What we don’t know: Between planning and possibility

The limits of knowledge occupy a central position in political and economic thought. Hayek’s arguments against state control of the economy rested on the limited knowledge of any individual or organisation about the total economic data of a given society. This problem, the problem of what we don’t know, demanded an institution distributed enough to … Continue reading What we don’t know: Between planning and possibility

Love for sale: Capitalism, romanticism, and the market of marriage

One of the foremost literary products of capitalism is romanticism. This should be no surprise. Under capitalism, or market society, the economy encroaches on every area of life, as more and more things and activities become commodities for sale. Love is often considered one of those most precious elements that ‘money can’t buy’. Try telling … Continue reading Love for sale: Capitalism, romanticism, and the market of marriage

Everything ends: Explaining the modern world

It’s fashionable to explain today’s world through two prisms: modern politics and modern economics—or the modern state and capitalism. Even the words sound slightly intimidating. So instead of defining them from a dictionary, I would like to give a historical account of how these pillars of the modern world evolved. Meet Niccolò Machiavelli, an early … Continue reading Everything ends: Explaining the modern world

The foundational contradictions of liberalism

Liberalism is an ideology—a system of thought. It has a centrepiece: the individual, defined by liberalism as a free-floating unit, separate from other units. It has two basic contradictions: The politico-moral contradiction; and The public-private contradiction. Meet Immanuel Kant: A founding liberal. These contradictions arise from two factors. Liberalism: Accepts the early-modern separation between politics … Continue reading The foundational contradictions of liberalism

Vote Labour: My speech at the Cambridge Union

Yesterday, I gave the opening speech at the Cambridge Union for the proposition, 'This House Would Vote Labour'. Here's what I said (abridged). I hope you will join me in voting and/or campaigning for Labour in the coming UK General Election--because Labour will help everyone, not just the billionaire class: We’ve reached the fork in … Continue reading Vote Labour: My speech at the Cambridge Union