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John Quiggin

In the end the social democrats delivered decades of full employment, and became the strongest force for liberalism (in the Mill rather than Locke sense). The supporters of free markets have been the first to embrace authoritarianism when it is on their side - Hayek being the clearest example.

Eric Schliesser

I don't think your claim is right. I don't deny that there is a recurring temptation (it's visible in physiocrats, utilitarians, and, yes, alas Hayek) that at times the benevolent dictator seems attractive to economists (of various stripes). But for every Hayek there is an Eucken. For every Chicago boy there is a Gerhard Tintner.


On a non-substantive note, Eric, how do you find reading _Open Society_? I ask because, a couple of years ago, I picked up _The Poverty of Historicism_, which I thought I'd enjoy reading given some interests of mine, and found it just unbearably dull and impossible to get in to. I gave it a few tries, but only got about 25 pages because I just kept finding it so unpleasant to read. Did OS seem at least minimally readable to you, or is it just a slog?

Eric Schliesser

Hi Matt,
Open Society is not boring/dull! It is sprawling, digressive, polemical, creative, uncharitable, badly edited, and some of the major arguments are dispersed in footnotes that refer to each other chapters apart. But it is really packed with insights, and even many of the unfair and badly argued dogmatic claims, are worth reflecting on. And every so often there is just a gem of a page. It's also crazy topical.
Even so, I find it hard to read in one go. And I admit to having skipped a few discursive footnotes. I think it is perfect for certain department reading groups, but almost irresponsible to teach to undergrads (I feel that way about Nietzsche, too).


Thanks, Eric - I may give it (or parts of it) a go if I can find an inexpensive used copy.


adam tooze on soros, investment, and open society might be on interest:

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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