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Book review – The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism

I frequently enjoy Hayek’s writing less than anticipated. The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism was no exception. The book is mercifully brief and its substance is insightful and yet it was a dull read. It begins by explaining that tradition arises between instinct and reason. Hayek destroys the case for a rational reconstruction of civilisation. It is a fatal conceit to imagine society can be designed, one grounded in fear and a revolt against reason. Markets, money and trade emerged […]

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Three videos to start the Autumn

On levels of debt: On the madness of QE and the current economic consensus: On the battle of economic ideas:

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Hayek’s neglected truths about credit, capital and the trade cycle

Last night, I caught up with Martin Wolf’s November programmes for Radio 4 Analysis, which you can find here. He offered a predictable blend of commentators calling for more money printing, world central banking and greater global governance. It prompted me to look out Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle (1933). Hayek wrote (emphasis mine): It is a curious fact that the general disinclination to explain the past boom by monetary factors has been quickly replaced by an even greater […]

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The Rule of Law

Please note: this post was written at my request by Michael Dowsett, after yet another European policy which breached the Rule of Law, as classically understood. – Steve The rule of law is a phrase which is widely used but perhaps little understood. Far from being merely the sum total of all the laws passed by a particular central or local administration plus courts to enforce them, the term ‘the rule of law’ draws on a higher concept of laws […]

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Remember, remember, the 5th of November

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As CNN reports, the V for Vendetta-style Guy Fawkes mask has inspired Occupy protesters around the world. CNN points out: Ironically Fawkes, far from being the anti-establishment hero he has come to be seen as in the years since his death, was a monarchist who merely wanted to replace the Anglican king with a Catholic queen. A transcript of his trial with co-conspirators is available here. It’s hard reading for one not accustomed to 17th century English but, in relation […]

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BBC Radio 4 Programmes – Keynes Vs. Hayek

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What caused the financial mess we’re in? And how do we get out of it? Two of the great economic thinkers of the 20th century had sharply contrasting views: John Maynard Keynes believed that government spending could create employment and longer term growth. His contemporary and rival Friedrich Hayek believed that investments have to be based on real savings rather than increased public spending or artificially low interest rates. Keynes’s biographer, Professor Lord Skidelsky, will take on modern day followers […]

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The consequences of the impending national bankruptcies » The Cobden Centre

A fascinating perspective from Robert Thorpe at The Cobden Centre – The consequences of the impending national bankruptcies: The governments of Portugal and Ireland are waiting for Greece to default. If that happens then it will likely trigger the bankruptcy of several European banks*. This is the “Second Lehmann Brothers” the UK press have been discussing that could cause another financial crisis. I think such a crisis is likely to happen, but for political reasons more than economic ones. If one […]

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Parliament, the EU, Keynes and Hayek

Last night in debate, Keynes and his disciples were invoked and rebutted in relation to EU economic surveillance. One Labour MP wanted to print the money we need… Today, via The Cobden Centre, I find EconStories have followed up their superb Keynes vs Hayek rap, Fear the Boom and Bust, with Fight of the Century. From the video’s introduction: Fight of the Century According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Great Recession ended almost two years ago, in the summer […]

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Thatcher: This is what we believe.

This week, I was glad to hear David Cameron say “I’d rather be a child of Thatcher than a son of Brown” but what does that mean for policy and society? Famously, Lady Thatcher settled a discussion by taking a book from her handbag and banging it on the table, declaring, “This is what we believe.” Read the rest of my article at ConservativeHome’s Platform.

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Speech in the budget debate

Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): When I came to the House today, I expected to hear a great deal of Keynesian argument and I have not been disappointed. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Austin Mitchell) is no longer in the Chamber, as I wanted to congratulate him on his comprehensive grasp of Keynesian arguments. Unfortunately, it was also excruciating. I am told that Keynes thought that the safe upper limit for the size of the state […]

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