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It is a common argument I encountered by utilitarian defenders of capitalism to show places without a rational philosophy who manage to institute something like capitalism. How did places like Mauritius manage to become to freer than the US (in fact it is the only sub-saharan African nation to be in the top 10 in Heritage's Economic Freedom Index)? Did people in Chile keep the free market because they saw it worked? Why is that if they are Catholic and think altruism is the standard?

asked Jan 18 '12 at 15:15

Bas's gravatar image


edited Jan 05 '14 at 14:06

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

"places without a rational philosophy"

What does it mean for a place to have a rational philosophy?

(Jan 19 '12 at 10:47) Andrew Dalton ♦ Andrew%20Dalton's gravatar image

I meant "places where people don't hold a rational philosophy".

(Jan 22 '12 at 05:24) Bas Bas's gravatar image

I don't know much about Mauritius, but in Chile, the country suffered a huge economic disaster, with 1000% inflation and massive unemployment. It was only in response to that event that they were able to partly get their act together, with the help of some students of the Chicago school of economics.

New Zealand, which is at the top of the list of Heritage's Economic Freedom Index, went through a similar scenario: a near-collapse, followed by dramatically increased economic freedom.

It's as though people know what they need to do to make things better when they go bad, but they don't accept it at a deep enough level to keep it up when things start to look OK again.

answered Jan 19 '12 at 20:07

Rick's gravatar image

Rick ♦

But my point is that places like Chile keep it up when it looks okay, don't they? It is interesting to see. It seems like Utilitarian arguments might work in some kind of environment and might actually give us the time to continue to educate, so that one day it will be understood at deep level. Do you disagree?

(Jan 22 '12 at 05:26) Bas Bas's gravatar image

I think it remains to be seen if Chile (and New Zealand) will be able to stay free for any significant length of time. It's only been since about 1975 in Chile, right? And since about 1989 in NZ. In Chile, the large corporations that supported Pinochet are still as powerful as ever (there was a strike a while back where the police opened fire on the crowd). I do hope that the residents in these countries will come to understand the cause of their prosperity, but so far I can't say I've seen much evidence in that direction....

(Jan 22 '12 at 05:51) Rick ♦ Rick's gravatar image

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Asked: Jan 18 '12 at 15:15

Seen: 2,251 times

Last updated: Jan 05 '14 at 14:06