Freedom and Order

  • Lord Robbins


I should like to preface this lecture by confessing to you that I have found it very hard to prepare. As I usually find choosing a subject a matter of great difficulty and anxiety, it was with great pleasure that I accepted your invitation to lecture on a topic already predetermined, which seemed to me both interesting and important. What could be more relevant to our current problems and perplexities than the relations between freedom and order! But, as I came to reflect further, as I came to read round my subject and to collect on little slips of paper the stray thoughts that passed through my head, I began to feel that I had agreed to do something almost beyond my powers; and further attempts to organize my material have only deepened this fear. I am afraid that what I have to offer this evening must appear extraordinarily sketchy — a series of notes rather than a systematic treatment, a record of the responses of an economist to certain general problems rather than a logical buildup of social theory.


Aggregate Demand Irreducible Element Free Society Free Banking Inheritance Taxation 
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  1. 1.
    See Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies (1950), for a masterly analysis of Plato in these terms. My discussion at this point is heavily indebted to this truly great book.Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    Fitzjames Stephen, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, Second edition (1874), p. 28 n.Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy, Ashley edition (1909), Book V, chapter xi, p. 978.Google Scholar
  4. 1.
    Memorials of Alfred Marshall, Ed. A, C. Pigou (1925), p. 336.Google Scholar
  5. 1.
    On this point, see the very powerful article, ‘ The Rationale of the Social Services’, by Mr. Walter Hagenbruch, Lloyds Bank Review (July 1953).Google Scholar

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© Lord Robbins 1963

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  • Lord Robbins

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