Monday, 1 May 2006

Unintended consequences

Last summer there was a posting over on the Adam Smith Institute blog:
I have long suspected that Communist propaganda in general will be looked back on by historians as having had very different results to those intended.
Indeed, the writer suggests that naive Chinese government propaganda may well have contributed to that country's eventual adoption of a form of capitalism.

Over the last day or so we have been reading about the death of the (so-called) economist J.K. Galbraith. Some readers may be surprised to hear that I owe a great deal to Galbraith. When I moved to London at the age of eighteen I had no interest in politics. It wasn't until I was in my early twenties before I even started reading a daily newspaper.

One day I came across a copy of The Affluent Society and, for reasons that I certainly can't remember, decided to buy a copy. Perhaps the book was in the news at the time.

I was fascinated by my first exposure to the world of economics. Everything Galbraith wrote seemed to make perfect sense. As the weeks and months went on I read more and more. But fairly soon I discovered a book called Right Turn that was published by an offshoot of the IEA. Here was a group of writers diametrically opposed to Galbraith, and they made sense too! Clearly I needed to read even more widely. And that's what led me to discover Ayn Rand, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich von Hayek, Murray Rothbard and dozens of other libertarian writers who were able to convince me that Galbraith was utterly confused as were and are all of those politicians, journalists and academics who have yet to move on to the next stage of learning.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Robert Speirs
What the Socialists and Freethinkers will never admit is that the vast difference in wealth and freedom between the West and other areas is traceable in part at least to Christianity! Of course, that's not the whole story. But.

8 May 2006, 19:03:54 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer
Anon A Moss: 
Yes, great radio. I love it when these reds come up against a freedom-loving person from the Third World.

3 May 2006, 20:57:22 GMT+01:00
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Wild Pegasus
It usually begins with John Kenneth Galbraith. =) 
- Josh

3 May 2006, 00:07:33 GMT+01:00
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Yup, I bought The Affluent Society when young too: I think I must have wanted to learn how on earth we had all (in our part of the world) become so much richer than our ancestors only a couple of hundred years before. Enlightenment found I none. Smith, Hayek and my father taught me much more but I still find some aspects of it pretty puzzling.

2 May 2006, 16:43:34 GMT+01:00
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Anon A Moss
I would recommend everybody to do the following: 
Click on the link to JK Galbraith that David Farrer provided: 
And then click on to the link to the radio Interview to hear Professor Meghnad Desai demolish Galbraith in a few sentences. He calls Galbraith "the Jeffrey Archer of economics, popular but not serious literature" and says his work contains "lazy thinking", and this after the typical BBC presenter had given Galbraith a reverential introduction (the poor bloke doesn't know how to respond!). 
David you should have flagged this up!

1 May 2006, 22:31:12 GMT+01:00