1998

 

Biblioteca della libertà, XXXIII (1998), January-February, n. 143
pp. 112, Lit. 20,000

 

ù Tega, Walter. For Human Governance. A Memory of Isaiah Berlin • pp. 3-9

This essay recapitulates the salient features of the thinking and intellectual activity of the great liberal political philosopher Isaiah Berlin, who died recently. Berlin’s conception of liberty – hence his conception of politics – derived from the history of ideas and his own personal interpretation of the western intellectual tradition. His conclusion was that the values men believe in and on the basis of which they act may clash and come into conflict. Not that the position Berlin derives from his awareness is a relativist one. On the contrary, his refutation of consolatory perspectives – i.e., the idea that the history of men follows a defined course, maybe not in terms of its specific stages but certainly of its final point of arrival – and of Utopias – which broaden the horizons of the imagination but, when they assume a guiding role in political action, tend to have fatal outcomes – leads him to rely on the limited, but reassuring hopes of human governance of things and facts and a civilising of the form of politics which is most satisfactory for mankind in the long run.

ù Novak, Michael. Human Dignity, Personal Freedom • pp. 11-23

The New Economics emphasises the role of human capital and comprises concepts that are crucial for the history of mankind, such as freedom, dignity, conscience and person. This essay seeks to reconstruct their origin. The issue of human dignity is analysed largely through the impact of Christianity on economics. The theological category of imago Dei attributes to human beings the duty to be creative in order to build the kingdom of God. The freedom to choose how we wish to spend our lives is the reason for life itself and the essence of the human drama. But if each human being is made in God’s image, this implies that everyone possesses the same dignity. Consequently, (interior) freedom and dignity are two closely connected aspects which, together with the concepts of conscience and person, owe their entry into western culture to the reflection on the Bible.

ù Simmons, Randy T., Smith, Fred L.Jr. and Georgia, Paul. Property Rights for the Protection of the Environment • pp. 25-43

To illustrate the management challenges faced by those who wish to avoid the tragedy of the commons (as defined by Garrett Hardin in his famous 1968 article), the authors extend Hardin’s village example by considering the two different forms of social arrangement he suggested as possible solutions to the problem: political management and private property. The pros and cons of each arrangement are evaluated for a series of management issues, including enforcement, risk management, information costs, cost-benefit calculus, site-specific management, flexibility, incentives, innovation, time frames, priorities and transaction costs. The conclusion is that private management through clearly defined property rights is superior to political management on every count. We can improve resources management greatly by relying more on property rights and market forces and less on political management.

ù Fernández Ordóñez, Miguel Ángel. Privatising networked services / Breaking the Monopoly
• pp. 45-50

This essay explains the differences between the introduction of competition to protected but non-monopoly sectors – liberalisation – from the same operation in monopoly sectors – deregulation. The author shows that, although the objective is the same in both cases – i.e., to introduce as much competition as possible – the policies that need to be implemented are different; or, to be more precise, the order in which they have to be applied varies. He goes on to highlight the different ways in which competition is introduced in the two types of sectors: in protected ones, it is necessary first to liberalise the sector and then introduce antitrust measures; in monopolies, on the other hand, it is necessary first to restructure – that is, create a plurality of enterprises to ensure the consumer freedom of choice – and then liberalise.

ù Littlechild, Stephen C. Privatising networked services / The Model fo Electricity Sector in the United Kingdom• pp. 51-60

This essay describes the way in which networked services have been privatised in the United Kingdom, focusing on two aspects in particular: first, the original decision to introduce price caps for British Telecom services when the company was privatised in 1984; second, the experience of the British electricity industry after privatisation. These two cases illustrate the development and effects of the shift to private ownership, of the introduction of a system of competition and of the new style of regulation. Although price control based on the RPI-X formula has entailed a certain amount of regulation, comparison with the previous situation suggests that it is reasonable to define the provisions adopted as deregulation. In general, a system of competition has developed capable of challenging the dominant positions of the previous monopoly-holders, efficiency has increased, prices have dropped and service quality has improved.

