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who are your favorite economists and why?

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fakename Posted: Thu, Jul 30 2009 3:26 PM

This should be especially stimulating for people who read a lot of econ. or for people new to econ.  Perhaps Giles should drop in.

 

 

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I. Ryan replied on Thu, Jul 30 2009 4:34 PM

Mises!

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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Rooster replied on Thu, Jul 30 2009 5:38 PM

I. Ryan:

Mises!

Statist! Super Angry

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Some names:

  • Ricardo (the classical system) ,
  • Smith (honorable mention for demolishing mercantilism)
  • Say (for his Law)
  • Mises (dismantling of socialism, etc.)

Austrians do it a priori

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ladyattis replied on Thu, Jul 30 2009 7:40 PM

Bohm-Bawerk for his work on production theory.

"The power of liberty going forward is in decentralization.  Not in leaders, but in decentralized activism.  In a market process." -- liberty student

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Anyone interested in the lives and works of non-Austrian economists should read a book called The Worldly Philosophers by Robert L. Heilbroner. It's a pithy classic.

Austrians do it a priori

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fakename replied on Thu, Jul 30 2009 8:49 PM

I've been reading say myself and he is good -his law is iron clad -but for the beginner, no one is as essential as turgot (for nothing else but his lucid statement that value is based on subjective preferences and not labor, the latter contention being more confusing in its applications). 

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ladyattis:

Bohm-Bawerk for his work on production theory.

Seconded.  Out of all the great Austrians, the problems he solved seemed to have been the most difficult.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
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F.A. Hayek: one of the greatest business-cycle theoriest ever, created a better version of Mises' take on the calculation debate, his work on human knowledge, his political philosophizing, his work on capital theory, his amiable position in debating other economists, ect. 

Abstract liberty, like other mere abstractions, is not to be found.

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laminustacitus:
his amiable position in debating other economists, ect. 

To me, he was too amiable.  He really should have written a full refutation of Keynes.  He held back on doing that, according to his telling, because Keynes had told him personally that he was being misinterpreted by his disciples and that he would hold them back if they went too far.  I suspect it was largely academic congeniality that held back Hayek's pen.  This is a shame, because Hayek was the one man who could have knocked down Keynes' General Theory in the esteem of academia.  Without that necessary refutation from a prominent scholar (Hazlitt, as a non-academic, was ignored), Keynesianism maintained its ascent and both economic science and human society has suffered for it.  Bohm-Bawerk and Mises, in contrast, didn't hold back from refuting other economists.  Maybe the contrast stems from Hayek having personally moved to Britain, and his wanting to get on well with the scene there.  As outsiders from the British and German centers of economic thought, Bohm-Bawerk and Mises felt no peer pressure to hold back.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
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Lilburne:

laminustacitus:
his amiable position in debating other economists, ect. 

To me, he was too amiable.  He really should have written a full refutation of Keynes.  He held back on doing that, according to his telling, because Keynes had told him personally that he was being misinterpreted by his disciples and that he would hold them back if they went too far.  I suspect it was largely academic congeniality that held back Hayek's pen.  This is a shame, because Hayek was the one man who could have knocked down Keynes' General Theory in the esteem of academia.  

Hayek did not refute The General Theory not because he was amiable with Keynes, a character trait that I strongly admire, but because he had already spent a year of his life refuting his Treatise on Money to have him simply say it no longer represented his beliefs, he thought that writing his own treatise on capital would have been more effective, and he did not predict how quickly Keynes' General Theory would be accepted. His amiability had little to no influence on that decision.

 

Lilburne:
 Bohm-Bawerk and Mises, in contrast, didn't hold back from refuting other economists.  Maybe the contrast stems from Hayek having personally moved to Britain, and his wanting to get on well with the scene there.  As outsiders from the British and German centers of economic thought, Bohm-Bawerk and Mises felt no peer pressure to hold back.

You completely neglect Hayek's hard battle with Keynes regarding his Treatise on Money

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laminustacitus:
You completely neglect Hayek's hard battle with Keynes regarding his Treatise on Money

Point taken, although I'm not convinced congeniality didn't play a role.  As Ralph Raico has said, Hayek was a lot more "clubbable" than Mises.  During the same meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society in which Mises walked out of a meeting because of the pervasive promotion of government interventionism going on, Hayek was elected president by the assembled Chicago-ites and others.  Milton Friedman later scoffed at Mises for his obduracy, but in hindsight, given the record of Monetarist policy, I think full laissez-faire liberals ought to have rejected Chicago-ites and their like to the same extent as did Mises.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
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I have read a number of works by the French economists and found Condillac to be my favorite.  Carl Menger's books have also been an excellent experience for me.  Unfortunately, he is the only Austrian economist I have seriously studied so far.  I will, however, begin Human Action next week.

