Posted by: Dirk | May 2, 2009

Why I am not a neo-liberal

Bertrand Russell, preface to Why I am not a Christian, 1957, p. xxiv:

We are sometimes told that only fanaticism can make a social group effective. I think this is totally contrary to the lessons of history. But, in any case, only those who slavishly worship success can think that effectiveness is admirable without regard to what is effected. For my part, I think it is better to do little good than to do much harm. The world that I should wish to see would be one freed from the virulence of group hostilities and capable of realising that happiness for all is to be derived rather from co-operation than from strife. I should wish to see a world in which education aimed at mental freedom rather than at imprisoning the minds of the young in a rigid armour of dogma calculated to protect them through life against the shafts of impartial evidence. The world needs open hearts and open minds, and it is not through rigid systems, whether old or new, that these can be derived.

This was written half a century ago against the dogma of the time, Christianity. It might as well serve as a rebuttal of Neo-liberalism, the ideology that a) markets always work with b) no intervention from government and c) that market outcomes are efficient, and the problem of distribution is of no importance – being a loser in a market would only increase incentives to better use markets.

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