Biblioteca della Libertà

Anno XXVII, n. 117, aprile-giugno 1992

Liberalismo

Liberalism

Liberalismo

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

To commemorate the recent death of this great liberal ideologist, we have decided to republish this essay, which first appeared in Biblioteca della libertà in 1967 and which remains one of the best presentations of his liberalism. In the final paragraph of the essay we read, "Summarising the basic principles of a liberal society, in a society of this type all the state's coercive functions must be guided by the overriding importance of what I like to call the three great negatives: Peace, Justice and Liberty. In order to achieve these the state must limit its coercive functions to the enforcement of those prohibitions (established as a general rules) that are applicable to everyone, and, in virtue of the same rules, to collect from everyone part of the costs of other non-coercive services which it may decide to offer citizens with the material and human resources at its disposal for this purpose".

Abstract

Perché dovremmo tutti risparmiare di più

Why We Should All Save More: The Economics of the Saving Ethic

Perché dovremmo tutti risparmiare di più

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

This is the second of three lectures which may be summarised under the title Ethics and Economic Process. The first lecture was concerned with the work ethic. In this one the analysis that we should all work harder applies, with some variations, to saving and capital formation. The author reviews the origin of widespread dissatisfaction with the current saving rate in the United States. He examines the view that current saving rates are too low, albeit only because of various governmental policies, and analyses the effects of the Keynesian delusion. After making a categorical distinction between his own pro-saving argument and those founded on considerations of inter-generational ethics, the author proceedes to clarify his thesis. He defines saving and indicates what presupposition of the analytical models are required to equate an increase in saving with an increase in the size of the market nexus. After a brief comparison of the effects of increases in saving and in work effort, he examines the internationalisation of the externality involved in saving choices through ethical constraints.

Abstract

L'antropologia del cosmopolitismo

The Anthropology of Cosmopolitanism

L'antropologia del cosmopolitismo

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

In this essay the author makes a brief review of philosophical history, demonstrating the thesis that, contrary to what is frequently claimed, cosmopolitanism in its purest form appears only in the contemporary era. The first step in his argument consists of a critique of Popper's interpretation of the stoicism of the classical era as a forerunner of cosmopolitanism and the open society as opposed to the tribalism of the ancient city-state. Nor can stoicism – nor for that matter early Christian philosophy – claim to be effectively cosmopolitan or universalist in terms of political theory, first and foremost due to the radical difference which exists between the ancients' conception of the cosmos and that of the moderns. The analysis then moves on to the major figures of the Age of Enlinghtenment – Rousseau, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Condorcet, Lessing and Kant. Once more the conclusion is that they fail to embrace cosmopolitanism proper – transcending, that is, acknowledgement of the jus gentium and the aspiration to perpetual peace. Finally, three contemporary variants of cosmopolitanism are examined: the psychoanalytic version of Julia Kristeva, the neo-naturalism of Michel Serres and the neo-existentialism of Bernard-Henri Lévy. Whereas the first – tantamount to a sort of theory of affectivity – is insufficient, the other two produce results assimilable to those of the philosophers of the absurd, and are incomplete insofar as they fail to grasp the idea of a limited, precisely situated, incarnate human will.

Abstract

Ambiente: intervento pubblico o diritti privati?

Environment: Public Intervention or Private Rights?

Ambiente: intervento pubblico o diritti privati?

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

The gravity of the environmental crisis hitting the countries of the former communist bloc emphasises the degree to which the abolition of property rights and the market in favour of a system of centralised planning destroys not only the economy but also the environment. In liberal countries the predominant opinion and – to a large extent – practice favours the resolution of environmental problems essentially through regulation. The author uses a number of examples to demonstrate that, ostensibly with the best intentions, nationalisation policies ultimately damage the environment at increasingly high financial and also social costs, especially in terms of their restriction of individual freedom. Public authority has better to do than to try to replace the forces of the free market and the efforts of millions of property owners. The daunting top priority of governments is to provide for: (a) non-dissuasive taxes, (b) effective reviews of laws, policies, plans and programmes, (c) environment-oriented checks on bureaucracies, (d) free access of justice against polluters, even if the latter authorised by public authority, (e) extension of property rights to environmental assets as a whole through a restrictive definition of pure public goods.

Abstract

L'idea antiborghese in Italia

The Anti-Bourgeois Idea in Italy

L'idea antiborghese in Italia

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

The debate consists of three comments – by Vittorio Mathieu, Piero Melograni and Sergio Ricossa – on Domenico Settembrini's recent volume Storia dell'idea antiborghese in Italia (A history of the anti-bourgeois idea in Italy) followed by a counter-reply by the author himself.
Mathieu suggests that the chief merit of Settembrini's book is that it has rendered cheap anti-Fascism impossible, precisely inasmuch as it stresses the hidden continuity of pre-Fascist, Fascist and post-Fascist ideas and policies and the inadequacies of liberal ideas and policies. Piero Melograni is in substantial agreement with Settembrini's basic ideas. He maintains, however, that, albeit allotting due space to the ambivalence of Fascism – common to many other political movements in the 20th century, be they industrialist, ruralist, modernist or anti-modern – Settembrini underestimates a second aspect, that of Fascism's opposition to modernity. This phenomenon is reinforced in Italy by the persistence still today of anti-Western and anti-European religious and localist traditions which Fascism consciously upheld. Ricossa claims that if we are to speak of the anti-bourgeois idea in Italy, we must first distinguish between the various types of bourgeoisie subject to attack. It is a question of an authentic entrepreneurial bourgeoisie or rather of classes hanging on to monopolistic privileges and political protection. This has often been the case in Italy. Frequent too have been the case (due in part to the heritage of classical culture) of liberal theorists strongly influenced by anti-economic prejudices. The most illustrious example of all is that of Benedetto Croce.
In his reply, Settembrini once more develops the theses presented in the book. In particular he stresses the contradictions of liberal élites faced by the emergence of mass society. Such contradictions were stronger in Italy than elsewhere, and were still totally unresolved when the First World War came to interrupt the fledgling process of democratisation. They were, in turn, a mirror to the contradictions of Fascism. The latter was uncertain to the last whether to proceed – as the Bolsheviks had done in Russia – with the total annihilation of civilised society or to allow it to continue to exist and express itself, albeit only in part. By opting for the second course, Fascism decreed its own relatively long-term end much as Francoism was to do in Spain many years later.

Abstract

Prossimi eventi

23 Nov
Sala "Norberto Bobbio" - Torino
21 Nov
Grattacielo Intesa Sanpaolo - Torino

Diventa nostro amico su Facebook

Ricerche e Progetti

logo RGR medio

  • Recuperare la rotta é il titolo del XVIII Rapporto «Giorgio Rota» su Torino, presentato il 7 ottobre alla Biblioteca Nazionale.

lpf logo

Biblioteca F. Guerrini

biblioteca guerrini

 Dotata di oltre 9.000 volumi, offre una documentazione unica in Italia sul pensiero liberale contemporaneo.