Tuesday , February 20 2018
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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

Economics and the Public

Every since having the scales removed from my eyes back at Grove City College by the economic sermons from Dr. Hans Sennholz, I have been persuaded that the public purpose of economics is precisely that -- removing the scales from the eyes of the public.  In economic affairs, this means eradicating ignorance of not only how market processes, but how political processes operate as well.  So I studied in earnest how to study the economic forces at work in a variety of institutional...

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Ostrom Workshop

Last fall the Law and Economics Center at GMU held a conference on the contributions of Elinor Ostrom.  I was one of the lecturers, and I greatly enjoy talking about the contributions to political and economic analysis of the Ostroms and even more so in attempting to apply their work to tackle problems of a conceptual and empirical nature. The current director of the Ostrom workshop, Lee Alston, is an accomplished economic historian and political economist in his own right....

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Social Experimentation and Social Progress

"Liberty," Hayek argues in The Constitution of Liberty (1960, 29), "is essential in order to leave room for the unforeseeable and unpredictable ..." As he goes on in the next paragraph to argue: "Humiliating to human pride as it may be, we must recognize that the advance and even the preservation of civilization are dependent upon a maximum of opportunity for accidents to happen.  These accidents occur in the combination of knowledge and attitudes, skills, and habits, acquired by...

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Two Pages of Fiction

F. A. Hayek published a wonderful short piece under that title in 1982 to explain the impossibility of socialist calculation. Hayek in this piece goes after Oskar Lange's supposed rebuttal of Mises and argues that Lange missed the point. When Hayek published Collectivist Economic Planning in 1935, he included an appendix that translated Enrico Barone's 1908 paper "The Ministry of Production in Collectivist State."  Hayek, also, often pointed to Pareto's argument about the...

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The Philosophy and Practice of a Beautiful Game

My love of the game of basketball far exceeded my ability to play the game.  I had my hoop dreams in my youth, but my passion and love for the game has continued long after those hoop dreams crashed against the hard rock of reality.  As we economists like to say, there are endowments and there are choices against constraints, and those didn't line up for me to achieve as a player as I had hoped when I set off on that journey at 12.  But even as a player, I realized I would also...

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Theory and History

The Spring 2018 term begins at GMU today.  We have some exciting speakers coming to our Workshop in PPE.  The CSPC Wed seminar schedule has also been posted, as well as the schedule for the ICES seminar.  So lots of economic ideas bouncing around at GMU and I haven't even mentioned Conversations with Tyler, which includes a conversation with Martina Naratilova -- who is much more than one of the greatest female athletes of all time. I am teaching 2 graduate classes this term --...

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Stateless Commerce

Barack Richman's new book is an outstanding work on the analytics and empirical examination of comparative institutions of governance, and in particular the private governance of diamond trade in NYC.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  We just had a great book panel discussion on it, and along with the work of Pete Leeson, David Skarbek, Edward Stringham, etc., this is a foundational work in the field of governance and the political economy of everyday life. ...

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Knowledge Lost in Information

Bruce Caldwell reviews Mirowski and Nik-Khah at EH.Net.  Highly recommended. My Presidential address to the Society for the Development of Austrian Economics from the 2001 meetings also addresses this question of what is lost in translation between Austrian-Hayekian rendering of knowledge and the neoclassical-Hurwicz/Stigler/Stiglitz rendering of information.  This is a theme I have addressed a number of places before and since that essay, including my paper with Kyle...

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