- Series: Independent Studies in Political Economy
- Hardcover: 456 pages
- Publisher: Independent Institute; 1st edition (June 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1598130722
- ISBN-13: 978-1598130720
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.4 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,467,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Living Economics: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (Independent Studies in Political Economy) 1st Edition
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“A superb book. . . . It is vintage Boettke: engaging, witty, and chock full of insight. This book should be put in the hands of every first-year student of economics, if only to show them what they are missing!” —Bruce Caldwell, research professor of economics, Duke University
“A solid book that counters the excessive simulation of modern academic economics while, at the same time, avoiding the temptation to extend application of the logic beyond reasonable limits. Boettke concentrates on the primary purpose of economics, which is to convey an understanding of how, within properly designed institutional constraints, operative markets generate and distribute value without overt conflict.” —James M. Buchanan, distinguished professor emeritus of economics, George Mason University
“Peter Boettke's book Living Economics not only is splendidly characterized by broad erudition, solid analysis, shrewd observation, and expositional clarity, it appears at a propitious moment.” —William R. Allen, professor emeritus of economics, University of California–Los Angeles
“A remarkable book. The volume luminously reflects the amazing breadth of Professor Boettke’s reading, and the deep and careful thoughtfulness with which he reads.” —Israel M. Kirzner, professor emeritus of economics, New York University
About the Author
Peter J. Boettke is a research fellow at the Independent Institute, a professor of economics at George Mason University, and the editor of the Review of Austrian Economics. He is also the recipient of the Golden Dozen Award for Excellence in Teaching from the College of Arts and Sciences at New York University and the author of several books, including Calculation and Coordination: Essays on Socialism and Transitional Political Economy; The Political Economy of Soviet Socialism: The Formative Years, 1918–1928; and Why Perestroika Failed: The Economics and Politics of Socialism Transformation. He lives in Fairfax, Virginia.
Top customer reviews
Boettke is a passionate teacher and dedicated student who loves what he does and that is what one gets when he reads the book. He has deep respect with those who think different and tries to find the best in all strands of thought.
The book is a journey through his great masters ranging from Rothbard, Hayek and Elinor Ostrom and James Buchanan.
A must read book!
I learned a lot about mainline economics and got exposure to a range of thought that really improved both my economic thinking and provided insights that continue to help me in my role as a program manager for large scale IT and business transformation programs.
One of the most valuable learnings for me was from the work by the Ostrom's on Governance. I was further exploring this work when I also came across this topic in a very good business book by Julian Birkinshaw - "Reinventing Management". In the third chapter, Birkinshaw discusses Bureaucracy versus Emergence. In discussing the "risks of flexible bureaucracy" he mentions the work of Elinor Ostrom (Governing the Commons) and how her findings "apply directly to this discussion." By having read "Living Economics", I felt I had a much better grasp of this topic and I have been able to find ways to do my job better as a result.
There are a lot of great ideas and thinkers covered throughout the book. There are insights from a wide range of thinkers: Adam Smith, F.A. Hayek, Vincent and Elinor Ostrom, Kenneth Boulding, Israel Kirzner, and James Buchanan just to name a few. There is also a insightful chapter on "Where did economics go wrong?"
This book is worth your time and energy. It would also make a great gift for those interested in economics, ideas, social thought and if you are fortunate, as I was, it may spark thoughts that help in your career! Highly recommended!
The title, "Living Economics" has three meanings. The first is to explain economics as a living discipline, capable of growing and changing over time. Economics as a discipline possesses nearly limitless potential to do good and bad, depending on who its stewards are, what they attempt to do with it, and what they understand to be its limits. In this respect, Peter Boettke masterfully describes what economics was "yesterday," what it is "today," and what it could be "tomorrow." In doing so, he describes the origin, decline, and revival of mainline economics as well as the works and scholars who contributed to its revival. This is a journey that Boettke describes not only after years of research but also by living through it and his personal experience with and love of the the teachers he has had throughout his intellectual development.
The second meaning is the acknowledgement that economics is rooted in sound principles; what Boettke refers to as "the three p's and the three i's." In this lesson familiar to anyone who has heard him deliver a lecture, he explains how property rights generate the incentives, prices generate the information, and the profit/loss system generates the innovation. This lesson, how we lost sight of it, how it has made its resurgence, and the role of economists in saving economics from the grips of social engineers is one of the central themes of this book. To illustrate this, Boettke takes a very Buchanan-esque position, acknowledging that those of us within the profession inherit an existing understanding of what the profession is and what it is capable of (a combination of what economists are doing, what politicians want economists to do, and what the general public expects of economists) and that those who take teaching economics seriously have a responsibility to teach the intellectual hubris inherent in economics as extolled by Mises, Hayek, and Buchanan, among others.
The third and final meaning is to consider what it means to actually live economics: about being a "24/7 economist" as opposed to a "9-5 economist." In this sense, the book can be thought of as a massive expansion of the concluding paragraph of Mises's magnum opus, Human Action, with a familiar Boettke-twist. Economics IS a deadly serious subject but it is also the sexiest subject there is. Understanding its lessons can mean the difference between wealth and poverty; happiness and frustration; life and death. But it can also be the subject of joy and amusement, as evidenced by the research of several of Boettke's most successful students over the years. It is this wide range of understanding that he strives to instill in all of his students, from undergraduate to graduate to seminar participants to general audience members, through his lectures and now through this book. Getting students excited about the mystery of the mundane has been Boettke's task as a teacher for the last 25 years and it is this goal that this book emphasizes. With this in mind, Living Economics describes Boettke's approach to convincing students to accept the invitation to inquiry and therefore serves as an indispensible pedogogical guide.
Living Economics represents the culmination of all that is Boettke: the potent combination of Mises, Hayek, Buchanan, Smith, Rothbard, Tullock, Senholz, Lavoie, Elinor and Vincent Ostrom, and countless others mixed with the charm and humility that is classic Boettke. As some have described, this book represents Boettke at his finest: unplugged and loving every second. It is this that t has made him the "global leader of the Austrian School of Economics" as Tyler Cowen recently described. This book should be read by all who think 1) economics is serious 2) economics is fun.