Political philosophy

A fundamental Euro flaw

On a philosophical level, Europe’s crisis can be interpreted as a practical lesson in the errors of constructivism. It shows what happens if grown economic and social structures are wilfully ignored and replaced by systems designed in academic ivory towers and the backrooms of power. [...]

The Multi-layered Hayek

Friedrich August von Hayek was one of the intellectual giants of the 20th century. His contributions ranged from economics to philosophy, from law to psychology. In 1972, he won the Nobel Prize in Economics, and his ideas had great influence on politicians like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. At an event hosted by The Centre for Independent Studies in 2008, four academics delivered an assessment of Hayek’s contributions to different fields of research and analysed their relevance to contemporary debates. This collection of essays demonstrates how much a source of inspiration Hayek’s works still are. [...]

America’s warpath to Depression

In the beginning of the financial crisis, with all its G8, IMF and G20 meetings, there was a glimmer of hope that it would not lead to a replay of the distortions of the Great Depression. In hindsight, this was too optimistic. [...]

After the Wall – Reflections on the Legacy of 1989

The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 brought the Cold War to an end. It also ended a decades-long division of Europe. At an event hosted by The Centre for Independent Studies, four academics shared their recollections of the historic events and analysed their long term impacts. They show how the change originated in Poland; how fast the revolution spread to East Germany; how Germany mishandled the process of national reunification; and the lessons for the Chinese leadership from the collapse of the communist East German government. [...]

Superseding MMP: Real Electoral reform for New Zealand

After 13 years of Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) representation, Prime Minister John Key has said it is time to ‘kick the tyres’ and see how much support the system enjoys. New Zealand will hold a referendum on the electoral system coinciding with the next election, which may well be a close contest. With this referendum looming, it is both desirable and necessary to revisit New Zealand’s electoral system, its peculiarities, and its history. Beyond that, this is also the time to consider alternatives to MMP. [...]

Question time on whether NZ needs to reinstate an upper house

MMP has, in some ways, proved to be the worst of all worlds. It was meant to provide consensual decision-making, prevent an outright parliamentary majority pulling away from the will of voters and, thus, make Parliament representative. It was also meant to provide different local and national representation, and the proportional element was supposed to increase diversity within Parliament. [...]

Learning about Hayek the hard way

IN his masterpiece, The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich Hayek considered the follies of mistaken policies to conclude: "We shall not grow wiser before we learn that much that we have done was very foolish." If only Kevin Rudd heeded this advice, his much-televised apologies for the government's insulation fiasco and other policy blunders would be more credible. [...]

Behind the Moral Curtain: The Politics of a Charter of Rights

Just as judges are not philosopher-kings, nor are legislative drafters. The terms of a charter are subject to the influence of lobbyists; the judicial interpretation of charters is subject to manipulation by legal experts; and the pervasiveness of a charter is impossible to avoid. [...]

After the Wall: 20 years on

The liberation of East Germany from decades of totalitarian dictatorship was a blessing. The chance to unite the nation against much domestic resistance is an achievement for which Kohl deserves full credit. But the practical policies initiated by his government have turned a revolution for freedom into an evolution of the welfare state. Despite all the joys over the fall of the Wall, this was a missed opportunity of historic proportions. [...]