Tom Woods on a recent idiotic conference at Harvard where we were told that only blockheads still believe in the free market:
Last weekend, Harvard University sponsored a conference called (I am not making this up) "The Free Market Mindset: History, Psychology, and Consequences." Its purpose was to try to figure out why, since everyone knows the current crisis amounts to a failure of the market economy, the stupid rubes continue to believe in it. The promotional literature for the conference opened with That Quotation from Alan Greenspan – the one in which he suggested that there was, after all, a "flaw" in the free market he hadn’t noticed before.
Well, that does it, then! If our Soviet commissar in charge of money and interest rates says the free market doesn’t work, who are you to disagree?
The promotional material continues: "If the current state of the U.S. economy makes clear that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's faith in free markets was misplaced, the question remains: what was it about free markets that proved – and still continues to prove – so alluring to economists, scholars, and policy-makers alike?" Because, of course, if there’s one guiding principle behind the largest government in world history, it’s free markets. Ahem.
This conference, we were told, "brings together leading scholars in law, economics, social psychology, and social cognition to present and discuss their research regarding the historical origins, psychological antecedents, and policy consequences of the free market mindset. Their work illustrates that the magic of the marketplace is partially an illusion based on faulty assumptions and outmoded approaches." The speakers then spent the day, I am sure, laying out their own faulty assumptions and outmoded approaches, and studiously ignoring the Austrian School of economics.
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