Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Great Posts on Don Boudreaux by David Henderson

David Henderson has produced two recently.
The first is general and dicusses Don's blog posts (and letters!).
Don, an economics professor at George Mason University, has mastered the art of writing letters to the editor. This is quite a skill. You first have to tell the reader enough about what you're responding to and then quickly say what you object to. (In maybe one out of four or five letters, he agrees with the person he's responding to but is writing to amplify or extend.) And you have to do all this in, typically, under 200 words.
The unifying theme in virtually everything he writes is why markets and freedom generally work so well, why government generally destroys things, and how people have such a double standard when it comes to judging behavior in the government sector versus the voluntary sector. And he does it marvelously.
His favorite bĂȘte noires tend to be: the idea that trade is a failure if you end up getting lots of imports, the idea that when a country runs a surplus on the current account it necessarily increases its indebtedness, and the idea that there's something noble about people coercively imposing their values on others.
The second explains Don's 'Aha' moment, the one that hooked him on economics.
One day in class, his professor showed how a price ceiling causes a shortage. Don grokked it immediately and said to himself, "Oh my gosh, that's why that couple in Buffalo froze." He saw the power of economics to explain the otherwise mysterious world around him. He was hooked. He later told me that those three lines--the supply curve, the demand curve, and the price ceiling--are the most important three lines in economics.
Both posts are short and worth a read, and I hope they get you reading Cafe Hayek (and EconLog, for that matter).


Post a Comment

<< Home