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May it be also appropriate to say that you teach as you couch? I've found myself explaining to other students that it makes sense to think of Pete Boettke as 1. a sports couch and 2. an allstar athlete.

The first is made clear in this post but the second I think explains a lot about not only the Pete Boettke persononlaity but the whole way you approach academic success and the advancement of Austrian economics.

To sum up what it means to be an allstar athlete - I think it means that you get upset when you perform below your game, and you conceptualize the academic process as form of competition. Not to say that truth seeking is a zero sum game but the attention paid to truth is subject to constraints. We should all get fired up and rise to the challenge when we see attention and respect being paid to ideas and thinkers who we know we can compete against.

Pete knows that I grew up watching my brother play baseball at very competitive levels. He has since endured career ending injuries, but I can still feel his passion for the game when he watches a major league game on TV and mentions players who he pitched against in college ball. I don't think it's as simple as boasting, because for every "I struck him out," that he says, he also says "that guy hit a homerun off of me."

I think Leeson inherited a lot of the all-star attitude from Pete. In Leeson's class he often makes a point to mention that certain big think, big time papers in various fields, "could have been written by a GMU student."

I think Leeson inherited a lot of the all-star attitude from Pete. In Leeson's class he often makes a point to mention that certain big think, big time papers in various fields, "could have been written by a GMU student."

Or they could have been written by someone else; this is what actually happened as well.

Write, contribute and do some serious research and don't play around with "could have been"-stuff. Seriously, who cares.

Dan,

I never was an All-Star athlete, I just was a kid who played sports and was able to do so through the college level due to the fact that I went to a small college. I do value greatly my athletic experiences and proud of them, but would never say I was an All-Star the way your brother was. BTW, Dan has some athletic background himself but I have promised not to blog about it --- and I will keep my promise.

However I do think you sum me up pretty clearly in the way I teach and way I approach my work in general.

Pearl --- you are missing the point of what Dan is talking about ... Leeson is pointing out that the ideas represented in the paper are ideas that GMU students work with all the time, but they didn't apply them in a way that would lead to a top tier publication. The idea is to change that. Always change a losing game the great Aussie tennis coach Harry Hopeman preached. Pete is just telling his students to "serve and volley" because their "baseline" strategy is not working!!! It is about "write, contribute and do some serious research".

Also, this phrase "do some serious research" is problematic given the track record both of Pete and our students at GMU. Within the Austrian community I am willing to put on the table the output of the following former students -- both in terms of quantity of hits and quality of argument:
Ed Stringham, Ben Powell, Scott Beaulier, Bob Subrick, Peter Leeson, Chris Coyne, Anthony Evans, and Dan D'Amico (all graduates from GMU between 2002-2008).

Here is the challenge --- within the history of the Austrian school name another set of PhD students who have published more, placed their articles in higher tier outlets, received honors and attention in the main cultural outlets for public opinion (NYT, New Yorker, Economist, Boston Globe, etc.) and advanced to editorships and scholarly organization leadership positions.

Perhaps the group of Hayek, Machlup, Morgenstern, etc. from Vienna in the 1920s would match ...

I could be wrong --- I invite anyone to prove me wrong by taking up the challenge and giving me your list and their record.

So "write, contribute and do some serious research" ... well that is what they do, how about you?! Hard to tell when you continually post anonymously.

Pete

Pete Boettke as "a sports couch." Dan, that's the best Freudian slip I've heard all year. :-)

Dr. Boettke,

Did you forget Virgil Storr?

Dear professor Boettke, here's another candid challenge that I ask in all candour and in no relation to the career and work of the individuals you mention: what is/are the durable and original contributions and directions of research in economics and the social sciences, that have emmerged, let's say, during the last two decades, within the "Austrian school" paradigme ? - The "Perhaps", in front of the "Hayek, Machlup, Morgenstern, etc" group is still - no matter what attention they received or did not received in cultural outlets of public opinion - a gigantic one, in my humble opinion.

Professor Enache, I'm not sure I understood something in your comment. Are you saying that "Hayek, Machlup, Morgenstern, etc" might not have had much impact on mainstream economics in spite of things like Hayek's Nobel prize?

Peter Klein raises a good point --- sports couch --- I was taken aback after I realized Dan wrote that, and I must admit I resemble a couch potato more than the bb player and tennis player I once was --- lack of self-control; bad genes; economics as a corner solution for the 1980s; or a combination of both. But the transformation is undeniable and not particularly pleasing!!!

On Bogdan Enache's question --- first, with the current group it is the economics of self-governance and the application of that argument to the world of failed and weak states, and the question of emerging market economies that is what unites (and yes Brian I made a huge mistake in not listing Virgil Storr, huge mistake --- I am sorry).

As for Machlup and Morgenstern --- the contributions are self-evident, from monopoly and competition to the knowledge economy; and the entire field of game theory and mixed strategy equilibrium --- they both not only achieved fame in their life-times, but lasting fame in the discipline of economics. I do not believe their contributions were as great as Hayek's, but we shouldn't pooh-pooh them either. And I do believe that you can see the research line they followed as started by Mises's questions.

Pete

Sorry about the couch slip. "Writers write, editors edit." Someone told me that once.

Oh, I'm not a professor, but a student.

