"Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking" - JMK
- There's been some interesting blogging about Hayek lately. Crooked Timber has posts here and here on Hayek and the welfare state. I find Hayek's writings about the welfare state in Constitution of Liberty much clearer than his writing in Road to Serfdom (which is the book CT addresses), myself (I still haven't read either book cover-to-cover, but I've read substantial enough sections to have an opinion on what I have read). Contra Greg Ransom, Hayek is not a fan at all of Social Security, Medicare, or any of the modern social insurance or social safety net programs in Constitution of Liberty but he does clearly present a more minimalist social insurance he could be comfortable with. That's fine. Road to Serfdom is far more confusing than that because he seems to be trying to have it both ways - we have an equation of the welfare state with the totalitarian state, sometimes through a slippery slope mechanism and sometimes more directly - while at other times we have him or his interpreters denying that he's making such a blunt connection. It's not clear to me precisely what argument Hayek is trying to make in Road to Serfdom, although I'll fully allow that there may be some coherent whole that reading it piecemeal hasn't given me. It doesn't seem likely given that a lot of others seem equally confused about it.
- Also in Hayek blogging news, there's a good post at BHL on Hayek and the guaranteed basic income. This is a topic I'll be returning to shortly myself.
- There's also been some interesting Nordhaus blogging. As I mentioned yesterday, Bob Murphy discusses his rebuttal here. Stickman has a rebuttal to that piece here. Here are Bob's thoughts on stickman's post. Can I go back to my (alleged) old "fence-sitting" ways and say they're both right? Bob seems very concerned with parsing exactly what Nordhaus said and whether Nordhaus was being misleading or not. There's a place for that, and so far as I can tell Bob makes very good points in this area. But stickman's response to that is that Bob is "dancing around the issue", and I think there's a lot to that as well. Stickman has lots of good information on climate change if you're not particularly concerned with parsing Nordhaus's phrasing.