Would Hayek Have Approved Obamacare?

George Mason's Erik Angner on the libertarian economist's mostly unacknowledged support for redistribution.

Would Friedrich Hayek - the Nobel-winning economist who inspired Margaret Thatcher's free-market reforms and is a hero to libertarians everywhere - have supported Obamacare?

"He would have been in favor of mandates," George Mason University philosophy professor Erik Angner tells Reason's Nick Gillespie. "The first thing to know about Hayek is that he was actually for redistribution," continues the author of 2007's Hayek and Natural Law.

While stressing Hayek's aversion to top-down economic planning and governmental interference with the price system, the Swedish-born scholar nonetheless points to works such as The Road to Serfdom and The Constitution of Liberty in which Hayek flatly endorses a publicly provided social safety net and, like another free-market intellectual giant, Milton Friedman, discusses a guaranteed minimum income.

In a controversial Politco op-ed published in 2012, Angner wrote that while Britain's National Health System and the price-rigging elements of Obamacare violate Hayekian principles, creating an individual mandate and giving poor Americans some amount of money to spend on health care as they see fit does not. To Angner, vouchers for health care would function similarly to vouchers for education, helping to create stronger market forces and spurring the sort of competition that would lead to a more efficient and robust system.

"You can be for markets without being against redistribution," says Angner, who argues that Hayek thus offers a true alternative to contemporary liberals and leftists on the one hand and libertarians and conservatives on the other.

Produced by Amanda Winkler. Camera by Meredith Bragg and Amanda Winkler. 

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  • Max||

    Thanks for the article. Which is why Hayek is no libertarian and inspired nothing but confusion.

    Meanwhile, Libertarian OPERATION DIGNITY is changing the paradigm. For info on people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues worldwide, please see the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization @ http://www.Libertarian-International.org ....

  • $park¥||

    non-partisan Libertarian

    Seriously?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Yeah, how dare they not vote GOP!

  • $park¥||

    Uh, you're not too bright, are you?

  • SugarFree||

    I think this has been infinitely established.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I won't consider libertarians a partisan political party until someone wins something at the national level.

    Face it, libertarianism is very popular in theory but in reality we/they vote D/R.

  • $park¥||

    I won't consider libertarians a partisan political party

    Would you like a cookie?

  • Michael S. Langston||

    I think he just doesn't know what the word partisan means...

  • JWatts||

    And is too lazy to look it up apparently, but not too lazy to post about it.

  • ||

    Can it be some of Zeb's Al Qaeda brand bacon-maple OBL-shaped cookies?

  • Atanarjuat||

    He also looks like a metrosexual pansy when he shoots skeet.

  • Paul.||

    While stressing Hayek's aversion to top-down economic planning and governmental interference with the price system, the Swedish-born scholar nonetheless points to works such as The Road to Serfdom and The Constitution of Liberty in which Hayek flatly endorses a publicly provided social safety net and, like another free-market intellectual giant, Milton Friedman, discusses a guaranteed minimum income.

    I have not read much from Hayek, but a social safety net has little to do with mandates such as the one foisted upon us by Obamacare.

    Oh, and most people in this country have a guaranteed minimum income. If you're chronically unemployed and homeless, you're eligible for a check from the government, period.

    So the question then becomes one of degree.

  • ||

    Friedman discussed a minimum income but I always read that as a "IF you're going to have a safety net, THIS is the most effective and efficient way to administer it."

    That's very different from endorsing a safety net in and of itself.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yes, he was explicit in stating that.

  • Paul.||

    I haven't read Milton's discussion on that, but I'd bet you're exactly right, and that sounds like something Milton would write.

    I'm not the angryiest libertarian, but I'm pretty cranky, and I support social safety nets. But there is a way to administer them without diminishing the rights and freedoms of society at large. There are ways of organizing them so they don't become cesspools of corruption and graft.

    Unfortunately, that takes the politics out of safety nets, and when you take the politics out of the safety net, well, politicians get jumpy.

  • ||

    I mean, I oppose government safety nets since they are funded with stolen goods.

    But that doesn't mean that I go around trying to keep their administration as shitty as possible. I consistantly promote the idea that the best kind of help for the poor is the most direct kind. Give them cash and let them decide what their most pressing needs are. If they choose to gamble it, and spend it on hookers and blow...fine.

  • DarrenM||

    Only government-sponsored hookers, though.

  • JWatts||

    "IF you're going to have a safety net, THIS is the most effective and efficient way to administer it."

    But what if stupid people make stupid decisions? No, it's our moral obligation to tell everyone what to do, in detail, for their own good.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    No.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I maintain that Hayek's Guaranteed Minimum Income is a better idea than any of the currently operating Welfare State programs.

  • ||

    Yeah, but unfortunately, like with Friedman's NIT and withheld wages scheme, it is easy for the statists to twist those things into something that only enhances the welfare state.

  • T o n y||

    How is a guaranteed minimum income not a by-definition component of a welfare state?

  • wareagle||

    every system of representative self-rule is going to have some aspect of welfare. The question is how much. Any just society tends to the least among it. But it takes an evil one to make dependency a generational lifestyle.

  • Ghetto Slovak Goatherder||

    Any just society, sure. But not any just government, in my view.

