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John Gray

Professor of Philosophy, Oxford University, author of The Moral Foundations of Market Institutions (1992, Institute of Economic Affairs)


As Hayek has noted, the very concern to impose a pattern on distribution is illiberal, in that it can only distort the constantly changing patterns produced by free individual choices. ... Egalitarian distributionism is, from a point of view that is genuinely liberal, perhaps one of the worst forms of distributionism. In practice, it often amounts to little more than the 'anti-social envy' that Mill presciently condemned among his contemporaries. ... The real effect of egalitarianism in political life in western democracies ... is to generate pernicious illusions about the potential benefits of redistribution from the rich, while doing nothing to enhance the opportunities of the disadvantaged, or to alleviate the lot of the needy.

1992 - from The Moral Foundations of Market Institutions, Institute of Economic Affairs, London
... aside from the constant vigilance of a citizenry steeped in a culture of liberty, there is no remedy for the expansionist tendencies inherent in all forms of government activity.

1992 - from The Moral Foundations of Market Institutions, Institute of Economic Affairs, London