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Josh replied on Thu, Jul 30 2009 10:52 PM

I'm much less well read on this stuff than most of you. I haven't delved into any books on Austrain economics, I've just done a lot of reading on the blog posts and such. Among THOSE authors, I think Robert Murphy is the best because he is the most clear writer and has a knack for taking complex concepts and making them more relatable. I think this is an important quality in an econ writer, because most people just don't get a lot of this stuff.

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Favorite economist: I , Me and Myself.   I am the best economist to take care of my personal finances Wink

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garegin replied on Thu, Jul 30 2009 11:06 PM

ranking in insight and new discoveries i would say marshall, bawerk and say. its funny how many libertarians/socialists were such shitty economics- tucker, warren, prouhdon, andrews

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Mises, just because.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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Conza88 replied on Fri, Jul 31 2009 12:45 AM

Bastiat

Bohm-Bawerk

Rothbard

- Clarity.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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Mises by a mile. Human Action is possibly the most ground breaking economic text ever. Putting economics on it's proper a priori basis using methodological individualism was a massive achievement.

The atoms tell the atoms so, for I never was or will but atoms forevermore be.

Yours sincerely,

Physiocrat

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garegin replied on Fri, Jul 31 2009 9:49 AM

mises basicly stood on the shoulders of giants.

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I. Ryan replied on Fri, Jul 31 2009 9:51 AM

garegin:

mises basicly stood on the shoulders of giants.

Do you realize that almost every academic does the same? Can you even mention an academic that did not stand on the shoulders of giants?

 

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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garegin replied on Fri, Jul 31 2009 10:08 AM

no, you misunderstood. mises built upon menger and bowerk. he refined and greatly improved on them. and reisman improved on mises. can you say now that reisman is a more brilliant economist than bowerk?

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mises basicly stood on the shoulders of giants.

And was a giant himself. So...

MRP, it's an economic concept, and applies to intellectuals as much as anyone else.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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garegin:

mises basicly stood on the shoulders of giants.

I think the measure of a "giant" is whether the economist constructs a new theory that was missing before, as opposed to improving an existing theory.

Menger did that with his subjective marginal utility theory of value, Bohm-Bawerk did that with his agio/time-preference capital theory, and Mises did that with his theory of money and credit.  Until Mises, nobody knew how to apply subjective value theory to money: this was an enormous hole that he filled.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
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I don't think I have the tools to adequately assess the value of these inividual economists to a comprehensive economic understanding I'm not going to claim to have.

My "favorite" economists are Block and Rothbard.  Their influence has completely changed my life.  My outlook, my actions and my ends.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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I like Rothbard because he is more historical, has a good sense of humor and writing style and is charismatic.

'Men do not change, they unmask themselves' - Germaine de Stael

 

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ivanfoofoo replied on Fri, Jul 31 2009 11:27 AM

liberty student:

I don't think I have the tools to adequately assess the value of these inividual economists to a comprehensive economic understanding I'm not going to claim to have.

My "favorite" economists are Block and Rothbard.  Their influence has completely changed my life.  My outlook, my actions and my ends.

I think they are great economists, just too dogmatic, but great ones.

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Hm should mention some others aside from Mises: Menger, Reisman, Hulsmann and Hayek. There are many good economists who are not Austrian but share similar affinities but I've not read enough of them to judge whether I'd consider them a favourite. I won't include Hoppe because his work is too interdisciplinary and focused on political/ethical/sociological/epistemological theory; when it comes to economics he mostly expands a bit on Rothbard and knows his stuff, but not enough for me to think of him as a great economist per se.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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Vitor replied on Fri, Jul 31 2009 11:40 AM

Mises and Bastiat.

Bastiat for making sense.

Mises for his great and seamlessly thinking, destroying the micro and macro dichotomy for once.

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ivanfoofoo:
I think they are great economists, just too dogmatic, but great ones.

I wasn't aiming for great.  Just for my favorite.  The ones who have influenced me, who have added to my life not just made a wonderful argument, but given more meaning to my work, and more purpose to my ends, those are the ones whom I enjoy the most.

 

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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laminustacitus:
created a better version of Mises' take on the calculation debate
i disagree, i think this is a myth.

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

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laminustacitus:

F.A. Hayek: one of the greatest business-cycle theoriest ever, created a better version of Mises' take on the calculation debate, his work on human knowledge, his political philosophizing, his work on capital theory, his amiable position in debating other economists, ect. 

