The Power and Vitality of Living Economics

“Loaded with content well worth reading and carefully arrayed gems from history of thought, Peter Boettke’s LIVING ECONOMICS is literally his personal statement about living with and living through economics. But be careful as you read. Boettke’s love affair with economics is contagious. You will find yourself cheering for more.” —Bruce Yandle, Professor of Economics Emeritus, Clemson University

Economics provides a powerful framework for understanding what goes on in the marketplace, the voting booth, the family, the community, and every other sphere of social activity. Its greatest teachers—from before Adam Smith on down to the present—have always impressed upon the public their discipline’s explanatory powers and importance for human well-being. In his new book Living Economics: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, Independent Institute Research Fellow Peter J. Boettke contributes to this tradition by discussing the ideas of some of the most important economists of the past century—famous and not so famous “worldly philosophers” whose innovative theories shed light on pressing issues such as inflation and unemployment, capitalism and socialism, competition and entrepreneurship, law and politics, and customs and civil society.

These economists—including Hans Sennholz, Murray Rothbard, Kenneth Boulding, Warren Samuels, James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, Vincent and Elinor Ostrom, Don Lavoie, Thomas Mayer, F. A. Hayek, and Ludwig von Mises—also inspired Boettke’s passion for economics. In addition to illuminating their ideas, Boettke explains how the conduct of economists, both in classrooms and in scholarly journals written for their peers, enhances or diminishes the influence of economic thinking on the world of practical affairs. His diagnosis of the current maladies of the economics profession is especially valuable. He concludes by urging his colleagues to return to their discipline’s original mission: to make sense of human action and communicate the findings to a public sorely in need of cogent counsel.

Scholarly and yet highly accessible, Living Economics enables readers to see far across the human landscape by standing on the shoulders of giants in the economics profession, as Boettke and his occasional chapter co-authors—Christopher Coyne, Steve Horwitz, Peter Leeson, David L. Prychitko, and Frederic Sautet—eagerly acknowledge. Its sparkling insights make it worthwhile reading for economics teachers, students, and anyone interested in exploring the frontiers of the economic way of thinking and their potential impact on the world.

Living Economics: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, by Peter J. Boettke

Preface by Peter J. Boettke

Video: Peter Boettke on Teaching and Communicating Economic Ideas (5/14/12)

[This post first appeared in the June 5, 2012, issue of The Lighthouse, the Independent Institute’s weekly newsletter. To receive The Lighthouse and other email notices from the Independent Institute, enter your email address here.]

Carl Close is Research Fellow and Senior Editor for The Independent Institute and Assistant Editor of The Independent Review and editor of The Lighthouse, The Independent Institute’s weekly e-mail newsletter.
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