ù Montaner, Carlos Alberto. Latin America / The Happy Rediscovery of Economic Freedom...
• pp. 61-69

The author first argues that Latin American liberalism is part of the Euro-Iberian tradition. He then reconstructs the history of liberal thought and political activity in the continent, comparing it to that of conservatism and populism. This particularity of Latin American history combined with scarce inclination for theoretical investigation led to a form of tendentially pragmatic liberalism, which nevertheless struggled to be accepted until very recently, when other developmentist strategies revealed glaring limits. To this day, even if liberal ideas have been accepted by most political parties, liberalism is still harshly criticised and has a hard time struggling to organise a coherent political proposal. Austerity, though, is unavoidable and the consequent task of liberals is to educate Latin Americans to accept new liberal ways of addressing old problems.

ù Braun, Carlos Rodríguez. Latin America / ... Cannot Do Without Political and Civil Liberty
• pp. 71-74

While allowing that the ground covered by liberty in Latin America in recent years has been remarkable, the author suggests that in stressing the need to enlarge the role of the market in the continent’s economies, liberalism has overlooked the importance of the institutional framework, an indispensable ingredient of the liberal philosophy itself. This bias has confused the necessary union of all liberties, prompting some liberals to express appreciation for otherwise very illiberal political regimes simply because they followed market-oriented economic policies. Today the situation has changed for the better from the political point of view, but democratic level of many Latin American countries is still unsatisfactory. Consequently, the message these over-enthusiastic liberals is conveying – namely, that governments should not be subject to too many "checks and balances", especially if they are performing well economically – is still highly illiberal.

ù Giretti, Edoardo. Against Protectionism • pp. 81-97

Born in 1864 in Torre Pellice in Piedmont, Edoardo Giretti was an industrialist, a free-lance journalist and a member of parliament, where he was an opponent of Giolitti. The pages we present here are taken from his most famous work, Per la libertà del pane (For the Freedom of the Bread), published in 1901. Giretti’s arguments seek to confute the thesis that duties and protections in a sector which was then so essential could create situation preferable to that of free trade. The reader will thus appreciate how the anti-liberiste positions of that time were the same as those invoked today to support direct or indirect protectionist policies. More specifically, Giretti adamantly refuses the idea that free trade is a true principle in some circumstances and not in others, and that, basically, everything boils down to choosing the right moment for each. This position is perfectly in tune with Luigi Einaudi’s and the exact opposite of that of the protectionists, dirigistes and followers of corporatism who, alas, have always had the upper hand in the history of Italy.

 

Biblioteca della libertà, XXXIII (1998), March-April, n. 144
pp. 108, Lit. 20,000

 

ù Deaglio, Mario. The Storm, the Ship and the Helmsman: Italy’s Condition in the Global Economy • pp. 3-14

This essay draws an overview of the storm (changes in the global economy), the ship (Italy) and the helmsman (the Italian government and its lines of action) on the basis of the Terzo rapporto sull'economia globale e l'Italia (Third Report on the Global Economy and Italy), published by the Centro Einaudi and Vitale Borghesi & C. The storm is the crisis in Asia. The importance of this crisis was underestimated at first, but it has now – in the Far East at least – cast serious doubts on the very idea of the global economy’s capacity for self-regulation, while, in the meantime, the West continues to score successes. Moving on to the ship, the author reconstructs the difficulties experienced by Italy over the last seven years: he concludes that changes in the production structure objectively weaken the country, but also offer grounds for hope in the future. He then goes on to analyse Italy’s attempts to put its financial house in order. The culmination of this action was the country’s joining the Euro process, though many doubts have been raised about the way in which it went about the task. Lastly, the author lists the conditions – basically, a growth rate of around 3 per cent of the GDP – needed to set the ship sailing again.

