What Dunces preach and Neoliberals believe

The OLD TESTAMENT of the Neo-Liberal right-wing economists is THE ROAD TO SERFDOM by Alexander von Hayek, a lecturer at the London School of Economics, published in 1944.Von Hayek, who was raised in Vienna, saw himself as a close observer of Prussian and later German planning which turned, inevitably as he saw it, into Nazi tyranny. At the time it was an easy case to make when he also had Mussolini and Stalin as co-exemplars.

Von Hayek looks back to a Golden Age of British Liberalism under Lord Acton and J S Mill when only the Price Mechanism and the Perfect Market governed the interactions between individuals, organisations and states.. And like so many preachers he is full of dire warnings about what will happen if we deviate from the straight and narrow path – with chapter headings like ‘The End of Truth’ and ‘The Totalitarians in our Midst’ And it feels persuasive because everything is heavily cloaked in apparently unanswerable ”Logic” – which gets emphasised again and again and again.

Alas it is completely wrong for 3 main reasons:

  1. Logic only works in a CLOSED system or game where all the possible moves and rules are defined in advance (like Chess). Economics is most certainly not of this nature Why don’t presumably educated people understand that?
  2. Von Hayek’s Golden Age never existed .It is sufficient to point out that in per capita GDP the UK’s in 1820 was two and a half times higher than anywhere else’s whilst by 1910 there were a dozen nations higher. The British working class in von Hayek’s Golden Age had to emigrate or starve ( 30% of volunteers for the British Army in 1914 were rejected on the grounds that that “their constitutions had been wrecked by malnutrition.” )
  3. Planned economies do NOT inevitably lead to tyranny – his central argument; viz Attlee’s and Scandinavian governments shortly thereafter.

The NEW TESTAMENT of the Neo-liberals or ‘Chicago Boys’ was written by

MILTON FRIEDMAN: ‘Capitalism and Freedom’ by Milton Friedman (1962) “the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century” (Fortune magazine). How this very bad book can remotely be thought of as ‘science’ defeats me. Near the beginning (p4) he writes: “….the great advances of civilization, in industry, or agriculture, have never come from centralized government”. This is complete and utter nonsense, as factually wrong as stating ‘The Earth is Flat’. [Think only of sewage systems, clean water, roads, computers, space-satellites, anti-biotics, astro-navigation, jet engines, radar, the Internet, broadcasting, machine-tools, anti-scorbutics, satellite navigation, and so on and on.] To call it ‘naïve’ is far too polite – either the author was a complete fool or a deliberate liar. Certainly he was an enthusiastic apologist for the worst excesses of Capitalism ( Reagan and Thatcher were fans). And the fact that he was awarded a ‘ Not-the-Nobel Prize’ in Economics highlights the fraudulence of that particular award. von Hayek also got it.That prize is not awarded by the Nobel Foundation, who were furious that the prestige of their own Prize, with its name, was misappropriated by the Bank of Sweden, who ‘invented’ the tawdry ‘Economic’ variety. It should be called “The Dunce’s Crown” in honour of such a ‘Confederacy of Dunces’.


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