Thursday , December 12 2019
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The author Peter Boettke
Peter Boettke
Peter Joseph Boettke (January 3, 1960) is an American economist of the Austrian School. He is currently a University Professor of Economics and Philosophy at George Mason University; the BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism, Vice President for Research, and Director of the F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at GMU.

Coordination Problem

Investment Trust Pricing and the Stock Market Crash of 1929

My colleagues David Thomas, James Mcclure, and I have revised our paper "Efficient Derivative Pricing and Sequestered Capital: The Case of Investment Trust Pricing in 1929" once again and a new version is now available on SSRN. We present evidence that undermines one of the heretofore best cases for the belief that irrational, speculative bubbles were an important cause of the 1929 stock market crash.

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The difference between 2% and 3% growth is not 1% and other vexing puzzles of progress

George Will is the author of this particular challenge to the innumeracy and economic illiteracy of the political class.  "Washington," he states, "is run by people who think that there's a 1% difference between 2% growth and 3% growth." It reflects an inability to understand the critical importance of economic growth for the betterment of humanity.  My brilliant colleague Tyler Cowen this past summer published an article with Patrick Collison in The Atlantic making the case for the...

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Students of Society — Looking forward to our visit with Viviana Zelizer

On October 17th at GMU, the renowned sociologist Viviana Zelizer will be delivering the 2019 Ostrom Lecture.  It has been 10 years since Elinor won the Nobel Prize. And we are thrilled that Professor Zelizer has agreed to speak in our lecture series, and to help us commemerate this anniversary, as well as help us continue to shape our self-understanding of the methodological, analytical and social philosophical implications of studying society from the bottom-up.  Professor...

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Happy 100th Birthday to James M. Buchanan

I am currently at Middle Tennessee State University celebrating James M. Buchanan's 100th birthday.  Buchanan graduated from MTSU with a triple major in English, Mathematics, and Social Science, all while working on a farm to help pay for his college expenses.  From those beginnings, he would move on to graduate study at U of Tennessee for his MA and U of Chicago for his PhD.  His teaching career saw him hold faculty positions at Tennessee, Florida State, Virginia, UCLA, VPI and...

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Rise and Fall of Monopoly in US History — Murray Rothbard Lectures from 1986

This will be old news to many of you, but when I was a graduate student Dave Prychitko, Steve Horwitz, and Deb Walker attended a series of lectures by Murray Rothbard in the history of economic thought.  Rothbard was not only an intellectual historian, but an economic and political historian.  He often would blend these various branches of history together in his narratives.  Ideas have economic and political historical context, and economic and political events had ideas behind...

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Should Economists Study Maximizing Utility or Acts of Choice?

In James Buchanan's classic essay "What Should Economists Do?" he argues famously that economics properly practiced is not a science of choice, but a science of exchange relations and the institutions within which exchanges take place.  But he also argues in that essay that human action cannot be understood as an exercise in utility maximization, but instead that our utility functions -- if we have them -- emerge only within the very act of choice itself.  This is a theme he...

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Two Elementary Ideas for Basic Economic Reasoning

This term I am teaching my HIstory of Price Theory course, a course I enjoy teaching tremendously.  But two lessons emerge from both the classical economist and the early neoclassical economists that I think would ensure clear thinking.  Ironically, this might actually be exemplified in the writings of Frank Knight on value and price theory, and thus in his price theory.  And, those two lessons can be simply stated as: (1) solve for the equilibrium, and (2) always remember we are...

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A Simple Attempt to Clear Up Some Confusions About the “Austrian” Perspective and Economic SCIENCE

A lot of folks hold, what I believe, to be erroneous views about the Austrian School of Economics, and the status of economics as a science.  My own position is that economics has the same ontological status as physics in terms of being a science, but has different epistemological procedures.  In other words, there should be no doubt that economics is a science, but the practice of that science is different from the natural science practice due to three things: (a) we are what we...

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The Power and Prestige of Economics — Time for a Reboot in Thinking, Not a Replacement

NYT published this weekend an opinion piece by Binyamin Appelbaum entitled "Blame Economists for the Mess We're In."  I am 100% in favor of economists being knocked off their pedestal.  Read Hayek's Nobel banquet speech. Your Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen, Now that the Nobel Memorial Prize for economic science has been created, one can only be profoundly grateful for having been selected as one of its joint recipients, and the economists...

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