The sad death of free market pessimism: The hostile response to Paul Mason's Postcapitalism raises a question: why are rightists economic optimists?
I ask because that reaction seems to me to be part of a pattern. It tends to be free market types who are most critical of Malthusian-type pessimism, and I get the impression that it is left-liberal economists who are more worried by secular stagnation whilst rightists are more sanguine about it.
There is, though, no necessary logical connection between optimism and pro-capitalism. Joseph Schumpeter was an admirer of capitalism but feared it could not last. David Ricardo advocated free markets but feared that diminishing returns would choke off growth. And there was for a long time a melancholy tendency within conservatism - expressed most eloquently (pdf) perhaps by Michael Oakeshott.
It would be perfectly coherent to be believe that freeish market capitalism is a good thing but that it is imperiled not just by bad policy but by intrinsic developments such as diminishing returns or a loss of entrepreneurship. And yet free market pessimism is a view that seems to have faded.
Why? Here - in no order - are some theories...