  • T o n y||

    Since the US has one of the stingiest welfare states in the industrialized world, surely you're not referring to any phenomenon happening here.

  • Paul.||

    Since the US has one of the stingiest welfare states in the industrialized world, surely you're not referring to any phenomenon happening here

    Correction, we're less welfare state-ey than Europe. That doesn't make us stingy, it makes us more robust. Otherwise, the least stingiest welfare state (Greece) would be kicking ass right now.

  • T o n y||

    The presence or size of a welfare state is not correlated to countries' current economic performance. The level of austerity policy does though. (The more, the worse off.)

  • DrAwkward||

    You are a real empty vessel, huh? The ruling class's wet dream, you and your ilk.

  • ||

    The presence or size of a welfare state is not correlated to countries' current economic performance.

    Citation needed.

  • T o n y||

    You first. Yours is the sillier claim. Modern welfare states have existed for many decades, during periods of strong economic growth and during massive recessions. To blame welfare states for the current condition of modern economies is self-serving bullshit.

  • Paul.||

    My citation: Greece. The reason Greece embarked on Austerity (laugh) programs is because their economy went into the dumper. To suggest that Greece's need for austerity sprang forth from the weeds during a robust time in their economy is to be willfully stupid.

    Europe went into the crapper just as it was predicted they would, because of their profligate spending. They went into the crapper, then you blame their current woes on the weak-tea austerity that was put into place to remedey what was already broken?

    Interesting chain of logic there.

  • T o n y||

    Europe went into the crapper because there was a global recession caused by the collapse of a bubble in the US housing market.

  • Paul.||

    Europe went into the crapper because there was a global recession caused by the collapse of a bubble in the US housing market.

    Which a welfare state can't weather. Because they had been spending money they didn't have for years. Their immune system was trashed.

  • T o n y||

    That's another positive claim for which the burden of proof is on you (the claim that the recession would have been smaller without welfare states). It's also self-serving and contrary to historical evidence. Recessions were deeper and more frequent prior to the invention of the modern welfare state (which keeps government spending relatively stable, propping up GDP during downturns).

    Now the only correlation that is happening is that countries cutting the most spending are the ones suffering the worst economic performance. Europe is doing worse than the US and the only factor that seems to be relevant is that the US did a lot of stimulus spending and Europe tried the austerity policies you guys advocate. I know it's not convenient for you.

  • Sam Grove||

    Europe tried the austerity policies you guys advocate.

    Please support this assertion with citation.

    Did European countries reduce spending AND taxes? Not a reduction in the rate of increase, but an actual reduction of both factors relative to the years before "austerity".

  • T o n y||

    Austerity by definition includes reductions in spending and tax hikes. The point is to reduce debt. What you're advocating is nobody's serious theory, once aptly called voodoo economics.

  • DarrenM||

    Austerity by definition includes reductions in spending and tax hikes.

    Do you have an official definition you can point to? It seems to me all 'austerity' means is that the entity in question is not spending as much as you would like them to. Is this term in any Economics text book in use at any major university at this time?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Europe went into the crapper because there was a global recession caused by the collapse of a bubble in the US housing market

    And this is what typically happens when a massive, self-serving bureaucracy runs smack into the reality that economic downturns cannot be managed away.

    When an economy is growing rapidly, then the waste, fraud, duplication, inefficiency and bloat go unnoticed because tax revenues and the budget are rising even faster than the bloat and inefficiency. The problem arises when tax revenues fall. Then the bureaucratic impulse to never-ending growth is stymied, and the various bureaucracies turn inward as they muster their forces to wage internecine warfare with other protected fiefdoms

    http://www.oftwominds.com/blog.....12-10.html

  • ||

    You made the claim, you provide supporting data.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Modern welfare states have existed for many decades, during periods of strong economic growth and during massive recessions.

    And states without modern welfare systems existed for centuries and underwent the same cycles.

    To blame welfare states for the current condition of modern economies is self-serving bullshit.

    Blaming free-market capitalism for the same thing is equally self-serving bullshit.

  • KPres||

    To blame welfare states for the current condition of modern economies is self-serving bullshit.

    The fucking housing bubble was a result of government trying to engineer social welfare, which incidentally, shows that welfare spending alone doesn't capture the costs of the welfare state, since much of it is brought about through regulation and controls that don't actually register as outlays, yet still carry a social cost.

  • T o n y||

    Zombie self-serving Republican revisionist bullshit. You gotta get outside the bubble.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    I'll remember that the next time some lefty cites Scandinavia as proof that you can be a socialist paradise AND be economically robust.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    How is a guaranteed minimum income not a by-definition component of a welfare state?


    Because welfare does not mean income. You can keep a poor person in a cage with a small plaque that states factoids habitat, and feed him for the rest of his life. No money involved there.

  • OldMexican||

    that would be factoids like habitat, etc.

    I press the wrong button...

  • Paul.||

    There's a difference between a state having a welfare system, and the state becoming a welfare state.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Subtracting the old-age entitlement programs our welfare system is very small at $150-200 billion of $15 trillionish GDP.

