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The Three Sources of Anti-Socialism: An Inquiry into the Normative Foundations of F.A. Hayek�s Politics.

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paper

  • Alexander Gallas
Publication date26/08/2005
Number of pages12
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventPerspectives on Moral Economy - Lancaster
Duration: 25/08/200527/08/2005


ConferencePerspectives on Moral Economy


Lenin once said that the three sources of Marxism were �German philosophy, English political economy, French socialism�. He thereby gave the mistaken impression that Marxist social theory was merely an eclectic mixture of incompatible approaches. It is not without irony that the spirit of Lenin�s bons mots in fact captures more accurately the thought of one of the most outspoken opponents of socialism, Friedrich A. Hayek. The normative dimension of Hayek�s work, as I will argue in my paper, is marked by an anti-socialist eclecticism that is grounded in an incoherent moral framework. His work draws on three sources of moral reasoning that deeply conflict with one another: (1) evolutionist relativism, (2) utilitarianism and (3) a Kantian conception of liberty. Hence he can be accused of attacking socialism whatever the costs � he tolerates fundamental inconsistencies in order to uphold his political position. This leads me to conclude that he fails to offer convincing justification of either the desirability of the neoliberal social order favoured by him, or the undesirability of socialism.