Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mauss vs. Mises

[Well, first he should read Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, paying special attention to the chapter "Why the Worst Get on Top" - in a socialist system based on coercion, corruption and patronage. If this convinces him that socialism is evil, he should quit - to save his soul. Two or three generations of Indians have sent their best and brightest to the Indian civil services. If the State is to be at the 'commanding heights', obviously it will need the best and the brightest, it was thought - especially by the parents of these idealistic youngsters. They were all sacrificed at the altar of the State - a metaphysical concept that really has nothing to do with 'civil government' - which is what a 'civil service' is paid to provide...There is also Ludwig von Mises' Bureaucracy, republished in India by Liberty Institute. The crux of Mises' argument is this: Society benefits if almost everything is left for 'management by profit'. Very little can actually be accomplished by 'bureaucratic management' - like the police or the tax bureaus. Societies which keep this distinction in mind succeed, while those who extend bureaucratic management to vast reaches of economic activity lose heavily... Looking Up the Ladder... and Jumping Off from ANTIDOTE by Sauvik]

There is no example in history where successful societies have run in line with Friedrich Hayek’s or Ludwig von Mises' proposals. So, these suggestions are no more than mere conjectures where only the rosy side is highlighted by camouflaging the dismal. The State, as stated, is not a metaphysical concept but a functional structure constituted of human beings. Blaming the State or the Bureaucracy amounts to blaming a set of human beings, who simply behave naturally as the system demands of them.

Thus, retrieving the situation would entail resorting to normative prescriptions as foreseen by Adam Smith or Marcel Mauss than mechanically relying upon pure economic logics. [TNM] 5:55 PM 6:01 PM 7:43 AM

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