Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Prof Boettke in London...cont

In addition to his Hayek lecture (blogged here), I have seen Prof Boettke talk on anarcho-capitalism as a positive political-economy research program, heard his views on property rights (in a pub with the LSE Hayek Society) and discussed liberalism in a post 9/11 world at the IEA.

He is a great speaker, really knows his stuff, is not afraid to wonder beyond his academic specialism (which is a good thing) and has loads of good anecdotes on famous economists.

On David Friedman (son of Milton): apparently he was brought up with a barter system through which he revealed his preferences for sweets .... and he has slightly impoverished social skills - so much so that as a student, he used to sit on the desk, and as the lecture progressed, hop his way forward to the front of the class! No doubting his intelligence and academic achievement - whilst on a PhD physics program he was so bored that he wrote an excellent book on law and economics in his spare time.

His anarchism talk was particularly persuasive as he referenced work (here, here and here) which proves that stable order can be maintained without government. Typically, anarcho-capitalists have suffered from the small number of case studies (medieval Iceland, housing communes...) but this problem is being addressed by Boettke and some of his PhD students. It is this type of work that really tempts me to go to Mason for an Econ PhD.


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