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What Ha Joon Chang Doesn’t Tell You about ‘Free Market Economics’ « Pileus

Professor Ha Joon Chang has become something of a hero to those who champion heterodox economic theory and who rail against the supposed intellectual hegemony of ‘neo-liberalism’. In a number of books such as Kicking Away the Ladder Chang sets out to overturn the alleged orthodoxies of mainstream economics by questioning the case for free trade as an appropriate development strategy in poorer countries and more widely making the case for a high regulation/big government agenda. These themes are vividly […]

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An unlikely alliance on directors’ remuneration

Via Hansard, my unlikely alliance with Labour’s John McDonnell over the need for shareholders to be able to control directors’ remuneration: Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): As I listened to the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell) speak to amendment 15, I thought that my ears were deceiving me because I felt so much sympathy for what he was saying. Indeed, he put me in mind of a book by a reformed Trotskyite, James Burnham, who predicted in “The […]

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Capitalism is untouchable for human development

The plight of the Dalits, those whom the Hindu caste system considers outcastes and hence Untouchables, was a rallying cry of Hindu reformers and Indian leftists for half a century. But today these victims of the caste system are finding that free markets and development bring advancement faster than government programs. via B. Chandrasekaran: The Untouchable Case for Indian Capitalism – WSJ.com, which I thoroughly recommend.

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On capital, international development and raising the poor out of poverty

Via The Economic Role of Saving and Capital Goods – Mises Institute (emphasis mine): What distinguishes contemporary life in the countries of Western civilization from conditions as they prevailed in earlier ages – and still exist for the greater number of those living today – is not the changes in the supply of labor and the skill of the workers and not the familiarity with the exploits of pure science and their utilization by the applied sciences, by technology. It is […]

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On the biggest threat to our prosperity

From a superb article by Detlev Schlichter, which I recommend in full: Of course, by printing new money, expanding the central bank balance sheet and artificially lowering interest rates, – something that has been done on a vast scale for decades on end! – extra economic activity can be generated for a period. Lower interest rates fool the public into believing that more savings are available, that the consumer is okay with more resources being diverted from meeting present consumption […]

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Alternatives to capitalism: Nikolai Bukharin on the division of labour

A favourite brought forward. Thinking about the pressures on capitalism — or rather, on the interventionism that passes for capitalism today — and on the alternative which was most comprehensively implemented, I discovered this recipe for chaos and failure from Bukharin: Under communism people receive a many-sided culture, and find themselves at home in various branches of production: today I work in an administrative capacity, I reckon up how many felt boots or how many French rolls must be produced […]

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Rampant corporatism

As I read the papers online this morning and reflected on recent remarks by bankers and big business, I was struck by how dependent big firms have become on state welfare. This is not capitalism. How can it be when people expect their losses to be forced onto others? It’s corporatism, or state capitalism, and what needs removing from it is the corrupting influence of state power.

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Comrades are confused about capitalism – they shouldn’t be.

I have written for ConservativeHome today on the problem with capitalism: I listened to Comrade Milliband’s tedious historical revisionism with interest: apparently New Old Labour are to become the party of enterprise and small business in order that wealth can be created and redistributed. With Comrade Milliband’s remarks following so closely after Comrade Cable’s denunciation of capitalism, I am reminded of Churchill: “Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow […]

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CentreRight: Douglas Carswell leads the way on bank reform

On CentreRight, I explain that Douglas Carswell leads the way on bank reform: There is a doctrine which creates wealth and spreads it around. It is just and moral. It works. It is called capitalism and, today, in practice, there is very obviously something wrong with it. If one were to summarise the doctrine of capitalism in one word, it would be “property”. It is property which enables human social cooperation through production, exchange and consumption. The voluntary exchange of property […]

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The altruistic individual in society

In preparation for an article to be published in the Autumn, I just reread The Open Society and Its Enemies – Volume 1: The Spell of Plato. The book traces mankind’s opposition to change and the consequent rise of the myth of destiny, technically, historicism: the belief that history unfolds according to laws which can be discovered. Popper argues that the strain of civilisation causes us to seek to return to a supposed harmonious state of nature, a heroic age […]

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