Valentin Cojanu - A review of Ralph Harris in His Own Words, the Selected Writings of Lord Harris, Edited by Colin Robinson, Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar and the Institute of Economic Affairs, 2008, 343 pages

jpe:10581 - Journal of Philosophical Economics, May 20, 2009, Volume II Issue 2 - https://doi.org/10.46298/jpe.10581
A review of Ralph Harris in His Own Words, the Selected Writings of Lord Harris, Edited by Colin Robinson, Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar and the Institute of Economic Affairs, 2008, 343 pagesArticle

Authors: Valentin Cojanu 1

  • 1 The Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies / Academia de Studii Economice din Bucureşti

To many people market liberalism may seem a hard sell in our times, looking like a menace rather than an opportunity. It may require an extraordinary personality, shaped by a limitless altruism, to admit that the riches of a few could have been accumulated if more entrepreneurship existed. That was probably the lesson Schumpeter had drawn after leaving behind a bankrupt private bank in 1924, after a four-year stint as its president, and heading for academic recognition. Fact is that, if we count from the 1930s, more than eighty years of dominance of liberal thinking in the discipline of economics have left both ordinary people and scholars with a lingering sense of perplexity. Asking about the resilience of mainstream economics may sound tautological but noted thinkers did not refrain from doing the very same. John Stuart Mill knew that ideas had to wait for "circumstances to conspire in their favour" (p. 208) [1] and J.M. Keynes observed: "The power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas…soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous and for good or evil." Along the way, Hayek thought in his essay on intellectuals and socialism (1949), "it is no exaggeration to say that once the more active part of the intellectuals has been converted to a set of beliefs, the process by which these become generally accepted is almost automatic and irresistible" (p. 40).


Volume: Volume II Issue 2
Section: Book reviews
Published on: May 20, 2009
Imported on: December 28, 2022
Keywords: [SHS]Humanities and Social Sciences

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