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The Muscular Hayek

Posted By Russ Roberts On December 14, 2009 @ 2:33 pm In Complexity & Emergence | Comments Disabled

Bryan Caplan dismisses [1] 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 [2] are numerous, and his writing style insults [3] 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 [4].

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

3. It is easy to fall prey to confirmation bias [5].

4. Politicians respond to incentives [6].

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 [7].

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Article printed from Cafe Hayek: http://cafehayek.com

URL to article: http://cafehayek.com/2009/12/the-muscular-hayek.html

URLs in this post:

[1] dismisses: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2009/12/two_takes_on_ha.html

[2] bizarre obsessions: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2006/02/from_the_quaint.html

[3] insults: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2007/06/why_oh_why_cant_1.html

[4] Some orderly things are not intended by anyone: http://www.amazon.com/Price-Everything-Parable-Possibility-Prosperity/dp/0691143358/ref=tmm_pap_title_0/invisiblehear-20

[5] It is easy to fall prey to confirmation bias: http://www.amazon.com/Fooled-Randomness-Taleb-Nassim-Nicholas/dp/B001SC9G5O/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260818889&sr=1-4

[6] Politicians respond to incentives: http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2007/Robertspolitics.html

[7] here: http://www.cato-unbound.org/2009/12/11/daniel-b-klein/liberty-between-the-lines-in-a-modernist-age/

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