Fukuyama vs Everyone on Hayek & The Constitution of Liberty

International relations academic Francis Fukuyama thought he’d get away with an amateurish and error-ridded review of F.A Hayek’s reknowned The Constitution of Liberty. But it isn’t 1992 anymore. It’s 2011 and there’s now this thing called the “Internet” overstuffed with authentic experts on any topic you can think of, including scholars who’ve spent time carefully reading the work of F.A. Hayek.  And some of these folks have begun to weigh in on Fukuyama on Hayek. Here are a few:

The down side of the Internet age is that shoddy intellectual goods can be spread quickly, the up side is that they can also be exposed quickly.

14 comments to Fukuyama vs Everyone on Hayek & The Constitution of Liberty

  • Shoddy intellectual goods can be quickly disputed IF there’s no self-sustaining cottage industry associated with the production of those shoddy intellectual goods.

    Hayek benefits from the fact that people either love him, acknowledge his value without being especially dedicated to him, or are indifferent to him. Aside from the Naomi Klein types who have no real currency in legitimate intellectual circles there’s no real “anti-Hayek” party out there. So Fukuyama is swiftly corrected (and I’m guessing would even concede to several of these criticisms).

    This is not true of all shoddy intellectual goods, of course.

    The easiest example is Keynes. There is a self-sustaining Keynes-smearing cottage industry out there, and shoddy intellectual contributions are very hard to dislodge in that case.

  • Greg Ransom

    Mark Twain’s famous quote comes to mind.

    Unless you are banishing Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman (and thousands of tenured professors) from the domain of “legitimate intellectual circles,” then you are wrong about Klein.

    Economists are almost universally ignorant of the history of their science — it’s impossible for them to accurately acknowledge the value of any economist not published within 5 – 10 years of the day those economists took their Ph.D.

  • Clearly there are active anti-Hayek views out there. I.e., from Peter Dreier, the “E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics, and chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy department, at Occidental College.” at Huffington Post, How Do Wrong Economic Ideas Become Conventional Wisdom?: “Hayek’s ideas may be making a comeback, as Fukuyama asserts, but it is not because his economic ideas have been proven correct by empirical research, but because they’ve been promoted by the likes of Glenn Beck to justify a conservative ideological and political agenda.”

  • Greg Ransom

    “Darwin benefits from the fact that people either love him, acknowledge his value without being especially dedicated to him, or are indifferent to him.”

    Note how absurd this reads in a parallel case.

    People over the last 150 years have been dedicated to Darwin’s ideas and his scientific vision — and he’s been variously misunderstood and falsely explicated at different times by all variety of people, from those who “love” him (odd language) and those who “hate” him.

    People fight over ideas and scientific paradigms for all sorts of reasons — “love” of a person is almost never what is on the table. Interest in making sense of the world is usually at the very top of list, and closely associated with that is an interest in how one approaches the world.

    Note how this language could be applied to another parallel case:

    “Wittgenstein benefits from the fact that people either love him, acknowledge his value without being especially dedicated to him, or are indifferent to him.”

    The BIG thing here, however, is that few people have genuine competence in Wittgenstein’s work — those who don’t “love” his almost always mark themselves off by the fact that they aren’t competent in his work.

    And note well, the formal game of tenure and publication rewards formal work — there is an incentive to do work in philosophy other than “informal” Wittgenstein, and there is no incentive to become competent in the work of Wittgenstein.

    Similar incentive structures are in place in economics. Other, more political incentive structures drive out competence in the work of Hayek in other disciplines.

    So you premise is bogus.

    There are dramatic differences in competence when it comes the the work of Hayek, as there is in the case of Wittgenstein.

  • [...] MORE, HT to Greg Ransom at Taking Hayek Seriously: Tibor Machan and Anton [...]

  • Greg Ransom

    Daniel, you are talking in code here. Be direct, give examples. What are you talking about?

