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This does not have to do with the above post, but I was wondering, Dr. Boettke, if you had any suggestions for a good economic history book focusing on anytime after 1600? Thanks.


There are many great works in economic history and I guess just pick authors and read them --- Joel Mokyr is one of my favorites to read, but also Doug North.

And it depends on what you want to study. If it is the rise of the West, both the authors just mentioned are critical. But my favorite book on the subject is Rosenberg and Birdzel, How the West Grew Rich (Basic Books, 1986).

I am also very impressed for a variety of reasons I laid out in my review of it, with McCloskey's Bourgeois Virtues --- which is broad brush treatment of the economic history and meaning of it all of the rise of the West.

Anyway, if you read those 4 books this summer you would learn a lot: Mokyr, Levers of Riches; North and Thomas, The Rise of the Western World; Rosenberg and Birdzel, How the West Grew Rich; and McCloskey, The Bourgeois Virtues. I should add that I really like Eric Jones as well --- I reviewed his work Cultures Merging in Economic Development and Cultural Change just recently.

But I am primarily NOT an economic history --- even my work on Soviet economic history was historically informed contribution to the field of comparative political economy.

My colleague John Nye is a very respected economic historian, as is my former colleague Werner Troesken (now at Pitt). I would look up their websites and look at the reading lists they put together for their courses.

Good luck in your studies,


FWIW, I think Pete's four books are a great start. Greg Clark's *A Farewell to Alms* is problematic in some ways, but also a very interesting and unique treatment of the Industrial Revolution.

And let's not forget the Hayek edited volume *Capitalism and the Historians*. Still valuable over half a century later.

I reviewed Caplan's book on Amazon. After reading this book a second time, I am certain that Caplan is indeed an Austrian (More Misesian than Rothbardian though). But, I am still not sure why he had readers indulge Krugman, but only gave fleeting attention to Mises and Rothbard.

Any Thoughts?

"I am certain that Caplan is indeed an Austrian"

Read "The Austrian Search for Realistic Foundations" (Southern Economic Journal, April 1999) and see if that weakens your certainty at all

Or you could just talk to him, he does not equivocate. "Why shouldn’t you be an Austrian economist? The fundamental reason is that their main original claims are incorrect."

Caplan is not an austrian, he is a good neoclassical economist. I think that in his book this is very apparent since he tries to explain everything with only the pure logic of choice.

Also, I think that an austrian would not point out to the models of contestable markets and Bertrand oligopoly for providing defense of the idea that price = marginal cost. In fact, an austrian could argue that when price is different to marginal cost, then there is an unexploited profit opportunity.

Thank you Dr. Boettke and Dr. Horowitz.

Re: Rob's comment.

I have nothing against Pete or Steve. But, please, can we refrain from calling someone "Dr." unless he can prescribe medicine? This complaint may just be a function of my Chicago training -- where *no one* (not Becker, not Lucas, not even Heckman) was referred to as "Dr." or "Professor" and, in fact, such language was formally discouraged by the university (for good reason, in my opinion) -- but it seems unnecessary and counterproductive to me.



I think you miss Brian's point. Caplan can protest all he wants, but ultimately his arguments (not his citations) are consistent with arguments one finds in Mises and even in Hayek.

I mean who cares what Brian or anyone else labels themselves, what matters is whether the argument is true or false.

But in this context, the question is whether or not Brian's argument are consistent with the methodological individualism of the Austrians --- Yes, whether his focus on the context dependent nature of our choices is, Yes; etc., etc. If you have trouble seeing that connection, then perhaps you need to re-examine your education in Austrian economics.

Brian, like many of us, draws inspiration from a mixture of writers in and out of economics, and in and out of favor with mainstream thinking. He is a very original guy.

But you are definitely missing the meaning behind Brian Pitt's assertion about Caplan's Austrianism.

BTW, why didn't anyone talking about the actual set of questions concerning For a New Liberty that Caplan raises?


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