We have moved on from London to Prague where tonight was the opening for the Mont Pelerin Society. Half of the Catallaxy crew are here, myself, Sinclair, Alan and Julie, so it’s kind of old home week. But it’s a pleasure to be sitting next to people who are as plugged in as they are on this side of the political divide in the countries they are from.
The attack on free markets comes from every direction. By reading Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow I have been really made aware of the hostility that comes from a belief that people are “irrational” so that leaving things to the market can never work out. Perusal of titles in just one book store came up with:
Everything is Obvious Once you Know the Answer: How Common Sense Fails
Bounce: the Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions
The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone
How Markets Fail: the Logic of Economics devoted to disproving that “markets are inherently rational”
Luckily I also picked up a copy of Vernon Smith’s Rationality and Economics which explains, for example, why the Czech Republic, having gotten rid of the centralisers and the commissars and the central planners have also found their way to a new prosperity, never mind the freedoms that have come with it. People for some reason are always trying to prove that they can work out how to improve on reality when every experiment in central direction has been a disaster.
We were addressed tonight first by Ken Minogue and then Vaclav Klaus, two of the great philosophers of liberty and freedom. You cannot imagine what a great pleasure it is to be here before having to return to the real world next week.