ù Markl, Hubert. Basic Research and the Future of Europe • pp. 15-23

If we ponder the future of Europe, the first question we have to ask ourselves is: what does "Europe" actually mean? The answer is that Europe is, above all, an intellectual tradition which, geographically, by no means coincides with the boundaries of the Union itself. At the heart of this tradition lie rationalism and scientific method, patently the best way of ensuring the growth and wellbeing of human beings. Today, as a result of the demographic explosion and truly global economic competition, science has to address its toughest challenge ever. The problem is that the Europe of the fifteen spends no more than 1.8 per cent of its GDP on basic research, a figure which is obviously far too low. It is thus vital to improve the quality of education systems in European countries, to offer incentives to scientific and technological research and innovation in private industry and, finally, to boost basic research carried out for the love of science itself.

ù Evers, Kathinka. The Identity of Clones • pp. 25-33

The belief that cloning produces identical individuals is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the type of identity relationship cloning actually involves. The concept of "identity" is ambiguous and the statement that clones are "identical" individuals is meaningless unless we clarify the very notion of identity. This paper distinguishes between numerical and qualitative, relational and intrinsic, logical and empiric identities and discusses the empiric individuation of clones in terms of genetics, physiology, perception, cognition and personality. It argues that the only identity relationship involved in cloning is qualitative, intrinsic and empiric; in other words, genetic indiscernibility, which does not comprise the other aspects of identity mentioned. A popular argument against cloning claims our right to a unique identity. This objection either implies (absurdly) the right not to be an identical twin, or assumes (incorrectly) that cloning involves identities other than genetic identity. Either way the argument is untenable.

ù Debate / Liberals against the Communitarians: A New Watershed • pp. 35-68

The opinions published here sum up the ongoing debate (which began in the United States in the early Eighties and which has since shifted to Europe) between liberals and communitarians on points of conflict and points of convergence (which are few and far between, but do nevertheless exist) between their respective positions. Alain de Benoist (Communitarians and Liberals) makes a detailed reconstruction of the political theses of communitarians and their criticism of liberalism, both theoretically – the pre-eminence of society against the pre-eminence of the individual – and practically – phenomena of anomia, conflict, exasperated individualism and inflation of rights, which afflict the great contemporary democracies. André Berten (Communitarians against Modernity) speaks in terms of a "communitarian nebula" and a common refutation of modernity, but also stresses how, in reality, the communitarian critique has led many liberal authors – John Rawls, first and foremost – to make a partial review of their position. Alain Laurent (Rethinking Individualism) outlines a possible answer to the communitarian criticism of certain degenerative phenomena in contemporary societies. It is, he says, necessary to reassert a form of individualism capable of freeing itself from irrationalist and subjectivist drifts, on the one hand, and from the "sweet temptations of totalitarianism", on the other. Laurent argues that Ayn Rand’s objectivism provides the base for doing thus. Angelo M. Petroni (Communitarianism, so what?) sees communitarianism as a reaction against reason in the sense Hume and Hayek attributed to the concept. For him, the forerunners of communitarianism were reactionary thinkers such as Joseph de Maistre, and he argues that the distinctive feature of communitarian theses is their failure to contribute useful new elements for reflection in the modern world. Bernard Cherlonneix, finally (On the Proper Use of Communitarian Ideas among Liberals), argues the need for liberals and, above all, libertarians to review their answers to communitarian criticism on three levels: the re-legitimisation of the State’s role, the re-integration of collective phenomena into their analysis and the elaboration of a fairer conception of relations between individuals and society and between particular and general interests.

ù Caffarena, Anna. Liberal Internationalism in the Age of Globalisation • pp. 69-80

This essay focuses on the perspective of international liberal reform in the international order which has emerged since the Cold War. After exploring Stanley Hoffmann’s pessimism about the possibility/capability of liberal states to promote liberal values in the international arena, the author states the reasons why the present globalising trend represents a new challenge, but also offers new chances for liberal internationalism. The new knowledge which truly liberal analysis, totally independent from the realist research tradition of international politics, offers on how the international arena works is an essential part of the liberal agenda for change. Such change, says the author, should be achieved largely through the spread of democracy within states and the democratisation of the rules governing international relations themselves.

