Russell Brand made an audacious call for revolution in his New Statesman editorial. I share many of his concerns for the current state of affairs and see that if unchecked we will unfortunately have a revolution. However, I do not see his proposed solution as an effective one. It will lead to a greater tragedy within any society that adopts his well intentioned action. His interview with Jeremy Paxman is informative and entertaining to watch.
I am in the process of reading John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice. What strikes me is his assumption of the world being fixed. That individuals do not change with time as they grow and experience more. His distribution of wealth is similarly fixed in time and is bequeathed by random chance. The purpose of his conception of justice is to nullify “the accidents of natural endowment.”
In a statistical economic framework, individuals maximize their entropy-freedom, based upon the constraints that they are given. When we look at the society from a wider veil of ignorance, one where we as the framers of the society are unable to uniquely identify the individual members, we treat those individuals the same. They have different knowledge, characteristics, and allotment of resources. They act with their full knowledge, the sort that Hayek calls practical knowledge. What is uniform is our ignorance of their specific and uniquely identifiable features. This is very different from Rawls. He assumed that we ignored our ability. We are here allowing it, not denying it. This has some fundamental impacts on the outcome. Continue reading
The short answer is, it depends. But on what? The purpose of this post is to etch out how we can estimate what level of government we need. The recent actions of my government (United States) restricting our civil liberties in the name of security got me thinking about the subject. I ranged from reflecting back on my socialistic youth to contemplating the consequences of anarcho-libertarianism. The answer came contemplating Hayek’s notion of emergent social order and trying to understand why and where that social emergence comes from. Continue reading
In the essay below, I explore the consequences of current energy and environmental policy and suggest an alternative set of solutions based on private property rights to resolve cost externalities and foster innovation. The essay is a little longer than I hoped. It is in two parts, the first identifies the failures in current policy, and the second part identifies how we can implement a more enlightened environmental policy.
Two years ago as part of a class, philosophical issues of sustainability, I wrote a term paper called Rational Sustainability. At the time, I had just finished my derivation of statistical economics while being frustrated at the lack of rigor in microeconomic/macroeconomic theory, I was taking a graduate micro-econ course at the time. I had not yet discovered Austrian economic theory, and as part of my work in deriving statistical economics found Austrian economics and have since come to appreciate it.
The sustainability philosophy class was eye opening for me. The professor on the second day said that he thought we should abandon methodological individualism, MI. His reasoning here was I think due to his need to advance his concept of sustainability, and that by holding on to MI we could not achieve his vision sustainability. It took me a good solid minute to extract my jaw from my desk and to look around the class. I was the only one who was shocked and who saw this as a terrible course of action to seriously consider. I saw it as an abandonment of reason. I see it now as the guarantee of a Malthusian future. My survey of the class has since jaded my outlook on the future of higher education in this country. Continue reading