For this year’s conference of the Association of Private Enterprise Education, Stephen Hicks is organizing and chairing a session on two giants of the twentieth century — Friedrich Hayek and Ayn Rand — with four scholars comparing their views on values and political economy.
Topic: Hayek and Rand on Values
Chair: Stephen Hicks, Ph.D., Rockford College, Illinois
Emily Chamlee-Wright, Ph.D. Elbert Neese Professor of Economics, Beloit College, Wisconsin
Title: “Cultivating the Economic Imagination with Atlas Shrugged”
Abstract: In this paper I describe my use of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged in an undergraduate comparative economic systems course. I argue that the novel is the ideal vehicle for cultivating what I call the “economic imagination,” by which I mean the ability to see the systematic outcomes that emerge under different political economic rules of the game. Further, I argue that the novel is particularly well-suited to animate discussions of essential comparative systems topics, including Marxism, the various phenomena associated with the soviet-type economy, and fascism. Finally, drawing upon student writing, I argue that though Rand’s view of reason and epistemology are often at odds with Austrian economics, these tensions are productive in conveying Austrian insights regarding the extended order.
Steve Horwitz, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, St. Lawrence University, New York
“Hayek, Rand, and the Ethics of the Micro- and Macro-worlds
Abstract: Hayek and Rand both supported capitalism, but their ethical systems were different. This paper explores the differences and how they apply to the institution of the family. It concludes that Rand’s ethical system matches very well with what Hayek sees as necessary in the “Great Society” of the macro-cosmos, but that our understanding of the institution of the family seems better suited to a more altruistic ethical code. The challenge for a Hayekian ethics that pays attention to institutional contexts is how to ensure that the complex process of making those distinctions is learned as children pass into adulthood.
Edward Hudgins, Ph.D., Director of Advocacy, The Atlas Society, Washington, D.C.
Title: “Is a Moral Foundation Necessary for Spontaneous Order?”
Abstract: F. A. Hayek argued that social order and institutions—markets, money, law—arise spontaneously out of the actions of individuals seeking their own interests but not through specific planning by individuals. Further, because it is impossible in markets for any individual to know what mix of goods and services will best satisfy consumer demands, attempts at central government planning will result in adverse unintended consequences.
But it can be argued that such a system will only operate to protect individual liberty and limit government if enough individuals, reinforced by the culture, accept and live by certain moral principles and the Objectivism provides such a foundation.
William Kline, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Department of Liberal and Integrative Studies, University of Illinois, Springfield
Title: “Individualism and Interdependence”
Abstract: When do we need other people? Both Hayek and Rand agree on the importance of the division of labor. People need other people to produce what they cannot or will not do themselves. Hayek and Rand also broadly agree on the importance of property rights that make the division of labor, and the market in general, possible. Yet, theses authors deeply disagree on the degree of interdependence necessary for establishing valid property claims. This paper explores Hayek’s use of a Humean conception of property that emphasizes tradition and cannot exist independently of others and contrasts it with Rand’s use of a Lockean/Cartesian approach that argues for the existence of objective, nonconventional property rights. This paper argues that the two authors can be reconciled by distinguishing between what Hume identifies as the need for property rights versus the actual rules that protect them.
The session is scheduled for Monday, April 10 at the bright and cheery 8:10 a.m. time slot.
Originally posted by Stephen Hicks at http://www.stephenhicks.org/