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The Unproductive Labor of Politics: Arendt’s reading of Adam Smith

Richard Halpern, “Eclipse of Action: Hamlet and the Political Economy of Playing,” Shakespeare Quarterly, Volume 59, Number 4, Winter 2008, pp. 450-482 As he formulates an original response to the classic problem of Hamlet’s non-action, Halpern offers one of the few critical analyses of Arendt’s reading of Adam Smith in The Human Condition. He shows…Read more The Unproductive Labor of Politics: Arendt’s reading of Adam Smith Posted on 22 January 2014 | 1:13 pm

The Way Forward

It is a fallacy to think that political thinking can exist separately from economic thinking. Hannah Arendt, no economist, saw clearly that the origins of totalitarianism were, in large part, traceable to the importing of economic thinking (unlimited growth) into the political realm, where politics is concerned with geographical, social, and moral limits. The economic…Read more The Way Forward Posted on 20 April 2012 | 3:08 pm

For the Welfare of All

A reader responds to my post on The Great Cultural Divide and reminds me that perhaps Charles Murray’s most interesting suggestion in his new book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010, is for a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) or what used to be called a “negative income tax.” The post, by a reader…Read more For the Welfare of All Posted on 15 February 2012 | 2:34 pm

Vigilance in the Name of Freedom

I recently was sent the following quotation by Friedrich Hayek, the economist and political thinker. Personally, I find that the most objectionable feature of the conservative attitude is its propensity to reject well-substantiated new knowledge because it dislikes some of the consequences which seem to follow from it – or, to put it bluntly, its…Read more Vigilance in the Name of Freedom Posted on 27 January 2012 | 11:55 am