Hubris (/ˈhjuːbrɪs/, also hybris, from ancient Greek ὕβρις) means, in a modern context, supremely foolish and irrationalpride. In its ancient Greek context, it typically describes violent behavior rather than an attitude. The adjectival form of the noun hubris is “hubristic”. Hubris is usually perceived as a characteristic of an individual rather than a group, although the group the offender belongs to may unintentionally suffer consequences from the wrongful act. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence, accomplishments or capabilities.
As one might expect, hubris is not necessarily associated with high self-esteem but with highly fluctuating or variable self-esteem, and a gap between inflated self perception and a more modest reality.
Excessive feelings of hubris have a tendency to create conflict, sometimes terminating close relationships; which has led it to be understood as one of the few emotions with no clear positive or adaptive function (Rhodwalt, et al.).
Hubris is generally considered a sin in world religions.
Milton Friedman did not save Chile
Ever since deregulation caused a worldwide economic meltdown in September ’08 and everyone became a Keynesian again, it hasn’t been easy to be a fanatical follower of the late economist Milton Friedman. So widely discredited is his brand of free-market fundamentalism that his admirers have become increasingly desperate to claim ideological victories, however far fetched.
As for the argument that Friedmanite policies are the reason Chileans live in “houses of brick” instead of “straw”, it’s clear that Stephens knows nothing of pre-coup Chile. The Chile of the 1960s had the best health and education systems on the continent, as well as a vibrant industrial sector and a rapidly expanding middle class. Chileans believed in their state, which is why they elected Allende to take the project even further.
After the coup and the death of Allende, Pinochet and his Chicago Boys did their best to dismantle Chile’s public sphere, auctioning off state enterprises and slashing financial and trade regulations. Enormous wealth was created in this period but at a terrible cost: by the early 80s, Pinochet’s Friedman-prescribed policies had caused rapid de-industrialisation, a tenfold increase in unemployment and an explosion of distinctly unstable shantytowns. They also led to a crisis of corruption and debt so severe that, in 1982, Pinochet was forced to fire his key Chicago Boy advisers and nationalise several of the large deregulated financial institutions. (Sound familiar?)
Fortunately, the Chicago Boys did not manage to undo everything Allende accomplished. The national copper company, Codelco, remained in state hands, pumping wealth into public coffers and preventing the Chicago Boys from tanking Chile’s economy completely. They also never got around to trashing Allende’s tough building code, an ideological oversight for which we should all be grateful.
Friedman psychopathic ideas about shock treatment were put to the test in Chile where they were shown by realty to be pure hubris.
Some economists (such as Nobel laureate Amartya Sen) have argued that the experience of Chile in this period indicates a failure of the economic liberalism posited by thinkers such as Friedman, claiming that there was little net economic growth from 1975 to 1982 (during the so-called “pure Monetarist experiment”). After the catastrophic banking crisis of 1982 the state controlled more of the economy than it had under the previous so-called “socialist” regime, and sustained economic growth only came after the later reforms that privatized the economy, while social indicators remained poor. Pinochet’s dictatorship made the unpopular economic reorientation possible by repressing opposition to it. Rather than a triumph of the free market, the OECD economist Javier Santiso described this reorientation as “combining neo-liberal [sic] sutures and interventionist cures”. By the time of sustained growth, the Chilean government had “cooled its neo-liberal [sic] ideological fever” and “controlled its exposure to world financial markets and maintained its efficient copper company in public hands”.
For Friedman freedom and democracy are Orwellian terms. Of course corporations do not have moral obligations, in the same sense that typewriters, or guns for that matter, do not. Only people have moral duties. And these moral duties are not relinquish because one has a job. It might be legal, but selling tobacco, or alcohol, or junk food, is morally questionable.
The New York Times Magazine, September 13, 1970. Copyright @ 1970 by The New York Times Company.
When I hear businessmen speak eloquently about the “social responsibilities of business in a free-enterprise system,” I am reminded of the wonderful line about the Frenchman who discovered at the age of 70 that he had been speaking prose all his life. The businessmen believe that they are defending free enterprise when they declaim that business is not concerned “merely” with profit but also with promoting desirable “social” ends; that business has a “social conscience” and takes seriously its responsibilities for providing employment, eliminating discrimination, avoiding pollution and whatever else may be the catchwords of the contemporary crop of reformers. In fact they are–or would be if they or anyone else took them seriously–preaching pure and unadulterated socialism. Businessmen who talk this way are unwitting puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.