  • Paul.||

    That's probably true. I'm not sure I postulated that our welfare state was totally driven by old-age entitlement programs. Although with the looming of Medicare Part D, I'm thinking those numbers are going to start changing dramatically.

  • Brett Rose||

    Actually medicaid alone is 250 billion dollars. TANF is about another 20 billion. Rounding out the other various programs I would guess sans medicare/ss it is around 300 to 350 billion in total. That means your average family of 4 is coughing up about 4 grand in taxes to support the welfare system annually. That is hardly chump change.

  • R C Dean||

    How do you figure, Butts? I get north of $1.3TT in spending last year on SocSec and Medicare.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I said subtract that $1.3T.

    "Welfare", to me - is unearned thus I won't feel guilt when and if I collect SS.

  • ||

    He's saying our welfare state is small when you leave those programs out.

    Although his numbers are wrong since Medicaid spending is about $400b a year.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Medicaid is primarily old age and children (88% to be exact).

  • Rhino||

    is Medicaid earned like you said SS is? The only two you could say that for are SS and Medicare, which are taken out of your paycheck while you're working to pay for expenses when you are retired.

  • #||

    I think your number is off even if you get rid of the old age programs:

    Foodstamps: $73 billion

    SS Disability $85 billion (in 2005)

    Medicaid spending: $398 billion (2011)

    if you include the earned income tax credit, which is just a transfer payment that's pretty big too - add head start, heating programs, HUD, pell grants/ student loans, there's a lot in there plus state level programs.

  • #||

    Unemployment insurance was also $320 billion in 2010

  • ||

    You didn't even include TANF which is $17b a year.

    There's a LOT of programs out there that constitute the welfare state/social safety net and a lot of them do occur at the state level.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I counted only food stamps, TANF, and direct housing payments (HUD).

  • ||

    Ummmmm unemployment insurance is a HUGE safety net item, pretty silly not to count it.

  • ||

    I find the Debt Clock mesmerizing.

  • Paul.||

    I find the Debt Clock mesmerizing.

    More accurate than the doomsday clock.

  • kinnath||

    My company recently announced that our insurance package will not be available next year and we are switching to a high-deductible program with a health savings account. This is direct reaction to the "Cadillac tax" on high-end insurance packages.

    Anyone that equates Obamacare to a social safety net is a fucking idiot. Obamacare is a straight-up, robin-hood rob-from-the-rich give-to-the-poor wealth transfer program.

  • kinnath||

    In reality, obamacare is mostly a rob-from-the-young and give-to-the-old kind of program, but the well-off are targets too.

  • R C Dean||

    obamacare is mostly a rob-from-the-young and give-to-the-old kind of program,

    Which pretty much means its a rob-from-the-poor, give-to-the-rich type of deal.

  • Paul.||

    Booya.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    "Which pretty much means its a rob-from-the-poor, give-to-the-rich type of deal."

    Except for the first few years of the program the penalty for not having insurance will be a lot cheaper than buying insurance for the young and healthy. If enough young people opt out and decide to pay the penalty, then you will mostly have the old and sick in the insurance pool. In that situation the old will see their insurance rates skyrocket.

  • sarcasmic||

    They did that to me last year. Doesn't cover shit and costs more. A few things came up and now I've got several thousand dollars worth of medical bills that I'm sending a check to every month. Party on!

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    How in the hell can a HDHP cost more? That's whack.

  • Atanarjuat||

    Maybe it (apparently) costs more for the worker, since the payments are made by the employer, pre-tax, and not seen by the worker either way?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    They're on the W2, now.

    They could be making him pay (explicitly rather than implicitly) more of the premium. That's still whack.

    I'm still not clear on whether HDHPs are going to survive the coverage and minimum spending coverage provisions of this fiasco.

  • R C Dean||

    Total (employer + employee premium), seems unlikely. But not impossible for a given plan, if it was going from a stingy/cheap plan AND had a bad claims history last year, etc.

    For a given employee, if they are spending down their deductible, yeah, their out-of-pocket total is likely to go up.

  • ||

    We just switched from an HMO plan to a HDHP and the company is very transparent about how much they subsidize the premiums of both.

    The HDHP was thousands of dollars cheaper and thus the company picked up the entire premium if you switched to it. We took the money we would have paid as a premium for the HMO and are using that to fund the HSA.

  • R C Dean||

    now I've got several thousand dollars worth of medical bills that I'm sending a check to every month.

    You really know how to warm a fella's heart, don't you?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: kinnath,

    Anyone that equates Obamacare to a social safety net is a fucking idiot.


    Oh, nobody is saying that! No, the morally-bankrupt and economics-illiterate left says that healthcare is a right, so we must enslave the doctors like ants enslave aphids!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Healthcare is certainly no right. Only an idiot would say that.

    They could say that it should be furnished by the government and not be an idiot (just a Big Gov Progressive if so).

  • Atanarjuat||

    Healthcare is certainly no right. Only an idiot would say that.

    Thank you, Weigel. For once we agree. If I am one of those guys who does a solo around the world sailing trip, and develops appendicitis 10,000 miles from anywhere, are my rights being violated if a massive combination of military refueling tankers and Coast Guard choppers don't send a free surgeon out to operate on me?

  • Paul.||

    Healthcare is certainly no right. Only an idiot would say that.

