>Post-Marxism and Thameslink – Hayek and the Czechs

More reading of Laclau and Mouffe on a Thamelink traint his time their ‘Post-Marxism without Apologies’ riposte to orthodox Marxist Norman Geras. Surprisingly easy to concentrate despite Thameslink’s rather cramped and old rolling stock, provided there are no loud David Brentish mobile calls in the background.

Despite the passages of langue de bois, they seem to win the argument. Some unresolved issues in their response, however – a stone may indeed be a projectile, objet d’art, deity etc depending how discursively constructed, but it be a banana? Surrealism aside, does material reality constrain how objects can be meaningful consructed

Interesting online paper on Hayek and Vaclav Klaus.

Pavlik J (1999). ‘About the Misintepreatation of Hayek’s Theory of Spontaneous Order and Their Negative Impacts on the Transformation Programme in the Czech Republic’, E-Logos, http://vse.cz/kfil/elogos/miscellany/pavlik-3.htm (accessed 24 March 2006).

Suggests that Klaus’s arguments about spontaneous order are bogus and pseudo-Hayekian, as his notion of ‘spontaneity’ is that it is the aggregate of individual actors’ conscious strategic actions, not the unintended side-effect thereof. Also very critical of Klausian argument that law in a transition context will emerge ‘spontaneously’ from the norms that economic actors first develop informally – more a recipe for unstable equilibrium more akin to a Hobbesian war of all against all, except that there will be no effective enforcement in the Klaus vision with law lagging behind market development. Pavlik suggests that Klaus saw law as in effect simply reflecting the balance of power and interests between lobbies. A doctrine of legal nihilism with echoes of the situation under late communism, in fact. Interesting contrast with Klaus’s more familiar liberal rhetoric about blocking the political influence of interest groups, maintaining a strong and coherent state to advance transformation etc. But was he just describing a (difficult but unavoidable) situation of over powerful interests or advocating it as a Hayekian form of development?

Little else of substance written on the reception of Hayek in the Czech lands or the Central European character of Hayek – I can’t even find out if Road to Serfdom was translated into Czech the late 1940s. I have a feeling that it might have been, although Given the dissident translations of the 1980s. Nothing listed in the Czech National Library’s online catalogue.

Interesting parliamentary election results in Ukraine. Not the total rout of pro-Western ‘Orange’ forces touted by some of the media despite the weak performance of the presidential party due to the split between two Orange blocs. Overall the Orange narrowly outpolls the Blue (pro-Russian). The interesting thing is how reform coalitions disintegrate not the already (!) over-researched dynamics of ‘second transitions’ and Coloured Revolutions, although naturally interesting to see if Belarus and the more subtle semi-authoritarianism of Russia will go the same way.

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