Political philosophy

Say it like you mean it, we love a bold leader

The public is thirsting for political leaders who dare to speak their minds. If only Australian politics would produce someone like the young German economics minister, our political debates would become infinitely more interesting. And Kevin Rudd would finally have a real reason to be afraid of ideologues. [...]

PM’s hero a neo-lib

Neo-liberalism is a far richer, more thoughtful concept than it is mostly perceived today. To those criticising neo-liberalism today, the answer may well be just that: we need more of this kind of neo-liberalism that sets a good framework for a free economy. What we would need less of is only the rhetorical abuse of neo-liberalism for political purposes. [...]

Neoliberalism: The Genesis of a Political Swearword

Neoliberalism is one of the most commonly used words in political debates. Despite this, the origins of neoliberalism are hardly known. Nor does there appear to be a generally accepted definition of the term. The original inventors of the word 'neoliberalism' had something completely different in mind. Their philosophy was a reasiong to the Great Depression of the 1930s. As such it was meant to show a 'Third way' between capitalism and socialism. Today's critics of neoliberalism have more in common with neoliberalism than they may think. [...]

Who wants to be a neoliberal?

It is quite ironic how neoliberalism re-surfaced a few decades later, albeit bearing an entirely different meaning. Where neoliberalism once was a positive, optimist philosophy it has been reduced to nothing but a political swearword. Unsurprisingly, nobody wants to be a neoliberal any more. [...]

The end of capitalism?

While there is no denying that markets have failed, there is certainly no lack of government failure either. There is a danger, nevertheless, that governments, the media and special interest groups will seize on the opportunity to use the economic downturn for their own purposes. And that is the challenge of this economic downturn. [...]

Capitalism: bruised but still champion

These are difficult times for liberals. The mood around the world is turning against them. Politicians find it easier to blame crazy economists and greedy managers for financial turmoil than to understand and fix their own mistakes. Free-marketers still have the evidence of economic history on their side, but they will have to make their case more forcefully from now on. They face a constant battle of ideas that can never be decisively won. But they can take consolation in the fact that today's swing to the left will not spell the end of history, let alone of capitalism. [...]

Der Medianwähler und das Ende der Reformpolitik

Wahlen werden in der Mitte gewonnen, heißt es häufig. Mindestens ebenso oft hört man die Klage, dass sich zumindest die großen Parteien immer ähnlicher geworden seien. Dass das eine mit dem anderen etwas zu tun haben könnte, liegt auf der Hand. Doch es war der Wirtschaftswissenschaft vorbehalten, für diesen intuitiv zu verstehenden Zusammenhang ein Modell geschaffen zu haben: das Medianwählertheorem. [...]

Clueless road to serfdom

THE great sociologist Max Weber once defined the art of politics as "a strong and slow boring of hard boards" that required "both passion and perspective". What, one wonders, would Weber have made of Kevin Rudd, who early this month ventured into the sphere of political philosophy with a renewed attack on liberal thinker Friedrich Hayek? While it is hard to deny the passion behind the Prime Minister's views, the perspective of his critique of the Nobel prize-winning economist is far from clear. [...]

Kein Zurück ins Paradies

Vor 18 Jahren schien es gekommen, das Ende der Geschichte. Jedenfalls wollten das damals manche Intellektuelle ausgemacht haben, als sich der real existierende Sozialismus - abgewirtschaftet und moralisch diskreditiert - von der Weltbühne verabschiedete. Es war nicht nur die Mauer gefallen, sondern mit ihr auch der Vorhang für totalitäre Volksbeglückungsutopien. [...]