    We agree again, Shrike.

    Cats chasing dogs..

    OBAMA: Well, I think it should be a right for every American. In a country as wealthy as ours, for us to have people who are going bankrupt because they can't pay their medical bills --

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....32831.html

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I agree with Obama since I deny that the phony concept of "natural rights" even exist.

    So our rights are defined by law and if healthcare someday becomes a right then so be it.

    But currently free state provided healthcare is not a right.

    SHOULD h/c be a right? That is a different discussion.

  • $park¥||

    I real hero of freedom you are.

  • Paul.||

    I agree with Obama since I deny that the phony concept of "natural rights" even exist.

    Natural rights do exist, they're usually poorly explained, and unfortunately often put into religious terms.

    Natural rights are things that cannot be taken from you, or better said, exist in the absence of government.

    Sans government, I have a right to free speech and a right to bear arms.

    But with government, those rights can only be protected or curbed.

    Privileges, or what were formerly referred to "positive rights" must be granted. The right to free birth control, the right to modern healthcare-- those things don't exist without government. Those things must be granted.

  • KPres||

    It think too many people think of natural rights existing/not existing in the way a tree or a car exists/doesn't exist, rather than as a sort of platonic ideal, which is how I see it. Perfect circles don't exist, but the concept is still meaningful, and if you want to make a wheel, the closer you can get to a perfect circle the better. Similar with natural rights.

  • T o n y||

    But once government starts "protecting" them, they become positive rights. In the theoretical world that lacks a government, surely there'd still be other people--who'd be perfectly free to infringe upon any right you claim. And you'd have no more a legitimate claim to the right than they would to the right to infringe on it.

  • ||

    Protecting rights doesn't make them positive rights, the distinction is between non-coercive actions people are free to take on their own vs. the "freedom" to use force against other people for things you want.

  • T o n y||

    There's no real distinction between so-called positive and negative rights.

    What you're able to do in the absence of impediment is also what you're allowed to do by circumstance. If you can go to a taxpayer funded court to redress an infringement of a right, then there's nothing "negative" about that.

  • KPres||

    A negative right exists on an island, a postive right can't, by definition. I have free speech on an island, but no healthcare. That's not to say that we live on islands, since I anticipate that stupid retort, it's to prove that they are CATEGORICALLY different.

  • T o n y||

    You mean alone on an island, I presume, since the presence of other people makes all rights conditional (and is the only reason government is necessary).

    I'm not sure what sense it makes to talk about rights except in the context everyone lives in, i.e., among other people. (If you're alone on an island, sure you have a right to free speech; you also are at liberty to go insane from loneliness, if a pathogen or wild animal doesn't get you first.) But if you want to make categories in this way fine; then the question becomes why do we only get the absolute minimum amount of rights imaginable?--only those available to us alone on an island?

  • Paul.||

    There's no real distinction between so-called positive and negative rights

    Yes there is.

    If I declare that I have a right to have housing provided for me, some third party must grant me the housing. Someone must collect the materials, secure the labor and build the house.

    That's not a right, that's a privilege, granted by an institution. If that institution collapses, that privilege goes away.

    If the government collapses tomorrow, I will still maintain a freedom of speech, and a I will still bear arms. In fact, those things become more robust if government were to collapse.

    And don't purposefully confuse quality of life with the existence of rights.

    Sure, my toilet and sewage facilities may not be top-shelf in the absence of government, but those rights I describe become very prominent in the complete collapse of government.

  • T o n y||

    In the event of the collapse of government, who says you get free speech and the right to bear arms? Why can't someone come and persecute you for speech or take your guns (presumably he has bigger guns)? In the absence of law and order it scarcely makes sense to talk of rights at all. You have a right to whatever you can get your hands on and nothing else.

  • Paul.||

    In the event of the collapse of government, who says you get free speech and the right to bear arms?

    I do. Do you see how this works, T o n y? Do you see? Surely you see. T o n y, despite the invectives thrown around here about you, I do consider you a bright, educated person. Misguided, but bright.

    In the absence of law and order it scarcely makes sense to talk of rights at all. You have a right to whatever you can get your hands on and nothing else.

    Well, sure it does. You certainly have the right of action. I can initiate any action I want. But there are consequences that might be suffered by executing an action against another free person who may not welcome it.

    I'm not advocating for anarchy, here, T o n y. We have government... well WE have government in order to protect or 'secure' our rights.

    And yes, we also have government to extend privileges to us. Libertarians are much less likely to be comfortable with the extension of privileges on a mass or arbitrary scale. But at least a free people should be able to recognize some basic natural rights. A small set. We could even limit them to ten. Write them down on a piece of paper and then try to give them a nod when passing legislation. You know, from time to time.

  • Paul.||

    If you can go to a taxpayer funded court to redress an infringement of a right, then there's nothing "negative" about that.

    Who's infringing my right, T o n y?

    I have the right to pursue an abortion. I actually believe that abortion is a natural right. Because my right to pursue an abortion can't be taken from me.

    The right to have an abortion provided is a privilege.

    What's the institution which repeatedly tries to take the right to pursue an abortion away? Again, T o n y, you're so, so very close.

  • Paul.||

    But once government starts "protecting" them, they become positive rights.

