Thursday, 21 July 2011

Encyclopedia Rothbardia

One reason for my great love and respect for Murray Rothbard is as follows: he was such a prolific writer, he pretty much covered everything. A true polymath, he wrote volumes of straight history, economic history, economics, history of economic thought, political journalism, film reviews, etc etc. For this reason, whenever I am confronted with something or someone I don't know, all I have to do is type 'Murray Rothbard' and the name of the thing or person into a search engine, and nine times out of ten I'll get at least a reference, if not an essay on the subject.

The example that sparked this post was something Sunny Hundal wrote:
There are two broad elements to Blue Labour. One is economic: it draws on the work of Karl Polanyi and is very much in line with traditions of Labour thinking : it says New Labour commodified people and public services too much, and started treated people like consumers rather than citizens.

Karl Polanyi, eh? Hoodat? I use the above formula, and top of the search engine page is a link to Mises Daily and an unpublished memo: "Down with Primitivism: a thorough critique of Polyani", which starts:
Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation is a farrago of confusions, absurdities, fallacies, and distorted attacks on the free market. The temptation is to engage in almost a line-by-line critique. I will abjure this to first set out some of the basic philosophic and economic flaws, before going into some of the detailed criticisms.

One basic philosophic flaw in Polanyi is a common defect of modern intellectuals—a defect which has been rampant since Rousseau and the Romantic Movement: Worship of the Primitive....
I recognise that I still have to think for myself, and shouldn't merely drink in Rothbard's wit and wisdom without engaging my own critical factulties, but as a source of information, he's a one-man encyclopedia.

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