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Harrison Searles
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Wonderful. I very much enjoy the presentation that a short video lecture with a high production-value like this can provide and the clarity it sheds on its topic.
I am neither a graduate student nor a professor - being merely an undergrad myself, but I will give an opinion from the perspective that I have. Above all, I would probably be disappointed in a graduate seminar if it were entirely devoted to (f). The reason is that much of what would be taught in (f) could be learned by reading writings against market-process theory. I do not see what would be the advantage of taking a course like (f) rather than just relying on independent reading. Furthermore, I do not know what you would consider to be the criticisms of market-process theory (I would place the prima facie bet that most modern economists would not consider themselves opponents of it), but I would doubt that it would really help prepare me as a student for understanding the contemporary debates in economics. Instead, I dread that the class would instead be mostly constituted of Austrian self-congratulation on the defeat of ideas that no respected theorist would ever hold these days. If the class focused on theorists like Minsky, then I would be excited to take the class because I have not seen a lot of Austrian material on coming to terms with his ideas. However, I fear that the seminar would be a rehash of the ideas of Hayek's _The Counter-Revolution of Science_ or Mises' _Theory and History_. If so, I do not think such a seminar would help me become a better economist. I think that (d) can also be critiqued on the basis of I do not see how it would make me a better economist than would simply reading the books on the syllabus over a break and spending my time on an economics course during the semester. Really, the two options that I would be most excited to take as a student would be (b) and (c). (B) because empirical evidence is very important in making a case and there are not really any substitution-goods available for this seminar (that I know of) so it is comparatively more valuable to have taught in a class-room setting than other options on the list. (C) because becoming literate in current research would be one of my expectations in graduate school so taking a seminar on it seems to be a good idea.
I don't know if porn this enticing can be ethically left on the internet.
Toggle Commented May 30, 2011 on Hayek and Bibliophile Porn at Coordination Problem
"Charles Darwin's work was FAIL as 'science' by this criterion." This is a very good reason for just ignoring what is considered "science" and instead simply focusing on what it takes to advance knowledge.
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.
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.
The allusion to the Malthus-Say correspondences was definitely my favorite part.
Toggle Commented Apr 30, 2011 on Hayek vs. Keynes Round Two at Coordination Problem
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Apr 29, 2011