    No they're not, because they haven't been granted anything. You're purposefully misunderstanding the differernce. The government 'protecting' a right means that when a wayward politician tries to curb it or limit it, a court (or some check on power) nullifies that attempt.

    Nothing has been granted to you... the forces of tyranny have merely been stopped.

    In the theoretical world that lacks a government, surely there'd still be other people--who'd be perfectly free to infringe upon any right you claim.

    Well of course, but that doesn't change the fact that I have that right sans government. I also would have the right to defend myself.

    Essentially, what you're saying is a gang of people with guns could impinge on my rights? A gang of people with guns infringing on my rights, you say... hmmm... there's a word for that...

    And you'd have no more a legitimate claim to the right than they would to the right to infringe on it.

    Again, they have a word for that gang of guys with guns who have a monopoly on power. You're so close, T o n y, so very, very close.

  • T o n y||

    A gang with a monopoly on power is government. A gang with some power, but not a monopoly, is what would take your stuff, rape your women, and deny you rights, and there's nothing you could say about it that would be any more legitimate than their claim. Only with an entity with a monopoly on power makes rights realizable--because it can defend you against the other types of gangs, or at least prosecute them.

  • ||

    Protecting rights isn't the same thing as granting rights. They exist whether they're protected or not. The lack of protection from violation doesn't mean they don't exist, just that they're not being respected. Positive rights, on the other hand, actually need other people in order to exist at all.

  • Paul.||

    Protecting rights isn't the same thing as granting rights. They exist whether they're protected or not.

    I've given up. You can lead a T o n y to the font of wisdom...

  • T o n y||

    In the same way unicorns exist whether a mutant horse births one or not.

  • ||

    Nice rebuttal. I can see you learned from the best modern liberalism has to offer.

  • yonemoto||

    Here tony. I have the "right to have sex with whomever I want". I.E. the government cannot say you can't have sex with someone and put me into jail if I want. You could also interpret "the right to have sex with whomever I want" as in, if I want to have sex with whomever, I can demand it from them.

    This is the difference between a NEGATIVE and a POSITIVE right. If you cannot fucking see the categorical difference, you are a dumbass.

  • gaoxiaen||

    "Enslaved" doctors that charge two hundred dollars for a permission slip to buy five dollars worth of medicine.

  • Rhino||

    except, depending on which version you watch, Robin Hood stole from the Government to give people back taxes stolen from them.

  • mr simple||

  • sarcasmic||

    Interesting. As long as it isn't arbitrary. Well, shucks. I thought the whole point was to be arbitrary.

  • ||

    I love the decision about what is general and what is arbitrary in that clip.

  • Ghetto Slovak Goatherder||

    It's sad that this kind of programming has died.

  • ||

    I don't know why everyone insists that all thinkers are somehow more than human, and can maintain a worldview that provides consistent answers to every situation, and that that worldview will not alter throughout the course of the person's life.

    It's perfectly possible, even likely, that Hayek at some times supported some versions of a social safety net, and at other times was disillusioned with the entire concept of gov't planning. Humans make contradictory statements and hold conflicting beliefs all the time. No one is immune from that - it's part of being human. It's just as meaningless to point and say, "See, even your hero supports this!" as it is to support slavery on the basis of Jefferson having owned them (and equally absurd to dismiss everything Jefferson ever said because he owned slaves).

  • sarcasmic||

    Albert Einstein supported socialism, and he was really really smart!

    http://monthlyreview.org/2009/05/01/why-socialism

    So if you support socialism then that makes you really really smart like Einstein!

  • brlfq||

    He's also credited (incorrectly) with creating the maxim that defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Arguing with strangers on the internet, for instance.

  • Paul.||

    Albert Einstein supported socialism, and he was really really smart!

    National socialism? Not so much.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Gojira,

    It's perfectly possible, even likely, that Hayek at some times supported some versions of a social safety net,


    Or, if we do not discount the political/pragmatic aspect of it, he only said that so not to appear as a heartless miser in front of his totally clueless (i.e. Tony-esque) students. The guy had to eat.

  • ||

    Also, keep in mind the times in which he wrote what he did.

    Serfdom was written during WWII during a time in which the welfare state was very popular, and central planning was on the rise. This was a time when we had a military alliance with the USSR. Railing against the welfare state would have been counterproductive to his goal of warning about the dangers of central planning and state socialism as it would have led to even more marginalization.

  • KPres||

    Serfdom was written during WWII during a time in which the welfare state was very popular

    My guess is it would be just as popular today if it was the size it was then.

  • $park¥||

    As long as there's some way to justify what he said or did so that he can still be a hero.

  • KPres||

    Humans make contradictory statements and hold conflicting beliefs all the time. No one is immune from that - it's part of being human.

    What about in the case of somebody like Tony, who's self-contradictions and tortured logic are dishonest and self-serving?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "IF you're going to have a safety net, THIS is the most effective and efficient way to administer it."

    With any luck the recipients will drink themselves to death in short order.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Anyone that equates Obamacare to a social safety net is a fucking idiot. Obamacare is a straight-up, robin-hood rob-from-the-rich give-to-the-poor wealth transfer program.

