Left and Right
SCIABRRC at ACFcluster.NYU.EDU
SCIABRRC at ACFcluster.NYU.EDU
Sun Nov 6 14:52:29 MST 1994
Thanks Tom, for your response to my posting, "Hayek VS.
Hobbes." I am sure that you, and many others, will have
"doubts about [my] interpretation of Hayek." You're
certainly not alone. I have already received critical
commentary from BOTH Marxists AND Hayekians regarding the
disorienting, provocative claims that I make, in my
forthcoming book, MARX, HAYEK, AND UTOPIA (SUNY, August 1995)
[sorry for the promo].
Nevertheless, just a few comments with regard to some of
the questions you raise:
You compare Hayek and Nietzsche in terms of their
"reactionary viewpoint vis socialism." I leave for another
time, whether we should be identifying the "reactionary" with
opposition to socialism. Nevertheless, you may, in fact, be
correct that Hayek has elements of a "cultural" rather than
"economic" determinism in his thought. But for Hayek, this
is "culture" VERY loosely defined. I would simply say that
Hayek is more of a "social" determinist, with the "social"
incorporating cultural, economic, and political factors in
their organic conjunction. He is far more "dialectical" than
I DO accept that human nature is "socially determined"
in a broad sense, but, with Marx, I believe that there are
things about "human nature" that are of a "species-
character." And with Dennis Wrong I would say, that we
should not replace "homo economicus" with an oversocialized
conception of man or woman. There are human characteristics
which are ontological, and those which are historically
specific. To reify the "historically specific" as
"ontological" is one kind of error; but it is also an error
to reify the "ontological" as "historically specific." For
Hayek, this is precisely what many in the Marxist tradition
have done: they historicize certain basic epistemic
strictures, and seem to postulate a degree of social efficacy
for future humanity that flies in the face of all reality.
As for the question: "How then do you answer the
critique that market relations corrupt whatever state
regulator is posited as correcting the markets' inegalitarian
tendencies? Aren't the dangers of such corruption equal if
not worse to those within a bureaucratic system?"
With Hayek, I would agree that state regulators do NOT
correct market `inequities.' First, I do not believe that
there can ever be such a thing as "perfect equality" in this
world. It is quite possible that a purer market system COULD
be more mobile, and thus, challenge the entrenchment of
various economic elites. Historically, however, there never
was such a pure market system. And, in the 19th century when
there was a "freer" market than there is today, rivalrous
competitors sought to end their continuous dynamic
instability, by seeking to establish POLITICAL control over
their specific industries. As Gabriel Kolko and a whole
generation of New Left revisionist historians have shown, it
is out of their FAILURE to establish monopoly on a freer
market that industrial interests commenced, cooperated in,
and sustained the movement toward regulation FOR THEIR
BENEFIT. Cartelization was a product of federal
intervention. The neocorporate state was a product of the
incestuous relationship between business, labor, and
So, I would say that it is not that "market relations
corrupt" state regulators; I would say that state regulation
IN ITS INCEPTION is NEVER designed for democratic purposes.
It MUST benefit certain groups at the expense of other
groups, and at the expense of the vast majority. THIS is
what Hayek warned against--NOT "socialism" per se, but STATE
CAPITALISM, which he believed was the "road to serfdom."
As for "democratic planning" resulting in "bureaucracy,"
I do not believe that Hayek dismissed this notion "because it
happened in the Soviet Union." Nor would I dismiss the
notion for these reasons. With Hayek and with most
libertarians, I can only say that in the history of the
world, I have NEVER seen "democratic planning." IF it is
established in conjunction with the state, it is NOT
democratic (there's the ANARCHIST in me talking). And if it
is established in the absence of any market or free flowing
price mechanism, it is NOT planning; it will be calculational
Just as many conservatives have paid lip-service to the
"free market," only to endorse reactionary, neofascistic
controls and regulations on the economy and theocratic
controls on our bedrooms, so many socialists have paid lip-
service to "democracy," only to endorse the Leviathan state.
Out with the scoundrels on both the right and the left! It
is time for a new integration.
P.S. - Thanks for the Lukac's reference.
Dr. Chris M. Sciabarra
Visiting Scholar, N.Y.U. Department of Politics
INTERNET: sciabrrc at acfcluster.nyu.edu
BITNET: sciabrrc at nyuacf
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