- How Japan invented Los Angeles — and reinvented American style Colin Marshall, LARB
- China’s new attempt at creating a civil religion Ian Johnson, NYT
- Liberty gained and (Protestant) power lost David French, Dispatch
- How Delhi’s Muslim rulers presided over a fusion of cultures and religions Ramachandra Guha, TLS
A good friend of mine encouraged me to read this note published by James Jay Carafano, Vice President of The Heritage Foundation.
Despite being as compelling as it is well intentioned, the article misses to mention one of the main arguments for free markets: what once Friedrich Hayek described as “the competition as a discovery process.”
Indeed, the concept is insinuated in Carafano’s piece of writing: “He decided to make a splash in the sports car market by jumping into the race car racket. Initially, he planned to do it by buying the world’s premier race car manufacturer, Ferrari. But that plan fell flat. So Ford moved to Plan B: to field his own, all-American team.”
Businessmen, like any other kind of people, are rational: initially, they try to maximize their profits by avoiding competition. They are not heroes and nobody can ask them to be so. People, businessmen included, respond to incentives.
When there is not any other choice than competition, then innovation, ingenuity, and creativity arise. Not because of a change in the mind of certain businessmen, but for new innovative entrepreneurs outperform the non competitive ones.
The free market capitalist system James Jay Carafano praises is mostly an institutional arrangement named -once again- by Hayek as “competitive order.” Nevertheless, the most interesting question for our times is not about the virtues of the said free market capitalist system -which seem to be out of discussion- but whether competition under the rule of law deserves to have a Kantian “Cosmopolitan Purpose.”
- Ownership and productivity in a capitalist society Chris Dillow, Stumbling & Mumbling
- Provincial cosmopolitanism Nikki Usher, Cato Unbound
- China’s “bottom-up” cities (best essay on China this year) Bruno Maçães, City Journal
- The Democrats and their favorite mouthpiece Irfan Khawaja, Policy of Truth
I hope y’all had a chance to check out Ussama Makdisi’s essay on Ottoman cosmopolitanism from one of the nightcaps a few days back. It was excellent, and serves as good complement to Barry’s work on the Ottoman Empire here at NOL.
It’s especially good for a few reasons. First, it has a useful explanation of the mandate system that London and Paris experimented with. Second, it’s comparative and brings in lots of different modes of governance. Third, there is an interesting discussing about citizenship (consult NOL for more on citizenship, too). Lastly, it explains well why the Arab world continues to wallow in extreme inequality and authoritarianism.
Makdisi represents a shift in thinking in Arab circles away from victimization and towards self-determination and responsibility: no longer are the French and British (and Jews) to be reviled and blamed for everything that’s wrong with the Middle East. There is a shift towards internationalist thinking. The Americans now play a positive role in what could have been (and still might be) a freer Middle East. The British and French have factions now and some of them were supportive of Arab voices, some of them not. Arab scholars are finally benefiting from the American university educational system, probably because there are so many Arabs studying in the US now.
Makdisi’s piece is not a libertarian interpretation, but it’s a start.