Wednesday, March 20, 2013

O Cruel Fate!

O cruel fate!  The  assignment that history appears to have reserved for the Austrian School of economics  is the mission of hypocritically -- in the name of freedom -- defending rule by an oligarchy.  Much the same ideological role as the one played in the late unlamented Soviet Union by the “politburo Marxism” diligently churned out by the yard by professional Communist ideologues/propagandists.  Dear comrade Mikhail Suslov! Where are you now?

And not on account of too much planning, but rather on account of control of government policy by powerful interest groups and constant duping of the population by new bogus reformers to replace the previous bogus reformers.  So WTF?

I concede that certain Austrian arguments are persuasive. However  insofar as they are misused in order to defend the present rule of corrupt oligarchies, they lack all credibility and should be ignored. No conceivable economic system could be less efficient than the US  economy right now (2010). I do not for an instant believe that Austrian School arguments make a damn bit of difference in practice.   

Those who brand government planning coercive should enquire further into which segments of society benefits by the current dispensaysh, or perhaps who has the motive to impel such coercion. At this point, however, the Austrians prudently adjourn the debate. Those who brand government planning inefficient must also brand as inefficient the current squalid, higgledy-piggledy and corrupt manner of setting policy at the dictate of a tiny oligarchy of billionaires.   

However, I have not noticed much of that on Austrian websites.  

Once, in a magnificent display of my rapier wit, I termed the Austrian School a ”necessary evil”. What I meant by that is that there must always be a sector of opinion that is opposed to government as such. An anti-state ideology represents a fairly clear political choice. The Austrians’ lack of subtlety has the benefit of permitting their doctrine to be packaged in few and powerful words. "We need no government, or as little as  possible.” I think it is a great help for the ongoing discussion on the role of the state that such a faction exists. The Austrian School is a guidepost, a compass that defines one extreme of political philosophy. As such it is a structural necessity, since it constitutes part of the definition of the political sphere.  

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