    Well, yeah; but the only possible way to find that out was to pass it.

  • Tim||

    OT:
    The tow line snapped on that stranded boat. Is it wrong to laugh?

  • SugarFree||

    No. Is there a whiter white people problem than a defective cruise ship?

  • Tim||

    "There's poop and urine all along the floor," Renee Shanar, of Houston, said from her cellphone aboard the ship. "The floor is flooded with sewer water ... and we had to poop in bags."

    They were initially only given cold cuts, like turkey and vegetable sandwiches. Then another cruise line dropped off hamburgers and chicken sandwiches, but the line for that fare was nearly four hours long.

    "And then people started getting sick from the food," she said.

    The company has disputed the accounts of passengers who describe the ship as filthy, saying employees are doing everything to ensure people are comfortable.

    Can't make link work

  • SugarFree||

    and we had to poop in bags

    Now, see. You have to laugh at that.

  • Paul.||

    Only someone who'd never had to poop in a bag would say that.

    I'm laughing... I'm laughing...

  • Tim||

    ... They've been drifting for about six days. They live on week old ham and moldy bread and sometimes... on each other. At night, the pyres for the dead light up the sky. It's medieval.

  • Paul.||

    You don't even want to ask what goes on in the shuffleboard area at night.

  • Atanarjuat||

    I'm laughing at all the swingin' singles who took a cruise to get laid and not be slut shamed by anyone at home knowing about it, but are now feeling pretty unsexy as they slosh, unshowered for a week, through backed up sewage to get a week old ham sandwich.

    Why don't they just poop over the side like guys on shrimp boats do? I think it would be fun to say "bombs away" each time.

  • SugarFree||

    Are Carnival cruise ships fuck barges, though? I've always imagined they look like the demographics of the fourth hour of The Today Show.

  • Atanarjuat||

    No idea. I think it does matter which line you're on. I imagine there's no feeling more disappointing that being, say, a group of 8 horny frat guys on a cruise with a bunch of elderly New Yorkers.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    "I imagine there's no feeling more disappointing that being, say, a group of 8 horny frat guys on a cruise with a bunch of elderly New Yorkers."

    I use to go on cruises alot when I was in my early 20's. I have experienced both awesome cruises that packed with college girls looking to hook up and party. I've also been on cruises where I was the youngest person on the boat. If you are looking to hook up go when college is on break and on a cruise that is going to sunny beach destinations.

  • $park¥||

    I've seen reports that it's become a floating shit-barge too. That's got to be horrible. Everyone is gonna get sick, then they're gonna dock and spread it inland. Norovirus here we come.

  • SugarFree||

    Finally, the poop-zombie plague I've been prepping for.

  • $park¥||

    Something similar happened in Mass in the late 90s. I got sick two or three days after a ship full of infected people landed in Boston. I was glad the I could lean into my sink while still sitting on the toilet.

  • Tim||

    Let's see:
    -Nobody can properly wash hands or flush waste.
    -Eating uncooked food five days after refrigeration was lost.
    -massive fecal contamination in passageways.

    Bacterial paradise.

  • Tim||

    I picture there's a Coast Guard Cutter following them with a video recorder. Every turd that gets tossed overboard is probably a $5000 fine from EPA.

  • Atanarjuat||

    Too lazy to Google, but I'm pretty sure that's OK if you're far enough out. We used to have a toilet on the sailboat that ejected waste directly into the water, but could only be used offshore, IIRC.

  • SugarFree||

    Coast Guard Cutter

    snerk

  • Tim||

    "Cutter may refer to several types of nautical vessels..."

    What heinous double entendre have I used, oh master of the perverse?

  • ||

    Cancer from tanning booths?

  • gaoxiaen||

    Well, they ran out of lobster on said cruise ship. The horror!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Hayek would also like the cartel-busting part of Obamacare (the only good part of it).

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What cartel-busting part would that be?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Health insurers collude to fix prices and share data on applicants.

  • Libertarius||

    They have to share data in order to have prices, period; but since price fixing is undoable in theory and impracticable in practice, you once again betray your ignorance of economics and reality.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    They have to share data in order to have prices

    Bullshit. They could price based strictly on demographic (age/sex/location) data.

    But they want to know what OTHER insurers paid to patients in services.

  • ||

    Huh? Every company seeks the knowledge of what their competition charges.

    Don't you think that restaurant menu prices are set with the locality and its rates in mind?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You missed the point. Using your restaurant analogy Restaurant A would tell Restaurant B what each customer ate at the buffet so that the costly gluttons would be turned away.

  • ||

    That's not collusion.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Maybe they just read the other restaurants' menus.

  • Jordan||

    In other words, you don't support free speech. Big shocker.

  • The Derider||

    Does free speech protect fraud, too?

  • ||

    Yes. That's why the President is free to speak all that dreamy stuff.

  • Vapourwear||

    And?

  • R C Dean||

    I thought collusion to fix prices was a cartel, not the solution to a cartel.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Obamacare doesn't fix prices to my knowledge. It sets an MLR but and requires services though. It also provides premium support to the poor.

  • ||

    If it doesn't fix prices, don't write things like "Health insurers collude to fix prices".

