Duncan’s Economic Blog

Hopi & Hayek

Posted in Uncategorized by duncanseconomicblog on July 16, 2009

Hopi has an interesting post up asking why politicians are so pessimistic?

 It’s as if, both sides having accepted the Thatcher/Blair (or Lawson/Brown or Greenspan/Clinton) macro consensus and then seen it appear to collapse under the weight of its own excesses, there is little remaining belief in the ability of forceful policy decisions to drive growth.

 He’s right. The ability of macro- economic policy to influence the future seems to have been forgotten.

 It brings to mind a quote from Hayek:

 The main lesson which the true liberal must learn from the success of the socialists is that it was their courage to be Utopian which gained them the  support of the intellectuals and therefore an influence on public opinion which is daily making possible what only recently seemed utterly remote. Those who have concerned themselves exclusively with what seemed practicable in the existing state of opinion have constantly found that even this had rapidly become politically impossible as the result of changes in a public opinion which they have done nothing to guide.

(My emphasis) 

If we keep saying that there is nothing we can do that will quickly become the political mainstream.


4 Responses

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  1. charliemarks said, on July 16, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Exactly – and there’s forces at work that would rather a deepening recession than pro-worker policies…

  2. newmania said, on July 16, 2009 at 9:41 am

    The last true Utopia was A Modern Utopia by H. G. Wells 1905 , it came at the end of a tradition stretching back to Plato and via Thomas More .Brave New World and the more serious 1984 have been typical of the dystopias since and we seem to be incapable of imagining a heaven on earth .
    Its an interesting fact partly due to the failure and disaster wrought by Utopians from the French Revolution onwards but I think it also has to do with a reaction to the terrifying rate of change that characterised the 20th century , juts as Victorian Industrialisation gave birth to pastoral romanticism and , for example the arts and crafts movement. Perhaps the decline of the religious impulse either expressed as devotion or displaced into Marxist visions of perfecting the man

    I do not myself have any time whatsoever for Utopian thinking , I never did . I regard it as a childish and a distraction from the more important business of “Better”.

  3. Wasted Years « OutofRange.net said, on July 16, 2009 at 11:03 am

    […] Hat Tip: Duncan’s Economic Blog. […]

  4. charliemarks said, on July 16, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    My realist-utopian motto is “try again, fail agian – fail better”

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