 

Biblioteca della libertà, XXXIII (1998), May-August, n. 145
pp. 126, Lit. 20,000

 

ù Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. Immigration / Liberty to Receive, Right to Exclude • pp. 3-15

It is often argued that free trade is to free immigration what protectionism is to restricted immigration. Despite appearances, Hoppe posits that this thesis and its implicit claim are fundamentally mistaken and that free trade and the regulation of immigration are not only perfectly coherent policies but also capable of reinforcing one another.

ù Venturini, Alessandra. Immigration / International Commerce and Labour Flows • pp. 17-20

In this comment to Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s essay, the authoress summarises the results achieved by the theories of international commerce and the mobility of production factors, referring in particular to the Heckscher-Ohlin model. She also sums up the outcomes of studies which have subjected this model to empirical checks. She concludes that for countries subject to immigration the zero-immigrant option is in actual fact highly unfeasible. The open doors option, on the other hand, receives low consensus. The only possible and feasible option is thus a combination of selective immigration policies and tight controls backed by aid policies, commercial openings and, last but not least, a decentralisation of production.

ù Davico, Luca and Ronca, Giovanni. Immigration / A Case Study: The City of Turin
• pp. 21-47

This essay presents the results of a research project carried out in 1998 on immigration in the city of Turin and public policies implemented at local level. The most recent data on the composition of immigrants are supplied by provenance, occupation, level of training, educaton, age, sex and so on. The authors make a survey of the main problems which immigration poses and how it turns from a question of initial reception into a stable phenomenon with which the city has to live. More specifically, the study examines the problems of accommodation, labour and employment, education and training, the latter being viewed as a preferential area for integration. It then goes on to examine the interventions made in the city since the Eighties and offers recommendations for public policies to solve these problems.

ù Dellavalle, Sergio. Europe / Political Models and the Process of Integration • pp. 49-69

Setting out from the debate on European integration, with special reference to the German-language area, the author breaks the positions analysed down into two distinct groups: on the one hand, supporters of a holistic model of politics, whose prime concern is to protect the cohesion of the socio-political community; on the other, those who place the onus on the individual’s right to self-realisation. The insufficiency and the internal dialectics of both attitudes opens the way for a third hypothesis which, in so far as it is more conceptual, allows us to identify a specific plan for European politics which transcends national cultures without lapsing into purely technocratic management of the community.

ù Pasa, Barbara. Europe / Privatisation and Corporate Governance in the East • pp. 71-109

The introduction to the essay is inspired by the method of economic analysis. The subsequent sections go on to analyse the present state of relations between the European Union and the countries of central and eastern Europe as part of the progressive harmonisation of legal systems for the integration of the internal market. The central section of the study is dedicated to the question of corporate governance in central Europe against the background of the rebirth of commercial law and the entry onto the economic scene of new legal agents, investment funds and banks. The question of privatisations is analysed as central to the development of financial markets in the context of the transition towards a market economy. The concluding section compares the models of corporate governance which are emerging in the post-socialist area and formulates prescriptive recommendations that are consistent with the leitmotiv of the analysis: namely, that it is not so much the body of laws supplied by the European Union as the method proposed which seems unsuitable for legal harmonisation and political and economic integration.

 

Biblioteca della libertà, XXXIII (1998), September-October, n. 146
pp. 112, Lit. 20,000

 

ù Maull, Hanns W. World markets, national models /Why the Asian Crisis • pp. 3-18

This article analyses the financial crisis that exploded in the Far East in June 1997 and highlights its fallouts on the real economy and domestic policy of the countries hit, as well as on international relations in the region. The phenomenon is viewed as a particular manifestation of the broader crisis of "global" capitalism as a result of the blending of two different models of capitalism – the American and the Japanese – and the lack of international bodies capable of governing the turbulence provoked in recent years by huge flows of speculative capital. After pointing out the principal causes of the ongoing crisis, the author concludes by offering his recipe to solve it: it is, he argues, necessary to introduce a series of economic and institutional reforms in the countries involved and to avoid, at all costs, embarking on the path of the regionalisation of the global economy, which would lead to a perilous confrontation between Asia and the West.

