Sunday, March 2, 2008

Confession of a socialist (amv)

Robert Heilbroner was one of those economists who not only produced splendid work on the history of economic thought, but was obviously also very open to evidence. As a staunch socialist who over his career continuously attacked capitalism for all its fault and who hailed central planning as the way out, he confessed in The Dissent, 1992:

"Capitalism has been as unmistakable a success as socialism has been a failure. Here is the part that's hard to swallow. It has been the Friedmans, Hayeks, and von Miseses who have maintained that capitalism would flourish and that socialism would develop incurable ailments. All three have regarded capitalism as the 'natural' system of free men; all have maintained that left to its own devices capitalism would achieve material growth more successfully than any other system. From [my samplings] I draw the following discomforting generalization: The farther to the right one looks , the more prescient has been the historical foresight; the farther to the left, the less so."