Thursday, June 21, 2012

Listening to Deirdre McCloskey in Debate

I recommend that you read through a Symposium hosted on Bleeding Heart Libertarians Blog (‘free markets and social justice’), 20 August, HERE
I strongly recommend that you read through “Factual Free-market Fairness” by DEIRDRE MCCLOSKEY and follow up by reading a large number of comments on her piece, plus her lively responses as she debates with some of them in her inimitable relaxed scholarly style.
Scroll down to her contribution and after that read through the exchange of comments. It is about as close as you can get without actually listening in the room to high-level readable scholarship.  
I know very little about Bleeding Heart Libertarians, but what I have read, I tend to be comfortable with, which is more than I am with the expressed views of some libertarians, who confuse being Libertarian with an equivalent to absolute licensing of the individual to all and any acts of self-interest, a singular mistake, I believe, of Ayn Rand and her disciples.


Blogger airth10 said...

All I can say is that it is incredible the amount of comments Deirdre McCloskey has got for her post.

2:53 am  
Blogger airth10 said...

However, what kind of economist is McCloskey, making daft comments like "Malthusian theories hatched in the West were put into practice by India and especially China, resulting in millions of missing girls".

I mean, what is she talking about.

3:08 am  
Blogger Gavin Kennedy said...

Thomas Malthus wrote on political economy and population predictions, namely that population grows faster when food subsistence is more readily available if labourers enjoy rising real wages. They indulge in marriage and sex, etc. (He was a Church Minister too).
He regarded this as inevitable. As a result more children were born than could be sustained, he argued.
His views were controversial and resonated later in then Third World countries like India and China, which responded to the so-called pessimistic 'Malthusian Trap' by trying to curb population growth.
This, added to cultural norms derived from bride- price rises that the very poor could not meet if they had daughters, baby boys were favoured.
Hence, as night follows day, parents mistreated girl babies (murder included, early deaths from malnutrition, and so on).
Statistics show that more boys are born in India and China, than the human norm elsewhere of equal numbers, hence Deirdrie's comments.

8:59 am  
Blogger airth10 said...

Gavin, thanks for that. I should have realized it.

I just came across an essay entitled "Did Adam Smith Retard The Development of Economic Analysis? So I was thinking, Did Thomas Malthus equally retard economic analysis?

1:14 pm  
Blogger Gavin Kennedy said...

Malthus conducted a lengthy correspondence with David Ricardo who argued with him about his statements.
Do not over emphasise the influence of one or a few persons on economic analysis.
Also beware of imputing later (including modern) attributions of ideas to predecessors as being identical to that person's ideas. Each scholar changes how earlier scholars have influence over late generations, as I have tried to show in respect of Adam Smith and his association with ideas he never held.
Neither Smith, nor Malthus, nor anybody else, 'retarded' a discipline in a later world. Economics does not 'progress' in a straight, nor cumulative, line. Ideas sink into oblivion, are superseded by better ideas, or re-appear after decades of neglect in a new form.
Nobody uses calculus as Newton or Leibnitz first conceived it.

8:37 pm  

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