Monthly Archives: January 2016

Ferdinand von Hayek on Pipelines

The aspirations of the great mass of the world’s population can today be satisfied only by rapid material progress… At this juncture we are therefore not only the creatures but the captives of progress… At some future date when, after a long period of world-wide advance in material standards, the pipelines through which it spreads are so filled that, even when the vanguard slows down, those at the rear will for some time continue to move at an undiminished speed, we may again have it in our power to choose whether or not we want to go ahead at such a rate.  (The Constitution of Liberty 1960)

Thanks to Joerge Dyrkton for bringing this to my attention.  Flows (mobilities), cultural transmission, leaders and followers in the global space and time assumed by Hayek.  Empirically, the dependency of the Chinese economy on the US consumer for continued growth puts these preconceptions in doubt.

Pipelines and progress are central images in my colleagues’ local narratives and a central topic of  judicial decisions and debates in Canada, with the government and the oil and gas industry on one side and the indigenous nations and environmental critics on the other.

Rob Shields (University of Alberta)