ù Lepage, Henri. World markets, national models / The Role of the Monetary Monopoly
• pp. 19-30

There are rules and rules. The problem is not to force states to respect the new rules decreed by politics (taxis) to preserve an impossible economic equilibrium which no one is capable of defining in concrete terms anyway. It is simply to make sure that the people entrusted with the management of states discover and respect the implicit rules of functioning (nomos) of the present financial system. In a world in which goods and capitals circulate freely, only the de-politicisation of the issue of currencies (that is to say, competition between private currencies) can prevent recurrent financial crisis. The present crisis is a step forward in this direction.

ù Monateri, Pier Giuseppe. World markets, national models / Globalising Law: Stray[ing] in high-power cars on a by-pass way • pp. 31-42

This article discusses the globalisation of law as the globalisation of world legal culture and its interrelations with given market mechanisms. The first section deals with "commonplace" arguments about globalisation, then goes on to explore how legal culture has substantially failed account for developments in progress. The author then examines the legal "packages" proposed as models for the management of globalised markets and how, as a result of all this, the legal profession plays a leading role. From this point of view, he demonstrates how the interrelationship between legal rules and market processes takes place at a very low level and how Italy’s in particular is a very marginal legal system, tendentially incapable of coping with what is happening.

ù van den Haag, Ernest. World markets, national models / Intellectuals, the Reason for Their Malaise • pp. 43-53

A multiplicity of reasons dating from way back in time exist for the diffuse hostility of intellectuals towards capitalism. In ancient Greece Plato thought that the world should be governed by philosophers, and in the Middle Ages the Church was critical of those who were more concerned with wealth in this world than salvation in the afterlife. Nonetheless, only in the nineteenth century with the diffusion of mass industrial capitalism did the opposition of intellectuals to the socio-economic regime become, as it were, a postulate. Today, as globalisation continues to break down the barriers to freedom of exchange, the anti-capitalist arguments of intellectuals, albeit often based on mistaken economic assumptions, sometimes hit the mark. The economic ideal of global efficiency and the economic optimum is, quite simply, incompatible with the social optimum or even with no more than moderate stability.

ù Radaelli, Claudio M. • Martini, Alberto P. Italy / Politics and Culture: Think Thanks
• pp. 55-76

Italy’s political transition is usually analysed in terms of changes in the political parties and the relations between them. But not only parties but also public policies and, even more so, the paradigms of economic and constitutional policy have changed. Thi is why it is worth analysing the world of the players, such as think tanks, which produce knowledge for public policies. This essay provides data about Italian research establishment and frames their role in the political transition as components of broader advocacy coalitions. The main conclusion is that research establishment have played a role as policy forums in public finance, helping to generate a shared paradigm of financial rigour and acceptance of European constraints.

ù Fourçans, André. Europe / The Euro and Budget Policy • pp. 77-85

The EMU’s work in Europe is a case apart in economic history. This article analyses the future role of budget policies in countries in the euro area and seeks to draw cues from the past experience. The traditional anti-cyclical function of budget policies is questioned and will be questioned and modified by membership to the single monetary space. It will thus be necessary to coordinate such policies among the various Member States and with ECB policy to prevent effects from being irrelevant or even negative for the countries in question, for other Member States and for the euro area as a whole. From this point of view, the long-term objective is to create a federal budget for the Union. It would also be useful to harmonise some aspects of fiscal policies to avoid economic costs and distortions in the allocation of resources, while still maintaning fiscal competition among the Member States.

ù Cavour, Camillo Benso conte di. Freedom of Commerce • pp. 87-101

Camillo Benso di Cavour was elected a Turin city councillor in 1848 and, on May 23 1850 was appointed a member of a commission set up to respond to two questions: whether it was necessary to conserve or abolish the bread tax, and whether "it was legally possible or not to grant permission to open shops to simply sell bread and, if so, to what conditions the exercising of this commerce should be subject". Applied to a specific problem, in Cavour’s report we find all the principles that were to inspire his activity in government; namely, the idea that the close connection between political and economic freedom implied free trade, first and foremost; secondly, the abolition of excise duties and, more generally, moderate taxation; thirdly, the advantage for the economy of infrastructure such as railways; and, finally, the idea that economic activities have to be subjected to only limited regulation.

