Fakes and Flakes: Libertarian Economics
by, Jul 30 2012 at 12:46 PM (184 Views)
One recommends the offering by Tilman (2001, Ideology and Utopia in the Social Philosophy of the Libertarian Economists, London: Greenwood Press). Here's some background info via Toruño's (2002, Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 36 Issue 1, pp 211-213) book review:
"The Libertarians, Tilman argues, are driven by a vision of society that is so unrealistic that it can only be defined as utopian, while at the same time providing such elaborate rationalizations for the distribution of material privilege that one has no choice but to define them as ideological. What's more, and contrary to their professed commitment to freedom and democracy, the Libertarians are actually elitists who are unsympathetic to majority rule, hostile to political movements that push for the expansion of civil rights, and predisposed to support right-wing dictatorships...Perhaps his most damaging criticism is that Hayek's and Friedman's "road-to-serfdom" thesis is imprecise, tautological, and inaccurate. Both of them argue that expanding government beyond the minimal, night watchman, functions, would have the effect of eroding economic freedom and, consequently, all the other freedoms they believe depend upon it. But the problem with this argument is that they never specify the thesis by making it amenable to empirical testing. At what point does government expansion begin to erode freedom?...The most delicious part of this book is when Tillman turns the tables on the Libertarians by exploring the role which self-interest has served in their own lives. After all, since Libertarians insist that behavior must be explained in terms of self-interest, the same should apply to them. Yet, when explaining their own motives they often claim that they're driven by a sense of civic duty, desire to influence public policy, or aesthetic pleasure, suggesting that self-interest applies to everyone but the Libertarians. But a more telling inference can be made by noting that the lucrative fellowships, grants, and endowed chairs in free market economics are overwhelmingly funded by wealthy individuals, conservative foundations, and rightwing corporations."
Fancy yourself to be a libertarian? Try and avoid the internet Austrian wannabe sites!