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Re: Hayekians vs. Libertarians\

[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
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> to a second person) on reading the extract above was this :  What kind
of > "liberty" does an individual seek ?  Is it the same "liberty" that a
> zero-government society may provide ?  I think not.  Individual

It is hard to define what "liberty" is but I am particularly attracted to
the classical liberal definition of liberty as the absence of (the threat
of)force. By force, I mean physical violence or physical force as would be
exercised by a murderer or mugger. This definition has the advantage that
it makes no assumptions about the likes and dislikes of individuals (or
groups of individuals). It also has the advantage that it presents an
ideal that one can atleast hope to approach through concrete measures. 
> can take multifarious forms.  I would venture to say that in the world as 
> is, there are millions of individuals whose vision of "liberty" does not 
> feature a government in any way.  An individual seeks "liberty" from 
> "oneself" (including ones past), from ones immediate environment, from ones 
> nightmares, and knowingly or not even from ones dreams.  An individual 
> gravitates towards the percieved happiness of a butterfly's flittering 
> wings. A utopia you say.  But a utopia that is within the mental reach of an 
> individual in a society : no government, or all government.

  Can the masses  feel a lightness of being in a society of surging stock 
> markets ? Can thinkerslike Hayek and Rand provide answers for INDIA ?

Hayek (and less so Rand) can(and have) provide(d) some answers for India. 
This they have done by giving us insight into how markets are organized. 
This is important in itself but more so if we seek to improve upon the
market results. The one insight of Hayek which I find to be of most
relevance to India is the one concerning the relationship of markets to
knowledge. Markets provide people with incentives to 1)discover new
knowledge 2)develop means to verify/authenticate that knowledge
3)dissiminate that knowledge to the right people and to do all this in the
most efficient manner. I must add a caveat at this point. I am not an
economist(but rather a physicist) and no expert on Hayek's thought. I hope
some of the professional economists will be kind enough to inform me of my
misunderstanding of Hayek.

> happiness is not industrialization.  Can't feed the millions - we didnt have 
> the unfeedable millions before.  Loss of sovereignity - that I cannot argue 
> with, loss of sovereignity as a society has tremendously mitigating effect 
> on individual "liberty", if a society has to be governed, better to be 
> "self" governed.  Need to develop the thought behind this last possibility a 
> bit more.

I cannot accept sunil's rejection of modernity. The fact is that in
material terms we are all better of today. If somebody isn't happy then he
is at liberty to reject society and head for the hills. But to make sure
that they can do that we need to have some system of porperty rights to
ensure that when he gets to his green pastures it has not been usurped by
a bunch of thugs(or policemen). 

> The end of social experimentation is nowhere in sight.  Various models of 
> society have been tried in the past few centuries, and Hayek and co. have 
> stood on the shoulders of dead giants of the european industrial society, 
> but is their vision the only vision ?  Should a society be organized solely 
> on industrial methodologies ? How dramatically will the social pressures in 
> India change if the society decides to opt out of the industrial race ? Can 
> a subcontinent teach a lesson to the world that a Himalayan plateau has been 
> prevented from expressing ?
The permise of the questions is problematic. We are not free to
restructure society as we please ( atleast in a lasting way). Markets are
the natural way of solving the "knowledge Problem" and any improvement (or
rejection) on it will succeed to the extent that it can solve the
knowledge problem better.


Abhijit Sarkar
320 Wisconsin Ave
Oak Park, Il

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