Peaceniks for Capitalism

passions-and-the-interestsSince at least Adam Smith, the claim that we are most familiar with in favor of capitalism is that it leads to prosperity. In this delightful collection of three essays, Hirschman tells the story of an older claim—that capitalism leads to peace. The argument behind the claim is that the general expansion of commerce and economic development gives people greater opportunities to pursue their interests and that would in turn put a check their unruly passions–such as anger, resentment, and intolerance.  Continue reading

India’s Tryst With Destiny

India's Tryst with DestinyThis book by Columbia University economists Bhagwati and Panagariya—two high profile advocates of liberal economic reform in India—has two goals. One is to provide a detailed rebuttal of criticisms put forth by the opponents of liberal reforms. The second is to put forth a manifesto for further liberal reforms to address country-wide malnutrition, poor provision of social services (healthcare and education), deficient infrastructure, and the expropriation of land of the poor. Continue reading

“Fail Early and Often.”

ImageMegan McCardle, a libertarian blogger and columnist, argues that failures are inevitable in life due to the inability of humans to predict and control events. For example, most Hollywood insiders had thought that the movie Titanic was going to be a box office disaster. It went on to be one of the greatest hit of all times. The New Coke, on the other hand, was expected to be a success (Never heard of the New Coke? Exactly her point.) Continue reading

The Road to Serfdom

Road_to_SerfdomThe upcoming academic conference  at my college finally got me around to reading the unabridged version of The Road to Serfdom. One need not buy wholesale its central argument–economic planning leads to totalitarianism–to benefit from it. It makes one think harder about how a society’s political system would be be affected by the economic system that one advocates and the means of achieving it.  Continue reading