Kinds of Rationalism

“Kinds of Rationalism.” The Economic Studies Quarterly 15, no. 3 (Tokyo, 1965).


“In the course of my critical examination of certain dominance beliefs of our time I have sometimes had to make a difficult choice. It often happens that quite specific demands are labeled by a perfectly good word which in its more general sense describes a thoroughly desirable and generally approved activity. Indeed the specific demands which I find it necessary to oppose are often the result of the belief that, if a certain attitude is usually beneficial, it must be beneficial in all applications. The difficulty which this creates for the critic of current beliefs I have first encountered in connection with the word “planning.” That we should think out before hand what we are going to do, that a sensible ordering of our lives demands that we should have a clear conception of our aims before we start acting, seems so obvious that it appears difficult to believe that the demand for planning should ever be wrong. All economic activity, in particular, is planning decisions about the use of resources for all the competing ends. It would, therefore, seem particularly absurd for an economist to oppose “planning” in this most general sense of the word.”

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