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Wednesday, October 29, 2003

On Hayek

Last night, I finished the first chapter of "The Fatal Conceit." Definitely some interesting ideas, although I find the obscurity of the writing a bit annoying. When I read books like this, I'm struck by two impressions: (a) the author must take great pride in such an elitist writing style so full of references that it would take a Torah-like devotion to untangle it all (which, I'm guessing, he hopes will spawn cultist devotees), and (b) perhaps such opaqueness is necessary to hide flaws in logic. My point is, I think he could have made his points much more simply and clearly.

Self-organizing structures
Instinct -> tradition -> reason
The unpredictable nature of biological and cultural evolution
(Perhaps Hayek should have been forced to stick to a PowerPoint format)

Nonetheless, I'm intrigued enough to continue reading. While contemplating what I read, I jotted down some ideas and questions in my journal. This morning, I found a website with an interesting critique of the book that reflected some of my initial concerns -- which perhaps Hayek will address in later chapters. Feel free to comment. I expect to learn much more as I read on, and, no doubt, will have more opinions of my own to post.

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