Paranoid man has long history

In: Uncategorized

12 Mar 2007

Chris Dillow, author of the stumblingandmumbling blog, has written an entry questioning the intellectual history in last night’s Adam Curtis documentary (see yesterday’s dispatch). Dillow points out that the theory of people as selfish and paranoid dates back to Leviathan (1651) by Thomas Hobbes rather than the Cold War. The notion of self-interest generating social order is to be found in Berenard Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees (1714). Another flaw, Dillow argues, is that:

“Economists’ scepticism about the possibility of a common interest doesn’t just arise from a cynical view of human nature. It stems also from the problem of aggregating preferences – as Kenneth Arrow showed in his impossibility theorem. But then, Arrow was no rightist cold warrior, so he doesn’t fit Curtis’s template.”

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