 

Biblioteca della libertà, XXXII (1997), November-December, n. 147
pp. 144, Lit. 20,000

 

ù Posner, Richard A. • Parisi, Francesco. Schools and Tendencies in the Economic Analysis of Law • pp. 3-19

This essay is the first of a series of three in which Richard Posner and Francesco Parisi trace the forty-year history of the economic analysis of law, a knotty problem for liberal juridical legal thought in the second half of the century. The explanations and suggestions provided by this school of thought are founded essentially on individual rights and choices. The two subsequent essays will be dedicated, respectively, to the economic analysis of private and commercial law and the economic analysis of public and criminal law. This first study reconstructs the origins of the economic analysis of law, the methodology adopted (making the distinction between the positive, normative and functional economic analysis of law), the basic premiss (known as the efficiency hypothesis of common law) and, finally, the approach to the question of sources of law and the relationship between law and State.

ù Tallacchini, Mariachiara. Bodyright© Biotechnological Body and Law • pp. 21-50

Bodyright© is a neologism which alludes to the way in which technoscience has changed the legal view of the human body. From a legal point of view, the body is at the centre of a number of dilemmas; it may be perceived as a legal subject and/or a legal object, the parts of the body may be considered equal or different one from another and the creation of human bioproducts poses the problem of the artificialisation and patentability of the body. The only feature which the different parts of the body appear to share is that they are res extra commercium, but recent legislation on the patentability of biological inventions would appear to legitimise any form of commercialisation, once the body has been transformed technologically. Apart from these inconsistencies, however, a coherent legal framework emerges vis-à-vis the possibility of conceiving of the human body (and the human being) as an informational material. The dual concept of privacy and copyright composes the legal pattern which translates the informational body. However, the sharp division between autonomous subject and patentable human materials renders the human body all the more devoid of legal protection.

ù Epstein, Richard A. Freedom and Feminism • pp. 51-65

This essay seeks to explain the strength of nineteenth-century arguments in favour of legal reform of the status of women and why the same arguments are against the demand for reform forwarded by the feminist movement today. At the beginning, Women’s Lib and the abolitionist movement sought to knock down the formal and legal barriers which prevented groups discriminated against from participating fully in the economic and political arena. Not that equal opportunity ensures equal results. The present feminist position, instead, deduces that discrimination exists from the fact that men and women achieve different results at work, and invokes public intervention to change this state of affairs. In reality, once formal barriers have been removed, market results are the effect of the free play of individual preferences and choices and should be respected as such.

ù Economic Freedom Network. Economic Freedom in the World and Italy’s position • pp. 67-79

With Economic Freedom of the World. Interim Report 1998/1999, the Fraser Institute of Vancouver and the Economic Freedom Network, made up of research institutions in 53 countries (for Italy, the Centro Einaudi in collaboration with the Young Entrepreneurs Group of the Turin Employers’ Association) carry on their commitment to the development of a tool for the objective measurement of economic freedom. The 1998/1999 edition comes in a totally new format, with more complete and statistically more accurate synthetic indicators. With total rating of 7.9 out of 10, Italy is 24th in the table of 119 countries analysed – the same position as it held in 1990 – behind all the major developed countries apart from Spain. The index confirms that the limits of economic freedom in Italy are bound to structural aspects such as the weight of the public sector in the economy and the poor efficiency of markets.

ù Ronca, Giovanni. Italy / From Town Halls to the Market: Local Privatisations • pp. 81-105

This essay breaks down into three parts. The first analyses the changing relationship between citizens and the public sector, framing privatisations in a historical context and revealing similarities and differences between what happened in the past and what is happening now in the different European countries. The second addresses the Italian context. The term "public services" tends to confuse "products" (the service provided) with "producers" (the service provider). This analysis of the process of privatisation seeks to emphasise differences by focusing attention on provider agencies as opposed to services provided. It also seeks to distinguish between the principal sectors within the general category of local public agencies and to define their future scenario. The last part of the essay draws conclusions on the future prospects of local privatisations in Italy.