: Is a Libertarian Dewey or a Classically Liberal Ironism possible?

In this paper, Alan Reynolds argues that pragmatists like John Dewey should take Hayek’s criticisms in the knowledge problem seriously and consider capitalism as a tool to accomplish certain ends. After all, both Hayek and Dewey come from similar post-enlightenment epistemological positions. From the abstract:

"In this paper, I will argue that the insights of Austrian economist and philosopher Friedrich Hayek can help us see that John Dewey’s fallibilist epistemology is not compatible with his socialist political commitments. Hayek’s basic insight is that a proper appreciation of the limits and fallibility of human knowledge should lead us to strongly appreciate the undesigned social coordinating mechanisms of the market and its price signals, and lead us to be wary of state control of the economy. The claim of this paper is that Dewey’s Hayek-sounding epistemological commitments undermine his Old Left socialist political commitments, and Hayek is an excellent guide to demonstrating why this is the case."

In the end he goes into Richard Rorty’s call for pragmatism and the left to be less defined as anti-capitalist. But I think the same criticism may apply to Rorty in Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Why should social democracy be the tool of alleviating human suffering when, if we take Hayek seriously, it seems spontaneous order is the tool that does so? 

What are your thoughts, is such a free market friendly pragmatism possible?

FA Hayek Hayek Dewey Rorty Pragmatism Richard Rorty John Dewey Epistemology Knowledge Problem Philosophy Political Philosophy Socialism Social Democracy Economics Austrian Economics Libertarianism freeblr liberty

"At the centre of the storm is a 107-page paper by Oded Galor of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and Quamrul Ashraf of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. It has been peer-reviewed by economists and biologists, and will soon appear in American Economic Review, one of the most prestigious economics journals.
The paper argues that there are strong links between estimates of genetic diversity for 145 countries and per-capita incomes, even after accounting for myriad factors such as economic-based migration. High genetic diversity in a country’s population is linked with greater innovation, the paper says, because diverse populations have a greater range of cognitive abilities and styles. By contrast, low genetic diversity tends to produce societies with greater interpersonal trust, because there are fewer differences between populations. Countries with intermediate levels of diversity, such as the United States, balance these factors and have the most productive economies as a result, the economists conclude."
- Economics and genetics meet in uneasy union (via ordnungsokonomik)

(via iluvponys)

Obama's Student Loan Blowout

From today’s Wall Street Journal on President Obama’s decision to provide subsidies for Graduate schools:

In an earlier study Jason Delisle and Alexander Holt analyzed hundreds of hypothetical borrower scenarios under the expanded income-based repayment program, which limits payments to 10% of a borrower’s adjusted gross income. (Income below 150% of the federal poverty line is exempt.) The authors found that “the Obama administration’s changes” made the program “much more generous than was commonly understood, particularly for graduate students.”

In their new study to be released Wednesday, Messrs. Delisle and Holt measure how this program will interact with the new and not improved Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which allows those who go into a Washington-approved profession to be free of their debts after 10 years. It will not be a small population of borrowers standing in line for this gift from taxpayers. The federal government estimates that a quarter of all jobs may qualify.

The subsidies are so generous that the study authors say “it could become common for the government to pay for a student’s entire graduate education via loan forgiveness” if those kids take jobs at a nonprofit or in government. The new payment terms for such borrowers “are unlikely to cause many graduate and professional students to fully repay their loans—even if they earn a competitive salary in their chosen careers or a salary that places them among upper-income Americans.”

It should go without saying, but unfortunately people need constant reminders, that such subsidies increase student debt and tuition rates.

Obama Politics College Debt College Graduate School Education Policy Higher Education

Where's the Beef? Canada!

Politics Corporate Taxes Corporate Inversions Inversions Tax Policy Taxes Corporations Economics

"New regulations inevitably come with unintended consequences. Indeed, today’s network neutrality debate is strikingly similar to the debate that produced the first modern regulatory agency, the Interstate Commerce Commission. Unfortunately, rather than protecting consumers from the railroads, the ICC protected the railroads from competition by erecting new barriers to entry in the surface transportation marketplace. Other 20th-century regulatory agencies also limited competition in the industries they regulated. Like these older regulatory regimes, network neutrality regulations are likely not to achieve their intended aims. Given the need for more competition in the broadband marketplace, policymakers should be especially wary of enacting regulations that could become a barrier to entry for new broadband firms."
- Timothy Lee, The Durable Internet: Preserving Network Neutrality Without Regulation

Politics Economics Network Neutrality Regulation Technology Cato Institute


Robert Nozick passed away 10 years ago.
He was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974), a libertarian answer to John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice (1971). His other work involved decision theory and epistemology… (more)


Robert Nozick passed away 10 years ago.

He was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974), a libertarian answer to John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice (1971). His other work involved decision theory and epistemology… (more)

(via robertnozicksays)

Robert Nozick Libertarian

Cops on Camera: What IS Legal And What SHOULD Be?


The topic of police abuse and what can be done about it has been in the news a lot lately. This 2010 video from the Cato Institute explores the surprisingly controversial topic of filming on-duty police officers. 


No one disputes the idea that police misconduct is wrong, but reasonable people do disagree about the scope of the problem and how it ought to be addressed.


Cato’s National Police Misconduct Reporting Project gathers reports of credible allegations of police misconduct so policymakers (and others) can make informed assessments of the nature and circumstances of police misconduct, and consider proposals that can minimize wrongdoing.

Our objective is to identify policies that consistently uphold high standards of ethics, honesty, and professionalism from police officers and critique the policies that do not.

Cameras play an important role in that. Several high-profile cases of police brutality have been exposed by citizens who recorded police actions with cell phones. Yet some state wiretapping laws, written before the age of ubiquitous recording devices, prohibit recording these events and then further criminalize the publication of the recordings on the Internet.

So, is filming police against the law—and, more importantly, should it be?

That’s the topic of a 2010  event hosted by the Cato Institute: Recording the Police: Is Citizen Journalism against the Law?

Does the First Amendment protect citizen journalism, or do police agents have a right to privacy while performing public duties? Watch the video and decide for yourself. 

Interested in learning more about police abuse or the National Police Misconduct Reporting Project? Follow @NPMRP on Twitter and like the page on Facebook.

Police Misconduct Police Politics

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