Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oakeshott and market skepticism

Last week I read this profile of Andrew Sullivan on the same day that tea partiers congregated at Denver's capitol across the street from the central branch of the public library, and I found this passage interesting: 
Oakeshott believed we should be sceptical of all human institutions—including markets. He savaged Hayek’s market fundamentalist bible, “The Road to Serfdom”, as another rationalist delusion. He saw it as a utopian plan to end planning, yet another argument that a perfect system could be found, this time in markets. Sullivan’s scepticism, by contrast, has been lop-sided. He is highly sceptical of the capacity of governments to act, but he has often presented markets as close to infallible, if left undistorted by government action.
There was no such outrage at markets by the partiers--judging by their signs and chants--and all copies of Oakeshott were available for checkout at the library.