  • Jahfre Fire Eater||

    No. Of course not. Obamacare undermines the function of the pricing mechanism of free markets. Prof. Angner makes this quite clear asa disqualification of Obamacare from Hayek's perspective.

    Many careless and opportunistic readers miss Hayek's consistent caveat that government planning is only non-destructive when it is used to enhance choice and competition. Obamacare does the exact opposite.

    At least Prof Angner only attempted to 'fill in the blanks' regarding things Hayek didn't say rather than twisting the things he did say into an implied support of planning that would violate Hayek's baseline conditions for mandates.

    I believe a more acceptable Hayekian approach to redistribution specifically for healthcare would be to mandate a portion of insurance premiums be designated as available to cover "the poor". Hayek also undersood "the poor" as something far different from the permanent subclass of government-created dependents that "the poor" represent today.

    I see no reason for any heads to explode if those heads have read, and understood, Hayek's own words. His lifelong dim view of dogmatic laissez faire zombies should be nothing new to them. He often referred to such blind dogmatism as the failing point of classical liberalism (libertarianism).

  • T o n y||

    Thomas Paine advocated for a guaranteed basic income for each person as compensation for "loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property."

    The idea (or variations on it) has also been supported by such diverse figures as Friedman, Galbraith, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Martin Luther King Jr., along with Hayek until the day he died.

    What has become libertarianism, or libertarian propertarianism, really is more of an insular cult-like thing that rewards itself for increasing radicalism. It has come to a point where it must reject all of its philosophic founding fathers--Neither Friedman nor Hayek nor Smith nor probably even Rand were antigovernment enough for modern libertarians and the libertarian element of the Republican party domestic policy platform. The only place to find explications of that dominant form of libertarianism is on talk radio and other sources of partisan propaganda. The main problem is a lack of respect for empirical reality, a charge I can't, of course, convince people of when they are already convinced they need only pay attention to self-confirming sources.

  • $park¥||

    Keep up the good work. I think you're on the verge of breaking through. Any day now.

  • SugarFree||

    Fuck off, sockpuppet.

  • ||

    B- for concern trolling.

  • T o n y||

    I'm not concern trolling, I'm accusing.

  • Specail Sauce||

    You call it accusing, I call it a manic episode.

  • Jordan||

    Lies, as usual. Fuck off.

  • Libertarius||

    Hayek was a crappy thinker who contradicted himself at every turn, like every utilitarian.

    Laissez-faire is not "blind dogmatism"; it is the conscientious devotion to the principle that economic freedom is the way to go, because nothing good can come from introducing coercion to the voluntary realm of economic action.

  • T o n y||

    Except of course for the forms of coercion necessary to ensure that transactions are voluntary.

    And redistribution is not coercion. It's simply providing more resources to the poor so that they can go make more voluntary transactions.

    And this is perfectly OK because there is no such thing as an Edenic distributive state. The status quo distribution is not the result of an unbroken chain of free and fair transactions, so shuffling it up a bit isn't to tarnish any morally pure state of being. As long as the end result is that transactions are fair, voluntary, and tend to reward virtues rather than wrongdoing (hard work over graft), what's the problem?

  • SugarFree||

    Fuck off, sockpuppet.

  • brlfq||

    Whose sockpuppet is he supposed to be?
    If you know, why not share it with us?

  • Sam Grove||

    Tony, your logic is perverse.
    Defending yourself from a mugger is justified coercion. If you will, it's anti-coercion.

    I know you left-tards like to control definitions of words so you can steer the argument to a guaranteed win, but we don't have to let you get away with such philosophical cheating.

  • T o n y||

    It's coercion perfectly described. Doesn't become not coercion because of what precedes it. So either you have to believe in a paradox or realize that coercion is a necessary part of life.

  • Whahappan?||

    Since it's "coercion" to use force to prevent theft, it's OK to use force FOR theft! It's all clear now! Thanks T O NY!

  • Sam Grove||

    What I said.
    The non-aggression principle specifically speaks of the INITIATION of force. When libertarians speak of coercion, we mean when it is resorted to initially.

    Even the law recognizes the difference between the force used by a mugger and the force used to stop the mugger.

  • 16th amendment||

    In Road to Serfdom Hayek did talk about a safety net. That part seemed to be at odds with the rest of the book. I think this is what is going on: conservatives then believed in a basic safety net, as they do now. But safety net has grown so big. It's now a safety hammock. People expect tons of free stuff (ie. gifts), companies charge ever higher prices knowing that government will pay for it, public unions demand ever higher salaries for ever little work. Had Hayek or even Einstein seen this simple fact, then they might have been more cautious about the safety net.

    The author says that if people don't make enough then they aren't participating in the marketplace and thus not providing their input on prices. See, I don't make enough to buy expensive Monet paintings. I'm not participating in the marketplace for high art. Does that make the high art marketplace any less efficient? If anything, I'm putting a downward pressure on exorbitant prices, which is a good thing.

  • KPres||

    Yep, look at the social spending at the time (~1% of GDP) vs today...

    http://davald.files.wordpress......ending.png

    The status quo Hayek was reasoning from was very different from what we experience today and you can't export his use of the words "safety net" into our reality, with all it's entrenched dependency.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I thought collusion to fix prices was a cartel, not the solution to a cartel.

