Philosophy of markets

The very excellent Lisa Herzog interviewed here. H/T to Eric Schliesser.

The cliché is that Smith is a “negative liberty” guy and Hegel a “positive liberty” guy. In fact, both have very nuanced accounts of how different dimensions of freedom are realized in a modern society; the freedom to do what you want with your property – which is sometimes called economic freedom – is only one of them. For example, for Smith the market is also a school of autonomy, because it teaches individuals to become self-reliant and to take their own decisions about their lives; this may seem naive from today’s perspective, but it was written in a time when many people’s lives were predetermined by customs and traditions, and markets indeed had some liberating potential. What I find very interesting is that Smith and Hegel do not try to reduce freedom to one basic notion; rather, they acknowledge its various dimensions, and ask about the ways in which these can find a place in the institutions of a modern society. I find this very convincing as a way of thinking about freedom.

Adam_Smith,_1723_-_1790._Political_economist_-_Google_Art_Project