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« Lord Harris, IEA and the Place of the Economist in Public Discourse | Main | The World’s Worst Polluted Places »


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Some comments on the rather large amount of writing in the links. Somewhere there is a reference to Hayek's "premature senility", when he was benched from the main game in economics during the 1930s. That is similar to Hutt's mournful comment that he was forgotten in his own lifetime. Still, he lived long enough to see the revival of classical liberalism and the Austrians.

In the paper "Comparative historical political economy" there is a reference to Mirowkski's "More Heat than Light" for the story of the invasion of ideas from physics into economcs. There is a book by Ingrao and Israel that appears to cover the same topic. Some notes on their book can be found at the following link.
They identified John von Neumann as the person who introduced mathematical formalism into both quantum physics and economics.

I wonder if Popper's account of the long struggle for the "open society" to emerge from the "closed" or "tribal" society counts as an analytical narrative? The issue of tribalism has re-emerged with the problem of radical Islam.

Regarding the Acemoglu and Robinson book on the economic origins of dictatorship and democracy, Pete's critical comments could be augmented with some thoughts from Radnitzky on the pre-democratic achievement of limited government and free trade. Also some insights from Hutt on the downside of extending the franchise in Britain which provided leverage for the trade unions to obtain special privileges through the vote-buying motive of the politicians.
That piece also has a list of Hutt's writings that are now available on line.

Finally on J K Galbraith, farm boy and genial dinner companion. In a memoire of his youth that was printed in "The Liberal Hour" circa 1970 he told a story about the time he was courting the girl from the farm next door. He was not making progress and one day they were leaning on a fence when a cow and bull started to do what cows and bulls do together. Seizing the moment he remarked "I would't mind trying that" to which the young lady replied "Well its your cow!".

I grew up among cows as well but I was never that forward with the girl on the farm next door.

Checking my 35 year old memory of the Galbraith story. A slightly different source.


"Galbraith was chatting with our class at one of our Friday afternoon get-togethers. He told us of the days when he was a young man on the family farm in Canada. He and a girlfriend were leaning over the fence looking into the cow pasture. "A bull came up to the nearest cow and mounted her. I said to the young lady, 'My, that ought to be fun!' She replied, 'Well, go ahead, it's your cow.' "

I believe the link to the McCloskey review is broken.

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