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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/8667/a-crisis-of-political-economy/

A Crisis of Political Economy

October 1, 2008 by

Today at my Notablog, I posted a rather lengthy tome entitled, “A Crisis of Political Economy,” with lots of links to posts and essays written by my colleagues here at Mises.org. Comments, as always, are welcome.


Anonym October 1, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Wow, Chris Sciabarra posted here. I haven’t seen him on here in almost 3 years.

Michael A. Clem October 1, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Whoa. What a broad, impressive article. Densely packed with lots of references. I especially loved:

The current state and the current banking sector require one another; neither can exist without the other. They are so reciprocally intertwined that each is an extension of the other.


It is not simply that intervention breeds corruption; it’s that corruption is inherent in the process itself.

nazgulnarsil October 1, 2008 at 3:27 pm

I couldn’t agree more. If the liabilities of a corporation are on the balance sheets of the treasury, it is de facto a nationalized company regardless of what you call it.

Billy Beck October 1, 2008 at 3:38 pm

Slammin’, Chris. All the way.

It won’t help, but it should go down in history well.

Dick Fox October 1, 2008 at 4:41 pm

First when you use the word “dialectic” you need to explain which definition you mean. I assume that you mean as Aristotle used the word, but this is easily confused with the way Marx used the word such that one can hold two opposing views at the same time if necessary to achieve a particular outcome. This is one of the most difficult problem I fact when talking with a left wing conservative. Their terms continually change meaning depending on the circumstances (or whether they are winning or losing the argument).

In some instances Hegalian dialectics is useful but the problem is that many believe that it must be always used. There are circumstances where dialectical thinking is no only counter productive but absolutely wrong. It is dialecitical thinking that allows the left wing conservative to support his views of bigger government.

My second concern is the rejection of the word “capitalism.” I at one time began to look for a word better than capitalism but soon determined that it is the very best word. It is like the word gravity. It exists and it cannot be resisted. Whether a government is socialism or Fascist it will always run into the laws of capitalism and that is what makes it fail. Certainly capitalism is an ideal word but that in itself does not detract from its reality. If you violate the laws of capitalism you will suffer consequences. The work of Mises and Hayek was to bring us closer to understanding the laws of capitalism and conforming our systems to these laws to achieve the maximum relief from uneasiness.

Chris Matthew Sciabarra October 1, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Thanks for the comments, folks.

Dick, to quickly address your concerns: By “dialectical thinking,” I mean “the art of context-keeping.” I wrote a short piece for THE FREEMAN that might give you a better idea of where I’m coming from:

Dialectics and Liberty” (pdf document)

I also wrote a trilogy of books on the subject, which you can check out: Marx, Hayek, and Utopia, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, and Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism.

As for use of the word “capitalism”: I have no great objection to using it, as long as one attaches a few descriptive adjectives to it, like “free-market capitalism” or “laissez-faire capitalism.” The problem, unfortunately, is that we live in a world where people still think “free-market capitalism” is what we actually have, and “laissez-faire” is what marked the Bush Years. Hence… the need for writing an essay like mine, today.

I always remember what Hayek said, which has given me pause about the word “capitalism”:

In many ways it is misleading to speak of “capitalism” as though this had been a new and altogether different system which suddenly came into being toward the end of the eighteenth century; we use this term here because it is the most familiar name, but only with great reluctance, since with its modern connotations it is itself largely a creation of that socialist interpretation of economic history with which we are concerned.

steve October 1, 2008 at 7:13 pm

Hope you don,t take this as spam But there’s a new Campaignforliberty.com web site many people there are learning about Ludwig von Mises maybe you can help spread the meassage

Doug Stewart October 1, 2008 at 8:35 pm

The link comes back blank. I tried cutting off the last part so I could find it. However, it seems to be posted where only folks with some password can enter.

Is there any other way to read it?

Patrick October 1, 2008 at 11:18 pm

Yea, Doug S. is right–the blasted link ain’t working!!

Niccolo October 2, 2008 at 7:47 am

This was a great article, but on the whole “capitalism” thing.

If you have to add words like “laissez-faire capitalism” to it, then you are either being redundant, or are using an oxymoron.

Sorry, folks, capitalism, at least as far as I can tell, has always been a pejorative term for “what we got now.”

For example, most people in the US think capitalism is, “what we got here.” Most people in England thought capitalism was, “what we got here.”

If everybody – except apparently a few people with a Randian fetish for the word capitalism – understands a word to mean one thing… well, it means THAT.

Tim Swanson October 2, 2008 at 7:54 am

Doug, Patrick — the link works for me. If you’re still having problems, follow this google search. It is the 3rd one down.

Doug Stewart October 2, 2008 at 9:44 am

I found the link does work on my computer at my office. never mind…

TokyoTom October 2, 2008 at 11:54 am

Nice piece, Chris. I found all of the links worth reading.

I note that Bob Murphy has a link to your piece on his blog.

Anonym October 2, 2008 at 7:03 pm

The direct link wasn’t working on my Windows XP computer yesterday, but the link to the blog worked fine. I was using Firefox 3.

On the other hand my OS X “Leopard” Mac worked without a hitch. I was using Safari 3.

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