Did I ruffle a few feathers? :)

jones/bhandari djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Thu Sep 21 03:06:17 MDT 1995


>  But I fully recognize that many who
>oppose welfare today are worse than social darwinists.  They want to
>throw "welfare queens" off the welfare rolls, but offer no understanding
>whatsoever of the origins of poverty, and propose NOTHING to alter the
>structural imperfections in the social economy that generate such
>poverty.

But Chris the question is not what you fully recognize (you seem indeed to
be a nice guy).  And the question is also not whether someone proposes
SOMETHING to alter the structural imperfections.

The question is here what would Hayek offer and the social consequences and
potential effectiveness of the Hayekian medicine.

In particular, the question is what the effect would be of higher interest
rates and lower wages at this stage in capitalist development.

>Yes, welfare causes dependency -- including corporate welfare,
>by the way -- but you simply can't abstract the welfare problem from the
>wider totality in any search for solutions.

Is it really that simple: welfare=dependence?  Is it not possible that
welfare allows workers to bargain tougher with their bosses, that it
enables autonomy to some extent?  Even libertarians must at times recognize
the coercive power of bosses to fire workers.

As for Chris' analysis of the price mechanism in generalized commodity
production;the Hayekian discovery of the epistemic constraints on the very
possibility of central planning; and the analysis of business cycles and
economic crisis, I will of course have to do much work before I can take on
whom Lenin would have doubtless called a most civilized philistine
(Hayek,that is). And I do think that as Marxists we are obligated to
criticize important bourgeois thinkers to the best of our ability.  So I
welcome Chris' presence on this list.

As I look through the short chapters in Ben Seligman's Main Currents in
Modern Economics, I must say that I am given much hope by the fact that
Hayek, Schumpeter and Keynes seem to be the best the bourgeoisie can come
up with.

Rakesh



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