"Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking" - JMK
- A new blog, Notes from the American Underground, picked up my post on Post Keynesianism and also shares some skepticism. I have a comment in the comment section. They also have an interesting post on property and freedom. As I outline here, I think this somewhat puts the cart before the horse. They argue that property is a precondition to freedom. I would suggest that freedom is what we use to judge any given arrangement of property rights. Certainly you need some understanding of rights to talk about freedom, as their posts suggests. But the mere existence and enforcement of rights doesn't guarantee anything about freedom. Rights arrangements must be evaluated, not assumed.
- This is a new paper on the Keynes-Hayek debate in 1932 in The Times of London.
- Gene Callahan has a good post up on Max Weber. I couldn't agree more with him on The Protestant Ethic. It's a really impressive book, and reading it you think "this is how historical analysis in the social sciences should be done". This point by Gene was especially good: "Weber was careful to be humble about what he was achieving — not the complete explanation for the historical events in question (which is only provided by a complete history of the events), but a partial explanation stressing a particular point of view." This is what I was trying to get across in my 1920-21 paper - you can't treat history like a lab experiment (since Kuhn I'm starting to wonder if you can treat lab experiments like lab experiments!). A lot of stuff is going on. You can corroborate theories - that's the value of history - but you need to be humble about it. Sometimes you can rule out other theories, but it's hard.
- A lot of people are chatting about the new Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog. Peter Boettke has serious doubts. I don't have an opinion yet, but I'm following it now. Much of the confusion about social justice by libertarians is precisely the problem with the way they talk about liberty and property. It seems to me you have to deconstruct or just put libertarianism to the side to make real progress with classical liberalism. So this sort of fusionist approach seems politically/rhetorically viable, but I'm not sure how it's going to play out. I still don't have a real sense of their claims yet, so I'll stay agnostic for now.
Comparative advantage: a partial truth
2 hours ago