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Economics as the Study of Peaceful Human Cooperation and Progress

Summary:
Earlier this month I was the recipient of one of the annual Prometheus Awards from the Greek liberal think tank KEFiM. My award was for my contributions to economic literacy. My keynote acceptance speech is now available here. I weave several themes of interest to CP readers, including Mises's emphasis on how specialization and exchange lead to social cooperation, and Hayek's point that exchange is about turning enemies into friends. Economics is a lot more than an explanation of material progress. It helps us understand the growth of civilization and social cooperation, and how we are able to turn our swords and spears into plowshares and pruning-hooks. "The reality of the last two centuries is that we have beaten our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks as

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Earlier this month I was the recipient of one of the annual Prometheus Awards from the Greek liberal think tank KEFiM. My award was for my contributions to economic literacy. My keynote acceptance speech is now available here. I weave several themes of interest to CP readers, including Mises's emphasis on how specialization and exchange lead to social cooperation, and Hayek's point that exchange is about turning enemies into friends. Economics is a lot more than an explanation of material progress. It helps us understand the growth of civilization and social cooperation, and how we are able to turn our swords and spears into plowshares and pruning-hooks.

"The reality of the last two centuries is that we have beaten our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks as we’ve learned that the liberal institutions of property, contract, and voluntary exchange are superior to violence and war. An ever increasing share of humanity lives under its own increasingly fertile vines and fig trees. We’ve learned that the positive-sum game

Unfortunately, we are at a dangerous point of losing this learning these days thanks to the revival of the forces of nationalism and socialism. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I do think that liberals need to engage in some self-reflection about whether our own rhetoric and way of talking about economics and liberalism don’t bear some responsibility for our dilemma. How often do we speak of markets as sources of not just prosperity, but prosperity for the least well off? How often do we speak of markets as the cause of peace and social cooperation and mutual interdependence? How often to we talk about how markets have humanized us and reduced our propensity to violence, and turned strangers into honorary friends or kin? It’s important to stress the material wealth that markets produce, but the point of even that is enabling us to live lives of peace, cooperation, and security."

Steve Horwitz
Steven "Steve" Horwitz (born 7 February 1964) is an American economist of the Austrian School. Horwitz was born in Detroit, Michigan to Ronald and Carol Horwitz. He was raised in Oak Park, Michigan and graduated from Berkley High School in Berkley, Michigan in 1981. He graduated cum laude with an A.B. in Economics and Philosophy from the University of Michigan in 1985, where he was also active with several libertarian student groups and where he wrote and performed with the Sunday Funnies/Comedy Company sketch comedy group.

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