Values File

Nonmarket ordering devices such as governmental

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Unformatted text preview: he "automatic" coordination achieved via the market process far superior to any method of coordination based on conscious direction. Nonmarket ordering devices, such as governmental planning or majoritarian decision making, must necessarily restrict the knowledge employed to that possessed by a relatively few limited minds and therefore prevent that flexible adaptation to ever-changing concrete circumstances whereby the order as a whole maintains itself. According to Hayek, then, the common good in a "great society" such as an advanced liberal society--one characterized by an extensive division of labor and knowledge and integrated by common economic, legal, and moral practices--consists in the fulfillment of the fundamental value implicitly held by all its members: the preservation of the social order as a whole, the abstract, enduring structure within which all individual and organizational activities must occur. Such a good is realized, moreover, by securing the general conditions that ensure the smooth functioning of the automatic coordination mechanism we call the market. CAPITALISM, NOT ALTRUISM, PROVIDES THE BEST PATH TO THE COMMON GOOD Reza Mahmoodshahi, Undergraduate student of economics and government at Cornell University, The Impotence of Altruism: Raping Productivity, THE CORNELL REVIEW, 9/29/2002,, downloaded July 23, 2003. Altruism asks one to give without asking for something in return. Man's natural tendency to avoid such offerings smacks of original sin and the notion of man's inherent corruption. However, there is no sin or corruption inherent to selfish decisions. Selfishness should be embraced instead of being widely perceived as the underbelly of human shame. The best evidence for the success and morality of selfishness is the modern capitalist system. Hans J. Morgenthau described the interplay of selfinterest and its productive fruits most clearly in his essay, The Moral Blindness of Scientific Man: The belief of laissez faire liberalism that the natural harmony of interests, that is, the common good, results from the free interplay of the enlightened self-interest of in...
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