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The Muscular Hayek

Tweet [1]

Bryan Caplan dismisses [2] Hayek’s contributions as flabby:

I’ve long since lost all patience with Hayek.  His original, true ideas could have been five good blog posts, his errors and bizarre obsessions [3] are numerous, and his writing style insults [4] every person who ever tried to write a decent sentence.

Five blog posts, huh? I guess that’s something like saying Coase only wrote a few good articles. Or only had a few good ideas.

Over the last six years or so, since coming to George Mason and in the last three years since conducting a weekly podcast, I’ve been thinking a great deal about the following ideas:

1. Some orderly things are not intended by anyone [5].

2. The division of labor is limited by the extent of the market.

3. It is easy to fall prey to confirmation bias [6].

4. Politicians respond to incentives [7].

These are pretty simple ideas. When you give people the one sentence version or paragraph version they nod and tell you they agree with the essence of the idea. But I find these ideas to be quite deep. They are easy to understand but very difficult to absorb. The more I think about them, the deeper is my understanding. I give Hayek credit for number 1 on the list. He didn’t invent the idea. But he made me think about it the most.

My advice for Bryan is to have more patience.

Dan Klein’s view is here [8].