    “self-sustaining cottage industry associated with the production of those shoddy intellectual goods.”

  • Greg Ransom

    The NY Times?

    ““self-sustaining cottage industry associated with the production of those shoddy intellectual goods.”

  • Greg -
    re: “Unless you are banishing Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman (and thousands of tenured professors) from the domain of “legitimate intellectual circles,” then you are wrong about Klein.”

    I think you are grossly exaggerating these guys. I would file them under “indifferent to Hayek”. Stiglitz certainly recognizes Hayek’s merits, but does perhaps caricature him sometimes. Krugman doesn’t seem to think much about him at all and every once in a while unfairly considers Hayek indifferent to the unemployed (DeLong does the same thing – confusing a positive error on Hayek’s part with a normative lack of concern).

    Sure.

    But be serious Greg. Who out there is actively and regularly smearing Hayek. Who out there isn’t simply over-simplifying him on occassion, but actively smearing him? Mike mentions a few above, but it’s essentially no one. When the example that comes to Mike’s mind is an Urban and Environmental Policy professor, it’s pretty clear that there’s no major anti-Hayek force to be reckoned with. In the 50s, 60s, and 70s? Yes. But not any more. Certainly not Stiglitz and Krugman.

    Compare that to the institutions and individuals that make entire careers out of smearing Keynes, and who are extremely active on the internet and you begin to see what I mean: shoddy intellectual goods are fairly easy to dislodge with Hayek (today – perhaps not several decades ago) but they are very, very hard to dislodge with Keynes today.

  • When I said “love him” I thought it was obvious I wasn’t talking about a personal relationship with the man Greg!

  • As for specific examples – the Mises Institute and a large share of the Austrian community for one thing. The people that genuinely want to engage Keynes are few and far between. The fact that they are so active on the internet makes it even harder. Just look at the recent Papola videos Greg! Name me a single private educational institution like the Mises Institute that comes anywhere close to being as actively and prolifically anti-Hayek asa LvMI is at being anti-Keynes. Namely a single Keynesian professor that spends as much time distorting Hayek’s position as the average (again – not all – some are good) Austrian affiliated professor spends on Keynes. Name me a single youtube video that tries to frame Hayek in such a bad light.

    Come on Greg – name me one!

    The Keynesians out on the internet that actually write and care about Austrian economics like Barkely Rosser and I are tremendously fairer to the Austrians than the average Austrian that writes about Keynes.

    Do a google blog search on “John Maynard Keynes”, and tell me what percentage of the hits you find that aren’t outright character assasinations (a recent one I came across was one titled “say hello to Hitler and John Maynard Keynes for me, Osama”), or distortions of his work.

    You get your panties in a twist when someone misses a Hayekian methodological point. Try fielding questions about whether Hayek sympathized with the Nazis.

    It’s not even close to being comparable.

    Don’t get me wrong – this is a GOOD THING. I like Hayek. I don’t want him to be smeared or distorted. I want shoddy intellectual goods to be revealed for what they are, even if they’re well intentioned. I’m simply trying to make the point that the internet doesn’t ALWAY reveal shoddy intellectual goods. Soemtimes it encourages them.

    As a fan of Hayek, I’m glad the internet has been a force for good in revealing shoddy intellectual goods.

    As a fan of Keynes, I’m deeply aware that this isn’t always the case.

  • Greg Ransom

    Daniel, I was. clearly referencing KLEIN not Hayek, re Stiglitz and Krugman.

  • Greg Ransom

    If you want to talk Krugman on Hayek, Krugman has said that Hayek
    made NO contribution to economics.

  • Greg Ransom

    Tying Hayek to Hitler is standard fair in some parts of academia …

  • Greg Ransom

    Daniel, first you need to tell me who is distorting Keynes.

    The Papola video distorts Hayek as well, I’m surprised you didn’t notice.

    I like getting the history of economic thought right, one reason I’m a huge fan of folks like David Laidler and Ross Emmett.

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