Market Utopians

by Don Boudreaux on December 27, 2005

in Myths and Fallacies

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Jeffrey Hart makes an argument that I first encountered in John Gray’s work:

At length, the free market triumphed through much of
the world, and today there are very few socialists in major university
economics departments, an almost total transformation since 1953. But
the utopian temptation can turn such free-market thought into a
utopianism of its own — that is, free markets to be effected even
while excluding every other value and purpose …
… such as Beauty, broadly defined [original elipses].

Such a claim reveals a poor knowledge and understanding of economics.  (Among other books that I can recommend to Prof. Hart is Tyler Cowen’s In Praise of Commercial Culture, which clearly explains — using facts and economic reasoning — how markets promote rich cultures, graced with much beauty.)

I would like Profs. Hart or Gray or anyone else to direct me to any work by any respected free-market economist that portrays free markets as utopian.  Perhaps such a work exists.  If so, I’ve yet to encounter it.  If any Cafe Hayek reader knows of such a work, please direct me to it.


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