Should-Read: Henry Farrell: The father of consumer sovereignty: "[Even] the mainstream of Mont Pelerin was... problematic on apartheid...

...William H. Hutt was at the heart of the problem. Hutt indeed condemned racism, and claimed that it was rooted in opposition to the market. Yet his condemnation only went so far. As Slobodian describes it....

The political complement to [Hutt's] workplace liberation was not equality for blacks but their second-class status... What he described as “the most vital point of my whole thesis” in The Economics of the Color Bar was not an economic but a political argument: a warning about the “tyranny of parliamentary majorities” under systems of universal suffrage. The fact that blacks were the majority population in South Africa made the situation exceptionally perilous.… Hutt expressed the need “to protect the minorities [that is, Whites] from spoliation and revenge” and suggested that the franchise be adjusted on “some principle of weighting.”... Hutt did foresee the gradual introduction of more equality in some “very distant future (it would be very optimistic to assume 50 years).”...

These… subtleties… in Hutt’s position appear either to have escaped the libertarian critics of MacLean who championed, or to have seemed to them for some reason or another not to have been worth mentioning. But they do point up the... elective affinity between certain forms of libertarianism and racism.... In Hutt we have a libertarian economist who is currently being held forward by libertarians as an exemplar of market based anti-racism. Hutt’s actual position was that racism was bad, but the introduction of actual democracy to South Africa was bad too, since it would lead to expropriation. Hence, Hutt’s solution of a weighted franchise, and Hayek’s apparent suggestion that the South African state ought be limited to a minimal body designed to enforce contracts, protect market competition and no more, lest a democratic majority seize upon it as a tool for redistribution. For sure, neither Hutt nor Hayek appear to have been racist as Röpke was, or direct supporters of the version of apartheid that then applied. But weighting the vote or crippling the state for fear of a black majority is weighting the vote or crippling the state for fear of a black majority, whichever way you slice it.

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