Good call on Hayek, I definately think he is an example of how all scientists should conduct themselves. Hayek made immense contributions to a huge number of subjects: legal theory, economic science, political philosophy, methodology, philosophy of the mind, history of ideas and history. Mises is the obvious call, and for good reason, he was certainly one of the best economists ever (although, yes, he did stand of the shoulders of giants).

For me it's difficult to say,I think Hayek and Mises would be my top two. Of more recent economists Salerno and Garrison are absolutely wonderful with the former doing good more on the more technical aspects of the Austrian school and the latter "selling" Austrianism to the mainstream. Garrison is one of few Austrians to keep up with recent developments in macroeconomics. Peter Klein is a really great contemporary Austrian. Other young Austrians who look very promising include Bob Murphy (it's a shame he doesn't do more academic work as opposed to the public intellectual stuff, he's got a great mind), Pete Leeson (goes without saying, I'm reading his The Invisible Hook now and it's superb) and Ed Stringham. Jesus Huerta de Soto has also done the Austrian school a great credit with his treatise on money and banking (even if I disagree with a great deal of it). Robert Higgs is probably one of the best Austrians out there, his work is really superb.

Other economists I'm getting into but can't comment on yet would be W.H. Hutt (his The Keynesian Episode is Great), Ludwig Lachmann (I've got Lavoie's edited collection of his essays which I'm going to read soon), Steve Horwitz (he convinced me of the desirability of FRB), Leland Yeager, Jim Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, George Selgin, Lawrence White, Pete Boettke, Isreal Kirzner, Bryan Caplan (I've heard The Myth of the Rational Voter is great), Mario Rizzo ( especially his The Economics of Time and Ignorance which I've got but not read).

I'm probably forgetting some but that's my list (it's quite a bit different to the list of most people).

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"

Bob Dylan

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GilesStratton:
Steve Horwitz (he convinced me of the desirability of FRB)
did he do this anywhre in particular ?

Does he have an article here http://myslu.stlawu.edu/~shorwitz/Papers/pubs.htm that is recommended on this topic? or somewhere else?

 

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

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ziragt replied on Fri, Jul 31 2009 6:28 PM

Ludwig Lachmann- His work on capital theory was a great improvement over Hayek's and his analysis of institutions is incredibly stimulating. Furthermore, his penetrating critiques of both neoclassical and neo-Ricardian economics have helped develop my own ability to critically analyze the assumptions and methods of economists.

As for more recent economists:

Peter Lewin- He has done great work on capital theory and organizational theory in the Lachmannian tradition. His book, Captial in Disequilibrium, is an intriguing look at the history of capital theory and further develops this in a Mengerian direction.

Mario Rizzo- His attempt to place economics on firm philosophic ground with a Bergsonian philosophy of time was both intriguing and revolutionary. The only other movement I can think of that has attempted something similar is Lawson's Critical Realist economics.

Theodore Burczak- He has attempted an innovative synthesis of Hayek, Marx, Sen, and Nussbaum in his recent work. Although I think his views are misguided, this kind of novel work is a welcome change from normal Austrian theory. 

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Ah yes, Lewin was one I had forgotten to put into the last section of my list. nirgrahamUK, check out "Capital Theory, Inflation and Deflation".

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"

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i will. thanks

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

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FA Hayek and Mises for their work in business cycles and spontaneous order.

Milton Friedman for his works in monetary theory and free markets.

Joseph Schumpeter for his work in entrepreneurship and creative destruction.

Steve Horowitz, Peter Boettke, Roger Garrison, Lawrence White, George Selgin, and the rest of the "Austrian" free banking school for their works in showing why the "Austrian" economic thoughts are not just filled with gold bugs. 

Henry George for his work on free trade and why protectionism for anything - infant industries or otherwise - is wrong. 

existence is elsewhere

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nirgrahamUK:

i will. thanks

I'd enjoy your perspective on Horowitz's work.  His attitude online is a big turnoff, and he comes off as one of these "economic science"-statist Austrians.

 

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nirgrahamUK:
laminustacitus:
created a better version of Mises' take on the calculation debate
i disagree, i think this is a myth.

Take it as personal opinion, I don't think that there truly is a purely objective method for determining what method is "better", which you seem to hint at by calling it a "myth". Nevertheless, in my humble opinion, Mises' approach is weaker than Hayek's because of the fact that Mises' is weak against the Walrasian equilbrium approach, which is then disproved by introducing knowledge into the matter qua Hayek did.

In addition, happy birthday M. Friedman!

Abstract liberty, like other mere abstractions, is not to be found.

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Felipe replied on Sat, Aug 1 2009 5:55 AM

My favorite economists are Milton Friedman because of his unrelenting defense of liberty and individual choice and Ludwig Von Mises because of his systematic and comprehensive critique of socialism.

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