Abstract: This article aims to incorporate the essential features of capitalism in an operational definition that identifies capitalism per se (pure laissez-faire capitalism), and clearly excludes variations such as welfare capitalism and crony capitalism. By concisely highlighting the fundamental structures and mechanisms of capitalism, this essential definition facilitates defences of it that are more robust than those ordinarily offered. It also clarifies the relation between capitalism and phenomena with which it is frequently associated, and suggests a straightforward way of identifying and measuring the extent of capitalism in mixed economies.
Filed under: Economics, Philosophy
Abstract: Debunking skeptics claim that our moral beliefs are formed by processes unsuited to identifying objective facts, such as emotions inculcated by our genes and culture; therefore, they say, even if there are objective moral facts, we probably don’t know them. I argue that the debunking skeptics cannot explain the pervasive trend toward liberalization of values over human history, and that the best explanation is the realist’s: humanity is becoming increasingly liberal because liberalism is the objectively correct moral stance.
Filed under: Philosophy
Abstract: The revival of classical liberal thought has reignited a debate about economic freedom and social justice. Classical liberals claim to defend expansive economic freedom, while their critics wish to restrict this freedom for other values. However, there are two problems with the role ‘economic freedom’ plays in this debate: inconsistency in the use of the concept and indeterminacy with respect to its definition. Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: Philosophy
ROBERT ARNOTT, WILLIAM BERNSTEIN, AND LILLIAN WU
Abstract: Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century rocketed to the top of the best-seller lists the moment it was published in 2013, and remained there for months. We believe Piketty’s core message is provably flawed on several levels, as a result of fundamental and avoidable errors in his basic assumptions. He begins with the sensible presumption that the return on invested capital, r, exceeds macroeconomic growth, g, as must be true in any healthy economy. But from this near-tautology, he moves on to presume that wealthy families will grow ever richer over future generations, leading to a society dominated by unearned, hereditary wealth. Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: Economics
EMMANUEL TROUCHE, PETTER JOHANSSON, LARS HALL, AND HUGO MERCIER
Abstract: Reasoning research suggests that people use more stringent criteria when they evaluate others’ arguments than when they produce arguments themselves. To demonstrate this “selective laziness,” we used a choice blindness manipulation. In two experiments, participants had to produce a series of arguments in response to reasoning problems, and they were then asked to evaluate other people’s arguments about the same problems. Unknown to the participants, in one of the trials, they were presented with their own argument as if it was someone else’s. Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: Society
Abstract: Should our factual understanding of the world influence our normative theorising about it? G.A. Cohen has argued that our ultimate normative principles should not be constrained by facts (e.g. about feasibility, human nature, and so on). Many others have defended or are committed to various versions or subsets of that claim. In this paper I dispute those positions by arguing that, in order to resist the conclusion that ultimate normative principles rest on facts about possibility or conceivability, one has to embrace an unsatisfactory account of how principles generate normative political judgments. Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: Philosophy, Political Theory