    I was having some trouble with that.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    redistribution is not coercion. It's simply providing more resources to the poor so that they can go make more voluntary transactions.

    You're swinging the watch back and forth slowly when you say that, right?

  • R C Dean||

    Well, see, the bit about passing out money isn't coercive.

    He does somewhat overlook the bit about collecting the money to be passed out.

  • T o n y||

    An argument only for anarchy.

  • grey||

    Statists speak often of anarchy without bloated government. This must be born of their own tendencies and evil thoughts. I fear the Statists, because they are really saying they hold back from violence only because of their fear of the State.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "It's simply providing more resources to the poor so that they can go make more voluntary transactions."

    Which they can't get for themselves because of the government. We see on Reason every week a new Licensing, regulatory, or fee scheme designed to keep new entrants out of the market. You can't cut hair, work on cars, or even give interior design advice in many places if you don't have the money to buy your way in. Same with vice-related economic activity. Some people will certainly go ahead and do these things without a license or regardless of the fact they are illegal but they can only grow that business so much with out attracting attention and most people won't at all. Than you have the Corporate and Union Cronyism, rent seeking, subsidies, etc. The increase access and opportunities and decrease cost for the well connected squeezing everyone else. (Continued)

  • AlmightyJB||

    Of course there is also the fact that if without any kind education your opportunities are limited as well. Who in the education system is the government more concerned with helping. Poor kids or teachers unions. But here you go poor person. Here's is some government housing and food stamps so you don't riot in the streets against all of the above policies that keep you on the other side of the tracks. And were does that money come from. The middle (consumer) class. either taxes we pay or in the form of higher costs for goods and services passed on to us so we can pay the well connected taxes for them and in inflation so that the government can print money for the connected to pay for their megalomaniac ideas to compensate for their lacking in the penis department. As always, government is the problem, not the solution.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Oh and as far as the minimum wage goes. That was originally put in place by racist unions who didn't want black and immigrant non-union labor out of the market (we seeing a trend here?). Why would someone work for less than average market wages? Lack of skills and experience. How do you get more skills and experience so that you can make more money? By working. It's a self-correcting dilemma if you let it work it's way out. It doesn't matter though because minimum wage laws aren't designed to protect the poor it's designed (like everything else) to exclude them. So take your check and go buy your six pack and state lottery tickets and stay where you belong. Rant done.

  • Sam Grove||

    Would Hayek Have Approved Obamacare?

    I don't care if he would have approved or not.
    As an independent thinker, I have no problem disagreeing with Hayek.

  • Thomas4||

    uptil I looked at the check of $6418, I didn't believe that my sister was realie earning money parttime on their apple labtop.. there mums best friend started doing this for only fifteen months and just took care of the dept on there home and got Smart ForTwo. we looked here, http://www.FLY38.COM

  • Stacy56||

    my buddy's half-sister makes $72/hour on the internet. She has been unemployed for nine months but last month her pay was $18223 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site http://www.FLY38.COM

  • Tobias4||

    Julian. I see what you mean... Alfred`s c0mment is unimaginable... I just got a great Jaguar XJ from making $6847 this past four weeks and-even more than, ten grand this past-month. this is certainly the most-comfortable work I've ever done. I started this 3 months ago and right away startad bringin home over $72, per-hr. I use the details on this website,, http://www.FLY38.COM

  • AAnderson||

    Friedrich Hayek is the man. Read the majority of his works--so nice to hear it being validated on different levels.

  • Udolf41||

    Brayden. you think Vincent`s posting is impressive, on wednesday I bought a great Infiniti after making $4481 this - four weeks past and more than 10-k lass month. this is really the most-comfortable job Ive had. I started this 6 months ago and right away started making a nice minimum $84, per hour. I follow the details on this straightforward website, http://tiny.cc/uqtnsw

  • Vernon||

    up to I saw the receipt for $9203, I accept that my brother woz realie making money in there spare time on their laptop.. there uncle has done this for only about fourteen months and a short time ago paid for the loans on their home and bourt a great Jaguar XJ. I went here, http://www.fb26.com

  • homme nike air max 90||

    Americans some amount of money to spend on health care as they see fit does not. To Angner, vouchers for health care would function similarly to vouchers for education, helping to create stronger market forces and spurring the sort of competition that would lead to a more efficient and robust system.

  • Pdmckplus||

    In the video, Prof Anger stated that redistribution could actually be good for the free market because that allowed more people to participate in setting the price of something. But peoples inactivity in the market is part of the process of setting the price in the market. Causing people to artificially have more resources at their disposal distorts the market by the amount of the resources distributed. If you take from on to give to another the one taken from has exactly the same reduction in the market as the recipient receives from him, but the use of the resources change to things the less well off can purchase, thus distorting the market and causing the prices for those things to rise. TANSTAAFL!

  • Roger Cuddy||

    Hayek stated quite clearly his belief that a free market economy would be able to provide for the very old and the severely disabled. He was also quite clear that only the wealth generated in a free market would enable a lasting safety net for that small percentage truly unable to care for themselves. I do not believe anyone who has read even a few of his works could believe he would have found the socialization of an industry, including medical care, anything less than abhorrent.

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