Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Will the Real Liberal Please Stand Up

Back in the old days liberals believed in free markets, free trade, free speech, and free elections. Nowadays many of those who call themselves liberals believe that the markets have failed, that free trade is a racket, that free speech needs to be circumscribed, and that elections are there to be manipulated.

The question concerns terminology, not belief. The radical left has put on the mask of liberality while the conservative opposition, who do defend free markets, free trade, free speech, and free elections, attack the their opponents for being liberal.

All of this to introduce Columbia Prof. Jagdish Baghwati's contribution to the current debate about the role of markets. I have blogged about Paul Krugman's well-known New York Times article attacking those economists who believe in markets and John Cochrane's vigorous reply. Link here.

For those of you who wish to follow this debate, here is a link to Baghwati's reply to comments made by his colleague, and Nobel Prize winner, Joseph Stiglitz. Link here.

For my part I was especially interested in Bagwhati's argument that the markets are: "on the side of the angels." Thus he works to refute the notion that the markets manifest human greed and other human vices.

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