Henderson on South Royalton Austrian Convention – Econlib


Later this month is the fiftieth anniversary of the South Royalton, Vermont convention on Austrian economics. Liberty Fund requested Richard Ebeling, one of many attendees to jot down the lengthy essay, after which two individuals who attended (Mario Rizzo and I) and one one that didn’t (Geoffrey Lea) wrote responses.

Right here’s an excerpt from my response:

Like Richard Ebeling, I used to be excited to attend the primary Austrian Economics convention in South Royalton, Vermont. My motivation was completely different from Richard’s. I didn’t regard myself as an Austrian economist, however I did discover Friedrich Hayek’s work on the socialist calculation debate, and Ludwig von Mises’ work extra typically, profoundly insightful and necessary. I used to be additionally an enormous fan of Hayek’s The Highway to Serfdom, the very first thing by Hayek that I had learn. I had learn Hayek and Mises within the late Sixties once I was a younger undergraduate arithmetic main on the College of Winnipeg. I by no means took a course in Austrian economics: all of my studying was alone. Within the fall of 1971, once I utilized for the Ph.D. program at UCLA, I knew lots about UCLA’s robust free-market orientation and was trying ahead to taking lessons from Armen Alchian, Harold Demsetz, and Sam Peltzman, the three UCLA economists whose work I had learn. Whereas I knew that none of them was an Austrian economist, I hoped that a few of them can be sympathetic. So I took an opportunity on my utility letter, writing, “I would like to be in a graduate program where, if I refer to Mises, people don’t assume that I’m mispronouncing the name of a childhood disease.” It labored, should you choose by the end result: I used to be supplied full tuition plus a 2-year instructing assistant place paying $440 per 30 days for a 9-month yr. That was greater than this child from rural Manitoba had imagined he might get and, extra related, greater than I used to be supplied at my second selection, the College of Chicago.

The one who had motivated me to get into economics was Harold Demsetz, whom I had met in January 1970, when he gave 3 talks on the College of Winnipeg. I used to be hooked on economics. Though I nearly at all times took Demsetz’s recommendation—he was my dissertation advisor and my mentor—on this case I went towards his recommendation. I informed him that I had acquired a suggestion to attend the South Royalton convention at another person’s expense, and this system regarded fascinating. The three predominant audio system had been Murray Rothbard, Israel Kirzner, and Ludwig Lachmann. I had learn, and been impressed with, a lot of Rothbard’s Man, Economic system, and State. Demsetz’s buddy and colleague Ben Klein had assigned Israel Kirzner’s Competitors and Entrepreneurship in his industrial group class earlier that yr. Whereas I don’t recall Klein saying why he preferred the e book, I believe one purpose was that Kirzner rejected the concept that good competitors had something to do with perfection. I do keep in mind that Ben preferred the thought of dynamic evolving competitors that Kirzner, and the Austrians basically, refreshingly delivered to the financial dialogue.

So I used to be shocked that Demsetz discouraged me from going to the South Royalton occasion. He informed me that, now that my course work was finished, I ought to be digging into my dissertation instantly. However I wanted a break after two intense years, and this “busman’s holiday” appeared like what the physician ordered. I in all probability batted a thousand on Demsetz’s recommendation: taking it on each different difficulty and rejecting it on this one. The convention was nicely value it.

Right here’s a hyperlink to Richard Ebeling’s main essay, Mario Rizzo’s response essay, and at last my responses essay. Geoffrey Lea’s response is but to return.

Don’t miss the half in my essay about Frances Hazlitt’s remark to Milton Friedman.

The individuals within the picture are, from left to proper, Harry Watson, Milton Friedman, Jerry O’Driscoll, Jack Excessive, and Richard Ebeling.

Private word: I had a significant medical check yesterday. The outcomes had been damaging; I by no means just like the phrase “negative” as a lot as I do once I hear it from docs. I used to be sweating the check on Monday and Tuesday morning and having the check Tuesday afternoon. Thus the absence of weblog posts Monday and Tuesday.

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