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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 5 / 2009 (534)

The Liberty of the Crisis

„No obstacle has been as constant or as difficult to overcome as the incertitude and the confusion regarding the true nature of liberty. If it is true that certain hostile interests have brought great loses, then wrong ideas have been even more detrimental.”
John E.E.D. Acton (Lord)

The movement of ideas around the global crisis (meaning a moral one as well, alongside the economical crisis) tries to carve up material solutions in the name of the idea of liberty. In fact, for various - not always rational - reasons, the very content of freedom is being reloaded. The attempt is dissipated around the "for" or "against" options for regulation.

The confusion is one of principle: liberty is superimposed on the individually distributed will for power. The consequence of this confusion extends over the functions of the market, when the market is considered the infallible moderator of private interests in the match between their individual affirmation and their social confirmation.

How this could be achieved remains a mystery deepened by the current crisis as long as there will be no break from the vicious circle of fundamentalist or self-sufficient assumptions. Among others, the most persistent assumption - in the sense that it refuses change - is that one way or another, faster or slower, the crisis will pass by itself. Therefore there would be no need for intervention, nor even more so for a change of the vision that has generated the crisis.

The obvious (though not innocent) conclusion is that the economy is the direct expression of a theory of economics in which we would necessarily have to believe regardless of the consequences of its insufficiencies. And this due to an absolutely irrational argument: if we accepted another theory we would have opted for a pernicious ideology. The suggestion though stems from another sufficiency of an ideological nature: regulating the market would mean an attack on liberty!

Connecting the categories is illogical if only for the fact that it defies the rational limits for liberty. Liberty, in this formula, is denied the social acknowledgement sense of its individual fundament. The determinants of liberty would belong, apparently, only to the natural order in its Platonic sense, where lack of change represents the ideal. What should not change? The structure of the order which produces crisis. Why should it not change? Because the crisis' ideal through the workings of which the natural order is being reproduced would be given up upon. Why should the market not be regulated? Because it should act like a centrifuge, meaning it should excessively exclude. What would this mean? Liberty would have degrees of fulfillment: many, very many in the center; few, even none at the periphery. The Paretian truth is the substance of the liberty guaranteed by the deregulated - at most self-regulated - market.

The bickering around the solutions for exiting the crisis is, basically, a problem of theoretical positioning on either the peak of neo-monetarism, or the one of neo-Keynesianism. Either way, it is an unfortunate positioning because it was proven to be creating ideologies.

The key for breaking the dispute is to situate ourselves away from the peaks of theoretically rarified options. We can find this key in the spontaneous order tailored by the sovereign rules of learning, the only process which respects nature's capacity of not taking deadly leaps from one peak to another. The key resides in following the common sense rule of following the middle path between the risks of the abyss or of the wall.

The method of marking the path, following the rule of seeing and doing that which bestows rational sense on the mechanisms of the market, is the one which minimizes the losses for many without maximizing the wins for only a few. There is no doubt that "marking the path" supposes rules of the game through which win and loss follow the sense of distribution given by the compromise between efficiency and equitability.

Thus liberty holds chances to come back to what it essentially is: an explicit expression of the will for democratic power, avoiding the Paretian loops of the deviant distribution of property.

Liberty cannot be anything other than humanization, a product of the moral rule which has polished human nature.


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The Liberty of the Crisis
Marin Dinu

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