Liberrants

Welcome to Liberrants, a blog dedicated to editorials, discussions, and studies of all things libertarian. Don't let the title mislead you; it's merely my attempt to be creative in describing myself as a "hopeful curmudgeon" who embraces the goal of the free, peaceful, economically vibrant society envisioned by America's founding fathers. Jump in! Contribute! Enjoy!

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Location: Tucson, Arizona, United States

A critically thinking curmudgeon whose goal, in addition to creatively venting about the imperfect world in which we live, is to induce critical thinking in others. The ultimate goal is to help bring about a peaceful world in which we can all live in freedom.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Why People Hate Economics

Dr. Hans Sennholz, Chairman of the Economics Department at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, has written an excellent article posted on today's LRC that explains why those who believe in the omnipotence of the State, on both the left and the right, hate economics. For anyone curious as to why the relevance of economics isn't more widely appreciated or understood, it's a worthwhile and informative read.

I've spent the last couple of days arguing with posters on blogs belonging to Individ and Heartless Libertarian (both of whom have posted spot-on commentary on why the economy's response to Hurricane Katrina is both normal and ultimately beneficial) that there is no such thing as "price gouging", a popular concept with people these days in the wake of rising gas prices. As I've commented on both blogs, I never cease to be amazed at just how ignorant and fearful of economics the average person is, particularly here in America, and even those with post-secondary educations in at least some lower-level economics courses are mostly Keynesian indoctrinates (worse than no economic education at all, IMNSHO). What we need is more evangelism of the Austrian school, particularly with those not familiar with such fundamental concepts as supply and demand. As far as I'm concerned, getting someone to "unlearn" a Keynesian economics education is harder than teaching someone who is an economic "blank sheet" the Austrian philosophy. The sooner people begin to understand why prices and markets work the way they do, the less nonsense we'll hear out of people's mouths or see out of government at all levels.

Anyway, give Dr. Sennholz's article a read. Grove City College, by the way, is an impressive private institution. My daughter seriously considered applying there several years ago, but her and our finances and lack of adequate scholarship opportunities precluded it from being an option . I almost wish that I had received my own undergraduate degree from them myself, as they are one of two schools in the country that I am aware of (the other being Michigan's Hillsdale College) that actually emphasize free markets and libertarian philosophical thought in their economics and social studies curricula.

1 Comments:

Blogger Paul said...

Economics may well be about value-free models of what actually happens when "goods" in the broadest sense are traded. But life is not value-free. What happens if the practical operation of a real-life market leads to "social injustice"? Is the answer always "more market freedom", and is that the same thing as more freedom for powerful individual actors in the market? Might such individuals use their power to reduce the efficiency of the market, reducing competition to maximise personal medium-term profit?

The article does not discuss whether distortions and inefficiencies in markets (perhaps caused by cartels, artificial monopolies, or imperfectly informed markets), can contribute to inequities, or reduce overall wealth-production. Given the state of most real-life markets, this seems a major omission.

Not that I'm an economist or anything... but Sennholz's article seems like an over-simplification.

1:23 PM, September 29, 2005  

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