The Non Sequitur of the “Dependence Effect" Essay

1334 Words Jun 21st, 2010 6 Pages
1. Introduction: The problem or issue the author addresses is who should control the means of production – the private or the public.

2. Summary of the article/argument.

von Hayek counters Galbraith’s The Dependence Effect by pointing out that the crux of the argument relies on a flaw that ultimately leads a faulty conclusion. While agreeing that many of our wants are created by production, von Hayek illustrates that society’s “highest” desires, including art, literature and education, are instilled in us by there very creation. Were it not that, say, the works of scholars, artists and writers ever created then there would be no desire for the Mona Lisa, Romeo & Juliet and Plato’s The Republic.

3. The author’s conclusion is…
…show more content…
von Hayek cheerfully disassembles Galbraith’s argument by showing there is no direct link between the source of wants and their relative importance. While agreeing that many of our wants are created by production, von Hayek illustrates that society’s “highest” desires, including art, literature and education, are instilled in us by there very creation. Were it not that, say, the works of scholars, artists and writers ever created then there would be no desire for the Mona Lisa, Romeo & Juliet and Plato’s The Republic. Galbraith would have us believe that the desire for these are not important, simply because “production creates the wants it seeks to satisfy.” von Hayek disagrees that only the intrinsic wants of food, shelter and sex are important, showing that, while producers and advertisers can influence our wants, the product cannot determine want as Galbraith implies. As the importance of want is not determined by the source of desire, Galbraith’s claim to have created an argument that justifies, in essence, Bastiat’s “legal plunder” is defeated, and the free market is defended. von Hayek’s defense is sound, but, fortunately for me, an attack on the logic rather than the ethics of the argument. While von Hayek identifies Galbraith’s fallacy and defends the attack on liberty and the market, he ignores the core moral argument and misses an opportunity to dispatch of The

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