Biblioteca della Libertà

Anno XXVIII, n. 120, gennaio-marzo 1993

Il libero scambio nelle società contemporanee

Free Exchange in Contemporary Societies

Il libero scambio nelle società contemporanee

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

Two contradictory phenomena may be observed in world commerce today: de facto globalisation, as a result of technical progress in transport and communications, and enhanced by a certain liberalisation of international trade (reduced customs tariffs, abolition of exchange controls, financial deregulation etc.), is counterpoised by the proliferation of non-traditional forms of protectionism (import quotas, anti-dumping rights, self-limitation agreements, miscellaneous subsidies, especially towards research and development), which are increasing rapidly and whose effects, albeit difficult to evaluate exactly, are nonetheless most certainly underestimated. In actual fact, the present economic crisis might well be due to the blocking of a considerable portion of resources in sectors of low or uncertain productivity. It would be an illusion, however, to imagine that it is possible to use protectionism to reduce the effects of globalisation, which, in the developed countries, are felt most of all on the labour market. An economy anaesthetised by protectionism does not change nor does it continue to grow, while social tensions are much harder to deal with in a stagnant economy than in a growing economy. The fact is that global commerce is the only tool capable of ensuring long term, across-the-board exploitation of the opportunities of specialisation which modern technology offers.

Abstract

Perché gli argomenti egualitari hanno successo

Why Do Egalitarians Win the Arguments?

Perché gli argomenti egualitari hanno successo

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

This paper surveys the various arguments for and against the use of government to redistribute incomes in order to produce a more equal distribution. Major attention is given to the arguments opposing redistribution. A primary purpose of the paper is to try to explain why the arguments opposing redistribution are not particularly persuasive to egalitarians.

Abstract

Otto argomenti sulla moralità del mercato

Eight Arguments about the Morality of Marketplace

Otto argomenti sulla moralità del mercato

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

The purpose of this paper is to discuss eight arguments as to the morality of markets. Five of them derive from recent discussions in Britain, two from Pope John Paul II, while the author also puts forward one of his own for good measure. The first five arguments deal with covetousness, the epistemic aspect, autonomy, the growing immateriality of preferences and the manifest discontents of materialism. Pope John Paul II's two arguments are those of creativity and the community. The eighth and final argument is that of universal opportunity: that is, the liberation of the poor. The paper ends with a section on the ambiguities of markets.

Abstract

Il metodo dei liberali

The Liberal Method

Il metodo dei liberali

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

The thesis formulated by the American scholar Francis Fukuyama that, by ending the ideological conflict which has dominated the history of the West for two centuries, the fall of communism has marked the "end of history", has been strongly criticised, especially by liberals. The thesis, however, contains more truth than has so far been acknowledged, for liberalism as a political method emerges as the undisputed winner of the ideological conflict. This is demonstrated also by the fact that today the left is questioning its own raison d'être and theoretical foundations. The terms "right" and "left" have not become empty labels, if "right" is taken as loyalty to the tradition agreed upon and achieved and "left" as the commitment to break the chains of economic and political privilege. What is new is that today any effort to "rethink" the left must set out from reconsideration of the problem of method, of the way of addressing problems, shifting from a totalising to an experimental conception of knowledge. This is the greatest legacy of lay and liberal culture and tradition.

Abstract

Può esistere un mercato «sociale»?

Does the Ordo-liberal Concept of "Marktkonform" Hold Up to Critical Examination?

Può esistere un mercato «sociale»?

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

After the demise of the fundamentalist form of socialism, constructivists have proposed "market socialism". This concept turns out to be self-contradictory. Social policy in Europe is based on the idea of "Social Market" – 'SM' for short. The idea is a cluster of descriptive and normative assumptions. The core of the most sophisticated of the various versions of 'SM' is the concept of state intervention in line with the market – "Marktkonform". The thesis that there is a method of redistribution that is in harmony with the market is not falsifiable in the Popperian sense, but verifiable. Hence some examples are examined that have been used to support the claim that the class of "Marktkonform" measures is not an empty one. The cases do not stand up to the test. It transpires that the problem which 'SM' is supposed to solve is one of value. A prerequisite condition for a rational discussion of any value problem is that the value system referred to has been made explicit and articulated.

Abstract

Hayek, gli individui e le comunità

Hayek, Individuals and Communities

Hayek, gli individui e le comunità

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

Liberalism has traditionally been interpreted by left and right alike as the ideology of the strong and the violent. One of the victims of this misunderstanding of liberal theory during the present century has been the thinking of Friedrich A. von Hayek, accused more than once of formulating a philosophy to promote an unjust social order based on the will of the wealthy and those controlling the means of production. This essay seeks to develop a reflection upon the alleged "inhumanity" of Hayek's conception and on its "absence of solidarity and sociality", denounced by scholars of the right and the left who accuse Hayek of having a historicist, Darwininian vision supposedly aimed at lending an ideological cover to what they regard as the exploitation system of western capitalism.

Abstract

La funzione della politica monetaria

What Monetary Policy Can and Cannot Do

La funzione della politica monetaria

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

In their analysis of monetary policy, observers and actors are tending more and more to concentrate their attention on the interpretation of the actions of decision-makers and the details of their implementation. The effect of this obsession with detail has led them to lose sight of long-term political objectives. Monetary policy is expected to act on real variables, such as the real interest rate or the employment rate. Yet, in reality, these variables are totally beyond its control. What monetary policy can do, first and foremost, is not transform itself into a source of disturbance for the economy. Secondly, it may also foster high, sustainable real growth by stabilising the aggregate price levels. Yet government and its agencies are unable to ensure what is the cornerstone of any market-oriented  private planning, namely a credible commitment to price stability, the effect of which would be a system of low, stable interest rates. If the monetary authorities were prepared to make a pledge of this kind and were clearly determined to maintain it, observers' attention too would shift from the perceived effects of short-term adjustments to concentrate instead on the long-term approach, the only one of fundamental significance.

Abstract

Immigrazione e diritti

Immigration and Rights

Immigrazione e diritti

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

This article is a reply to the thesis sustained by Hans-Hermann Hoppe in his essay "Migration, Centralism and Secession in Contemporary Europe", published in n. 118 of Biblioteca della libertà. Policies of immigration, or emigration, restriction, like policies of birth control, are tantamount to limitations on individual liberty, implemented in the name of an alleged general interest. It is senseless to seek to use public decisions to determine the optimal dimensions of migratory flows. In western Europe, it is the present situation of immigration control which creates negative effects on wage levels and employment among the natives of the host countries. These effects would not ensue if immigration were free. Instead of blaming the drop in real wages to immigration, it would be fair to attribute its causes to immigration and social policy, which invariably lead to low-quality immigration.

Abstract

Riforma morale e riforma istituzionale: considerazioni di un giurista

Moral Reform and Institutional Reform: A Jurist's Considerations

Riforma morale e riforma istituzionale: considerazioni di un giurista

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

The issue of institutional reform – much debated in Italy today and on which parliament is busy at work – has excessive influence on public opinion. It thus rouses expectations which run the risk of being disappointed. The moral question, for example, may be linked to institutional reform, but depends, above all, both on a more general crisis of ethics and on the lack of government alternatives in Italy since the War. To break this deadlock, it is not enough to invoke the replacement of proportionalism with the uninominal system. Although the latter is much preferable, the fact remains that elections are held not to choose the best individuals but to make a choice between different political approaches. It is necessary therefore to invent new rules designed to set unambiguous, univocal parties against one another. Without forgetting, however, that the decisive factor resides not in the rules but in the general humus of the various national societies and the political approaches that materialise there.

Abstract

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