March, 2017

Humane Economics

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Read the Foreword to the new edition by Solomon M. Stein and Stefanie Haeffele-Balch.

Don Lavoie's published work encompasses a wide range of subjects, including socialism, hermeneutics, information technology, and culture. The subjects appear unrelated, but a close examination of his researche reveals an underlying unity of thought and an economics at sharp variance wit hthe post-Second World War mainstream. The contributors to this collection explore the legacy of his scholarship and its implications for economics. 

This book explores three themes that run throughout Don Lavoie's work. His overarching theme was the importance of social intelligence to economics. Second, and related to the first, was his recognition that certain institutions or practices are better at creating social intelligence than others--what could be called the primacy of liberty. Third was his assertion that economics shares more in common with the humane disciplines than with the physical sciences. As these essays make clear, Don Lavoie's work sets the state for a whole new generation of economists to align their work more closely with the humanities.

Students and scholars of economics, methodology, and humanities more broadly will find this a provocative and enriching collection.

About Don Lavoie:

Don Lavoie was the David H. and Charles G. Koch Chair of Economics at George Mason University, where he taught from 1981 until his death in 2001. Beginning in the early 1970s, Lavoie was a crucial figure in the revival of the Austrian school of political economy, and he played an important role in building the Austrian economics program at George Mason University. His research focused on comparative economic systems, the use of knowledge in economic and organizational contexts, and the implications of hermeneutical philosophy for economics. He was the author of Rivalry and Central Planning: The Socialist Calculation Debate Reconsidered and National Economic Planning: What Is Left?, both of which have been reissued by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

About the Editor:

Jack High is Professor Emeritus at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.

Contributors:

HUMANE ECONOMICS: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE WORK OF DON LAVOIE
Jack High, Professor Emeritus, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

CALCULATION, COMPETITION, and ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Israel M. Kirzner, Professor Emeritus of Economics, New York University

DON LAVOIE'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO COMPARATIVE ECONOMICS
Peter J. Boettke, University Professor of Economics and Philosophy, George Mason University; Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Mercatus Center at George Mason University
David L. Prychitko, Professor of Economics, Northern Michigan University

A TYPOLOGY OF INTERVENTIONIST DYNAMICS
Robert L. Bradley Jr., CEO and Founder, Institute for Energy Research

INSTITUTIONS AS ABSTRACTION BOUNDARIES
Bill Tulloh, formerly with the School of Public Policy, George Mason University
Mark S. Miller, Research Scientist, Google Inc.

'NEW' COLLABORATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS: THE CONVERGENCE OF HERMENEUTICS AND HYPERTEXT
Virgil Henry Storr, Research Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University; Don C. Lavoie Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Mercatus Center at George Mason University

HERMENEUTICS AND LIBERTY: REMEMBRANCE OF DON LAVOIE
G.B. Madison, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, McMaster University

HERMENEUTICS IN ECONOMICS: ON THE STATUS OF 'AS-IF' FUNCTIONS
Wayne J. Froman, Associate Professor of Philosophy, George Mason University

HUMILITY AND TRUTH IN ECONOMICS
Deirdre McCloskey, Professor Emeritus of Economics, History, English, and Communication, University of Illinois at Chicago; Distinguished Affiliated Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Mercatus Center at George Mason University

THE DEVELOPMENT OF CULTURAL ECONOMY: FOUNDATIONAL QUESTIONS AND FUTURE DIRECTION
Emily Chamlee-Wright, President and CEO, Institute for Humane Studies; Senior Research Scholar and Board Member, Mercatus Center at George Mason University

INNOVATION OF CARDIO-IMAGING TECHNOLOGY AT HEWLETT-PACKARD AND HP/PHILIPS
Don E. Kash, Professor Emeritus, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

SUBJECTIVE ORIENTATION AND OBJECTIVE WEALTH: ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND THE CONVERGENCE OF GROUPWARE AND HYPERTEXT CAPABILITIES
Don Lavoie, formerly the David H. and Charles G. Koch Chair of Economics, School of Public Policy, George Mason University

 

Endorsements

“This book highlights Don Lavoie’s multidisciplinary approach to the study of economics. In his view, economics is closer to the humanities than to the hard sciences, notwithstanding the claim often made in the literature that economics is indeed ‘a hard science.’ True to Lavoie’s vision, the book contains theoretical articles and case studies which link economics to several fields of study. It is a delight to see emphasis placed on the ‘hows and whys’ underlying market processes.” 

— Alan A. Rabin, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

“The authors do well-merited honor to Don Lavoie with carefully written contributions that not only are excellent for a memorial volume but could constitute a selection of outstanding journal articles. They tie together Lavoie’s many superficially different interests in, among others, comparative economic systems, market processes, computer programming, and epistemology. In particular, they emphasize how markets and prices enhance and coordinate inevitably dispersed knowledge. So doing, they further develop the contributions of Ludwig von Mises and especially of F. A. Hayek to the debate over socialist calculation.”

 — Leland Yeager, Auburn University and University of Virginia