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Em nome da liberdade (XXX) - Tradição, moralidade e mercado

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 08.03.11


Agora que esta rubrica alcança o trigésimo post, aproveito para deixar uma secção de um artigo de Roger Scruton inserido no Cambridge Companion to Hayek, intitulado "Hayek and Conservatism", precisamente acerca de uma temática sobre a qual muitos debates se debruçam, a da compatibilidade entre a tradição e o mercado (a secção do artigo intitula-se "Tradition, Morality and the Market") :


«For a contemporary conservative, the most profound aspect of Hayek’s extended epistemological argument is the alignment between the defense of the market and the defense of tradition. Indeed, as Edward Feser has argued, the defence of tradition, custom, and common sense morality could well constitute the most important aspect of Hayek’s social and political thought. Hayek’s theory of evolutionary rationality shows how traditions and customs (those surrounding sexual relations, for example) might be reasonable solutions to complex social problems, even when, and especially when, no clear rational grounds can be provided to the individual for obeying them. These customs have been selected by the ‘‘invisible hand’’ of social reproduction, and societies that reject them will soon enter the condition of ‘‘maladaptation,’’ which is the normal prelude to extinction.



Implicit in Hayek is the thought that free exchange and enduring customs are to be justified in exactly the same terms. Both are indispensable distillations of socially necessary knowledge, the one operating synchronously, the other diachronically, in order to bring the experiences of indefinitely many others to bear on the decision taken by me, here, now. Hayek emphasizes the free market as part of a wider spontaneous order founded in the free exchange of goods, ideas, and interests – the ‘‘game of catallaxy’’ as he calls it. But this game is played over time, and – to adapt a thought of Burke’s – the dead and the unborn are also players, who make their presence known through traditions, institutions, and laws. Those who believe that social order demands constraints on the market are right. But in a true spontaneous order the constraints are already there, in the form of customs, laws, and morals. If those good things decay, then there is no way, according to Hayek, that legislation can replace them. For they arise spontaneously or not at all, and the imposition of legislative edicts for the ‘‘good society’’ destroys what remains of the accumulated wisdom that makes such a society possible. It is not surprising, therefore, if British conservative thinkers – notably Hume, Smith, Burke, and Oakeshott – have tended to see no tension between a defense of the free market and a traditionalist vision of social order. For they have put their faith in the spontaneous limits placed on the market by the moral consensus of the community. Maybe that consensus is now breaking down. But the breakdown is in part the result of state interference, and certainly unlikely to be cured by it.


It is at this point, however, that conservatives may wish to enter a note of caution. Although Hayek may be right in believing that the free market and traditional morality are both forms of spontaneous order and both to be justified epistemically, it does not follow that the two will not conflict. Socialists are not alone in pointing to the corrosive effects of markets on the forms of human settlement, or in emphasizing the contrast between things with a value and things with a price. Indeed, many of the traditions to which conservatives are most attached can be understood (from the point of view of Hayek’s evolutionary rationality) as devices for rescuing human life from the market. Traditional sexual morality, for example, which insists on the sanctity of the human person, the sacramental character of marriage, and the sinfulness of sex outside the vow of love, is – seen from the Hayekian perspective – a way of taking sex off the market, of refusing it the status of a commodity and ring-fencing it against the corrosive world of contract and exchange. This practice has an evident social function; but it is a function that can be fulfilled only if people see sex as a realm of intrinsic values and sexual prohibitions as absolute commands. In all societies religion, which emerges spontaneously, is connected to such ideas of intrinsic value and absolute command. To put the matter succinctly, that is sacred which does not have a price.


It follows that the ‘‘game of catallaxy’’ does not provide a complete account of politics, nor does it resolve the question of how and to what extent the state might choose to interfere in the market in order to give the advantage to some other and potentially conflicting form of spontaneous order. This question defines the point where conservatism and socialism meet and also the nature of the conflict between them.»


(também publicado no blog da Causa Liberal)

publicado às 15:54


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