This is mostly true (though I can't judge how much readership she has outside of the US).Zamfir wrote:Ayn Rand I just don't get at all. I guess it's a cultural thing, she does't seem to have much readership outside of the US. To me, she feels like a convert who became a stricter American than the Americans themselves.
I see The Road To Serfdom as one of his weaker books for that reason. He is correct about the general incentives; he is wrong in assuming that because there is an incentive for totalitarianism, there will be totalitarianism. I think Hayek's more salient points are on the knowledge problem- as H2SO4 brought up, the idea that individuals know their circumstances best. Socialists tend to focus on the other half of the knowledge problem- instead of focusing on knowledge, they focus on decision-making ability. Of course the economy should be run by the smartest men in the room- lesser men will make mistakes! While Hayek is content to let poor decision-makers make bad decisions with good information, socialists ignore that good decision-makers will make bad decisions if fed bad information.Zamfir wrote:I read some books by Hayek years ago, I think Road to serfdom too. He was clearly a smart guy, and he made a lot of good points. The trouble, in my opinion, is that his best points have become common wisdom, and what remains are not his strongest points. A tightly state controlled economy was still an option many people considered in the 1940s, but it isn't anymore, mostly for the reasons Hayek gave.
But his claim that welfare states would inevitably become Soviet-style regimes has turned to be complety wrong. Both Western Europe and North America have implemented many policies Hayek was opposed to, and it just didn't work out the way he thought it would. Of course, people claim that it didn't turn out badly because people like Hayek warned, and because conservative opposition stopped the most extreme proposals. There might be some truth in there, but that still leaves the fact that it is apparently possible to have a free, democratically controlled welfare state of a size Hayek thought impossible.
Since how decision-making is divvied up isn't binary, it becomes a question of maximizing some benefit by allocating decision-making. I would say that the state's role is to set minimal, easily understood guidelines on how people should act, and then let people make their own decisions with those guidelines in mind.
Here's an example. Do you know how many federal crimes there are in America?
A car is made up of many parts. They do not compete for supremacy. A car is a singular object. I am made up of many parts. They do not compete for supremacy. I am a singular object.nitePhyyre wrote:Are YOU a collection of individual cells, competing for supremacy? Or, are you, you?
Is a society a collection of individuals, competing for supremacy, or is society, a society?
Are two cars a singular object? Are two people? Are a billion cars a singular object? Are a billion people?
If you remove a part from a machine, it malfunctions. If you remove an organ from a person, it malfunctions. But if you remove a person from a society, it does not malfunction in the same way. The relationships that person had are broken, and that person may have been critical for the survival of other people- but it cannot be said that someone is the heart of society, or the liver, or the eye, or the mind. Society is a group of individuals, not an individual with parts.