A Blank Spot on the Map

Tuesday, September 22, 2009



Sunday, September 13, 2009

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave! ... and the stupid

Charles Darwin film 'too controversial for religious America'

A British film about Charles Darwin has failed to find a US distributor because his theory of evolution is too controversial for American audiences, according to its producer.

God, if you do exist why'd you let us evolve to be so stupid???

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

From Cafe Hayek “Social Justice” and “Income Distribution”

Benn Steil’s and Manuel Hinds’s Money, Markets & Sovereignty is among the most impressive books that I’ve read in a long time. I quoted from it in an earlier post, and I’m sure that I’ll do so in several other posts — including this one:

Most wealth is created de novo in the process of applying ingenuity to comparatively worthless commodities, and the benefits flowing from consumers to providers in a free society bear no relation to any distributive or merit-based calculus. There can exist no principles of just conduct – which necessarily imply free choice – that would produce a pattern of wealth distribution which could also be called just. It is logically impossible to have a game in which both the actions of the players and the final score can be subject to rules of fairness. If it is unfair for one team to outscore another by more than a certain margin, the behavior of the players will have to be directed by the umpires. But if the players are to be free to act within rules of fair play, the outcome logically cannot be said to be unfair. Likewise, if citizens following all the rules of just conduct become wealthy, there is no basis on which to condemn the resulting distribution of wealth as “unjust.” If no one actually commits an injustice, then no moral principle can reconcile justice to individuals with social justice after the fact. Only in centrally directed social systems, such as the military, can social justice even make sense, as there are no rules of just conduct in settings where individuals are instructed what to do.

(From p. 53 of Steil and Hinds; original emphasis.)

Cafe Hayek

I read this passage over and over. I think I get his point but I'm still not sure. However, I believe what he is saying is you can't set up markets fairly and have just outcomes. I believe it is indeed a brilliant truism.

The fault of it is that YOU can set up fair rules and have MORE just outcomes. The false premise is that the outcomes must be equal or equally just.

James K Galbraith in his book, The Predator State resolves the issue. "The setting of wages and the control of the distribution of pay and incomes is a social and not a market decision."