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Special issue of Real-World Economic Review on The Public Economy and a New Public Economics

Summary:
The relationship between the economy and the state is as old as the discipline of economics itself.  In the recent issue of Real-World Economic Review, this topic is explored by an array of authors that seek to challenge various aspects of what they consider the classical position.  There really isn't any new faces in this crowd, so anyone who has read in this topic for awhile will know the names and pretty much could guess the positions expressed, but it is convenient to have them in one place and in a form that strives to maximize communication. This conversation, of course, addresses classic questions of governance as I have recently discussed with Ross Roberts at EconTalk, or was addressed by Tim Taylor recently at the Conversable Economist. And can be found in the reference

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The relationship between the economy and the state is as old as the discipline of economics itself.  In the recent issue of Real-World Economic Review, this topic is explored by an array of authors that seek to challenge various aspects of what they consider the classical position.  There really isn't any new faces in this crowd, so anyone who has read in this topic for awhile will know the names and pretty much could guess the positions expressed, but it is convenient to have them in one place and in a form that strives to maximize communication.

This conversation, of course, addresses classic questions of governance as I have recently discussed with Ross Roberts at EconTalk, or was addressed by Tim Taylor recently at the Conversable Economist. And can be found in the reference work that Pete Leeson and I brought on The Economic Role of The State and in particular our introduction.  Mercatus Center has recently reprinted Ed Stringham's edited volume Anarchy, State and Public Choice, and also relevant is the Mercatus reprint of Don Lavoie's National Economic Planning: What is Left? because the case for industrial planning is made repeatedly in the issue of Real-World Economic Review linked to above and Lavoie's work is perhaps the most comprehensive and critical discussion of such policy plans.

A central idea in these discussions that must be acknowledged is that of economic calculation and the necessary institutional pre-requisites to successfully engage in such calculations.  That this idea, which is so central to these discussions in public economics, and has been hotly debated for close to a century, continually gets confused and distorted in many of these conversations should tell us how much work remains to be done by economists and political economists in terms of conceptual clarity, and in communicating the technical principles of our discipline to the profession as well as the interested public, and to improve our general understanding of how alternative institutional arrangements either hinder or promote productive specialization and peaceful social cooperation among diverse and often distant peoples.

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.

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