Pathologies of the mixed economy (or, How we got into this frackin’ mess)


Putting into one flowchart what I have learned from Adam Smith, Ayn Rand, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, James Buchanan, and Gordon Tullock.

The flowchart is in spreadsheet format: the short version and the long version in Excel 2007 or in Excel 97-2003. Update: DJ Dates has a cool, scalable Google maps version of the flowchart at his website.

Feel welcome to modify and add to as you wish.

I’m in the midst of discussing this material in my Business and Economic Ethics course, in a unit on business ethics in a mixed economy.

For reference purposes:

Academic title: “The Sociology of Dysfunctional Nonstandard Political-Economic Systems.”

Public Intellectual title: “The Evolution of the Mixed Economy.”

Casual title: “How We Got Into This Frackin’ Mess.”

9 thoughts on “Pathologies of the mixed economy (or, How we got into this frackin’ mess)

  • March 4, 2009 at 12:56 am

    Could you post the long version in an earlier version of excel? My excel 2000 can’t read it.


  • March 16, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Fabulous chart – and I keep laughing over the “Casual Title”!

  • March 18, 2009 at 8:30 am

    This is excellent and very clarifying (a Stephen Hicks diagram > 100 mainstream articles), but I do have one suggestion. I think there’s an ambiguity in the way you use the concept of “gain” throughout the diagram. You say, for instance, that people “gain” through trade, but you also say that predators “gain” through force. That’s only true if “gain” is interpreted narrowly to mean “make a net gain in holdings of wealth.” But predatory gain (meaning all force-initiating gain) is, ethically speaking, not real gain at all. It’s a loss to the predator. The diagram seems to imply that predators make some gains but non-predators make “greater” ones. And that implies in turn that predatory and non-predatory gains are commensurable with each other, but only differ by degree. But I agree with Tara Smith (and I suspect you do too) that predatory and non-predatory gains are incommensurable. They are not the same gain differing by degree, but two different kinds of thing: gain and loss.

    It would complicate things, but I think there needs to be a way to indicate purely financial net gain from all-things-considered ethical gains on the diagram. Predators get the former but not the latter. Non-predators get both. One of the problems with both standard economics and Public Choice is that it fails to make such distinctions the way Objectivism does.

  • Pingback: Topics about Economy » Archive » Stephen Hicks, Ph.D. » Pathologies of the Mixed Economy

  • Pingback: Business Ethics Training Can Ethics Classes Cure Cheating? - How To Fix Business Schoo= ls … «

  • Pingback: Stephen Hicks, Ph.D. » APEE talk on the mixed economy

Comments are closed.