Fri, 21 September 2018
Today's guest is Viktor Vanberg of the Walter Eucken Institute. We discuss a recent working paper of his entitled Individual Choice and Social Welfare: Theoretical Foundations of Political Economy.
What we call an economy, i.e. the nexus of economic activities and relations within some defined regional limits – e.g. a local, a national or the world economy –, has always been subject to measures taken, or constraints imposed by political authorities. How economies work is inevitably, and to a significant extent, contingent on the political environment within which they operate.
We discuss welfare economics, what it means for economics to be an applied science, and the work of the late James Buchanan.
Sat, 1 September 2018
Today's guest is Peter Boettke of George Mason University and we're discussing his recent book in the Great Thinkers in Economics series: F. A. Hayek: Economics, Political Economy and Social Philosophy.
This book explores the life and work of Austrian-British economist, political economist, and social philosopher, Friedrich Hayek. Set within a context of the recent financial crisis, alongside the renewed interest in Hayek and the Hayek-Keynes debate, the book introduces the main themes of Hayek’s thought. These include the division of knowledge, the importance of rules, the problems with planning and economic management, and the role of constitutional constraints in enabling the emergence of unplanned order in the market by limiting the perverse incentives and distortions in information often associated with political discretion. Key to understanding Hayek's development as a thinker is his emphasis on the knowledge problem that economic decision makers face and how alternative institutional arrangements either hinder or assist them in overcoming that epistemic dilemma. Hayek saw order emerging from individual action and responsibility under the appropriate institutional order that itself emerges from actors discovering new and better ways to coordinate their behavior. This book will be of interest to all those keen to gain a deeper understanding of this great 20th century thinker in economics.
Note for those interested in buying the book: IF you are at a university and your university library has the Springer subscription (which most do), you can order a print-on-demand version---MyCopy---for $25, so that makes it somewhat more reasonable than the library prices. You can also get a discount flyer here.