And I'm sorry for the other confusion as well : I was trying to say that Hayek, Morgestern etc, despite not being covered by popular magazines etc or whatever else was given above as a measure of success, have made - in my opinion - more vigorous contributions to economics and social science and has opened more research directions in a variety of areas that what has happened within the Austrian School in the recent years. My impression might be wrong, of course, but I believe that that generation of economists, sociologists etc is still unsurpassed, as a whole, with regard to the complexity, durability and boldness of their scholarly achievements.


Ah! Yes, Bogdan, I think that's right. They were giants.

Personally, I kind of think we've done okay in the last 20 years. Self-identified Austrians have kept the ideas of Hayek (especially) and Mises on the radar screen of mainstream economists. That's a big deal because now we have lots of those ideas cropping up in the mainstream, especially in the complexity literature. Colander, Rosser, and Holt and done a great job of pointing out that the old orthodoxy is pretty much a zombie that keeps going only because no one, clear version of the new stuff has yet replaced it. But the edge of economics is dominated by work that embodies the themes of Austrian economics and complexity theory.

I might point to a couple of other things. Kirzner's work on entrepreneurship has been influential both within economics and with the new field of entrepreneurship studies. Larry White and George Selgin have done nicely-cited work in money and banking. The "theory of the firm," i.e. the theory of internal organization, has been deeply influenced by Austrian writers including Peter Klein. I'm sure I'm overlooking other items of equal importance to the mainstream. And the prospects for the near future are even better, IMHO.

Bogdan,

First, the evidence is on your side at the moment, but the problem is one in which history has already passed, and one that history is unfolding. The 1920s Viennese community of scholars was pretty amazing and hard to surpass.

Second, we can only infer longevity from current success. There are basically three dimensions we judge intellectual/scientific success on --- publications (journal and book placement); appointment (PhD program, elite school); capturing the public imagination (newspapers, magazine, TV, public policy, etc.).

So the work that is currently being done on self-enforcement and self-governance is quite penetrating in its analytical depth and bold in the claims it is making. But I would just suggest you look at all the names I mentioned and look online at what they are doing (I should have also added Steve Miller to that list for his work on education).

Pete

I am more familiar than you probably suspect, prof. Boettke, with the work of your former students - and I will be the last one who will fail to appreciate it. But I must confess, that I'm beginning to have a sense of deja-vù sometimes. Sure, knowledge is dispersed, entrepreneurship and market process brakes down the general equilibrium view of markets, incentives matters and so on, and these things need to be emphasised, and applied work is important; but like the old generations of Gods of ancient Greece, these arguments - which once had the freshness of a pathbreaking vision of a Hayek, a Kirzner and so on are beginning to become otiose. I fail to see that new "vision" that drove Mises to his calculation argument and monetary theory, Hayek to his knowledge problem and liberal political theorising, Lachmann (I know, not really Vienna, but still "old") to his capital theory, Rappal to his international relations theorizing, Alfred Schultz to his epistemological theories, Roepke to his reflection on society and culture, Morgenstern to game theory and his relentless sort of inside critique neoclassical economics and so on and on...Everyone of the members of that generation of scholars, including the more obscure ones, now forgotten, seems to have had something to say that was new, fresh, important, fundamental and relevant, in a more direct or indirect way to the greatest intellectual and social challenges of the times they lived.

Now, evidently, only time will tell to what degree the scholarly production of today will be proven durable and fertile in the future (although this is not a popularity contest) but I maintain that, comparatively, there was a certain grandeur in the intellectual challenges that generation took.

Prof. Koppl: Yes Kirzner is great, so are Larry White and Selgin (I'm actually reading the former's book now), Peter Klein etc. I'm not saying Austrian economics has stagnated.

Bogdan,

First, I never said you were unfamiliar --- from this blog I know you are deeply familiar with the Austrian and other literatures in the social sciences and philosophy.

Second, I didn't emphasize the work that was done more or less by myself and my friends --- Horwitz and Prychitko, who following up on Lavoie worked out knowledge problem issues in various applications. The applications often were "new" to the Austrian community, sometimes not so new. But that is not what I have emphasized.

Instead, what I emphasized was the economics of self-governance, and in particular the empirical application to failed and weak states. The title of my review essay of Coyne's AFTER WAR is "The Most Important Book on the Most Important Topic of Our Time." And I didn't title it that lightly. Now you can discount me because of my close tie to Chris, but that is my sincere assessment.

Also Leeson is just ridiculous in how he has taken the idea of self-enforcement and pushed for fundamental and new insights.

Finally, I do believe Frederic Sautet and the idea from his thesis on the "market theory problem" had potential to be one of the truly revolutionary ideas in modern economics, but Fred worked in policy and never really developed the idea so we could see if that potential was real or not. Similarly, Esteban Thomsen has some very important ideas in his work Prices and Knowledge, but again he stopped working on theoretical economics.

There is a ton of pregnant works in the modern Austrian tradition (Peter Lewin's Capital in Disequilibrium is another), but work just needs to keep being done and work that is not distracted due to methodological disputes or policy concerns. I am not sure we face the same set of professional constraints one faced in Vienna in the 1920s.

Pete

Pete's made a flattering reference to myself and fellow recent GMU grads that came through the Austrian program, but the debates that consistently follow such comments seem to go off on a tangent. No one is arguing that Pete's students have contributed more to economic science than the Vienna group etc. We're freshly minted and forging careers, and any influence or success we might achieve will require time to judge. But pick a group of students from any other program and compare CVs. Read and engage with the ideas being pursued and write scholarly critiques. And Pete's pride and "our" often perceived arrogance shouldn't be seen as a slight on what's come before- but if you read our work you'd know that.

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