Originally published 03/22/2013
Angus Burgin is an assistant professor of history at Johns Hopkins University and the author of “The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Free Markets since the Depression.” The opinions expressed are his own.Friedrich Hayek’s book “The Road to Serfdom” has served as a beacon for American conservatives since its publication in 1944. Today’s Republicans often cite the book in their fight to limit federal power and regulation. Hayek’s views, however, were more complicated than they often assume.As a shy and scholarly scion of an aristocratic Austrian family, Hayek hadn’t expected to find much of an audience for his wartime tract on political economy. He was shocked when opponents of the New Deal propelled it up the U.S. best-seller lists shortly after its release, and would have been equally astonished at its rise up the Amazon.com sales rankings following an endorsement from the former Fox News host Glenn Beck in 2010.
Originally published 03/15/2013
Portrait of Milton Friedman. Credit: The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.The word “neoliberalism” -- the ideology of free markets, deregulation and limited government -- is easily lost in translation from the European to the American context. In part this is a reflection of the different meanings of liberalism in Europe and the United States. But it also highlights a gap in historical understanding, which is only just beginning to be filled.
Originally published 02/11/2013
Brent Bozell and William F. Buckley in 1954. Credit: Wiki Commons/UCLA Library/LA Daily News.Recent Republican and conservative convocations have displayed one common thing. Those who pass for thinkers and leaders of these intertwined movements think they can keep doing the same things but achieve better results. With the notable except of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, most Republicans, after sifting through the debris of November 6, think they need new spokespeople and better packaging.The only thing standing between Republicans and the great Reagan landslides of 1980 and 1984 is them. This is a sad commentary on once noble movements. Republican and conservative “leaders” think twenty-first-century Americans are waiting to embrace tenth-century stands on social issues and science, and blustery vague pronouncements on government spending. Does any rational person think today’s Republicans and conservatives bear the slightest resemblance to those who rallied around Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan? Those two icons would not have finished in the top ten in the 2012 Iowa caucus or South Carolina primary.
Originally published 01/16/2013
George Monbiot is the author of the bestselling books The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order and Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain, as well as the investigative travel books Poisoned Arrows, Amazon Watershed and No Man's Land. His latests books are Heat: how to stop the planet burning and Bring on the Apocalypse?How they must bleed for us. In 2012, the world's 100 richest people became $241 billion richer. They are now worth $1.9 trillion: just a little less than the entire output of the United Kingdom.This is not the result of chance. The rise in the fortunes of the super-rich is the direct result of policies. Here are a few: the reduction of tax rates and tax enforcement; governments' refusal to recoup a decent share of revenues from minerals and land; the privatisation of public assets and the creation of a toll-booth economy; wage liberalisation and the destruction of collective bargaining.
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