Anthony de Jasay is among the most original and independent thinkers on the relationship between the individual and the state. Through his published works he has challenged the reigning paradigms justifying modern democratic government. His deeply challenging theoretical works include The State, published in 1985; it is an analysis that views the state as acting primarily in its own interests and often in opposition to the interests of both society and individuals. He subsequently published a number of additional works, including Social Contract, Free Ride: A Study of the Public Goods Problem; Choice, Contract, Consent; Before Resorting to Politics; and Against Politics. His work has become known for its insightful, individualistic, and unconventional analysis of power, politics, and freedom.
Armen A. Alchian is one of the twentieth century’s great teachers of economic science and the co-author, with William R. Allen, of the classic textbook University Economics. Born in 1914 in Fresno, California, he studied at Stanford, finishing his Ph.D. dissertation in 1943. He became a full professor at UCLA in 1958. He is known as the founder of the “UCLA tradition” in economics, which emphasizes that individual behavior is self-seeking and rational and that this can have many unanticipated consequences. Alchian has become recognized as one of the most influential voices in the areas of market structure, the theory of the firm, law and economics, resource unemployment, monetary theory, and monetary policy.
Distinguished Professor of Economics at UCLA and the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Economics at the University of Chicago, Arnold C. Harberger has been a dominant force in the development of global economic policies. From India to Chile, from Panama to Azerbaijan, Harberger’s research and on-the-ground engagement with leaders of finance, industry, and government have shown the efficacy and wide-ranging importance of his approach to economics. Continually focused on the professionalism of his chosen discipline, Harberger is an exemplar of its application, and he remains a highly respected and relevant economist in the twenty-first century.
Ernest van den Haag was born in Holland and came to the United States in 1940. He has published a number of works, including The Fabric of Society; The Jewish Mystique; and Political Violence and Civil Disobedience. In 1975, he published Punishing Criminals: Concerning a Very Old and Painful Question, which established van den Haag as one of the leading voices in American criminology and led to his appointment as a visiting professor of Criminal Justice at the State University of New York in Albany and as the John M. Olin Professor of Jurisprudence and Public Policy at Fordham University. Professor van den Haag continues to pursue his concerns in criminal law and criminology as part of his greater interest in the free society.
One of the most original and influential historians writing on the American founding period, Forrest McDonald speaks here about his life and the development of his work. In candid reflections, McDonald analyzes his intellectual formation in Texas in the 1950s and how he came to write his landmark We the People: The Economic Origins of the Constitution, which upset the dominant, long-standing theory proposed by Charles A. Beard. His experience in the 1960s at Brown University and Wayne State University reveals a dramatic portrait of the American cultural tumult of the time.
Gary Becker is one of the most original and pathbreaking economists in recent times. When he was named the 1992 Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences, it was for “having extended the domain of microeconomic analysis to a wide range of human behaviour and interaction, including nonmarket behaviour.” Becker’s work led directly to the development of “human capital” theory and the economic analysis of discrimination, crime and punishment, marriage and the family, and the formation of habits. His studies have yielded fresh perspectives on the central problems in these areas, as well as new approaches to solving those problems. Becker is the University Professor of Economics and Sociology at the University of Chicago, and the Rose-Marie and Jack R. Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
One of the most influential contributors to American political thought in the last half-century, George W. Carey speaks here about some of his primary and abiding concerns, including: the foundations of political order, the origins and intent of the American republic, and the ultimate crisis of “derailment” befalling the republic.
A professor at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago in the 1960s and a primary figure in the Chicago School of Economics and in the field of Law and Economics, Harold Demsetz has contributed original research on the theory of the firm, regulation in markets, industrial organization, antitrust policy, transactions costs, externalities, and property rights. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Director of the Mont Pelerin Society, Demsetz is Arthur Andersen UCLA Alumni Emeritus Professor of Business Economics.
Harry Jaffa is a leading political philosopher and among the most influential scholars on Abraham Lincoln. His classic Crisis of the House Divided is a study of the Lincoln-Douglas debates that examines closely Lincoln’s defense of the principles of the American Founding and Union. Jaffa’s recent sequel to that work, A New Birth of Freedom, explores further the basis for American republican government. His other books include Thomism and Aristotelianism; The Conditions of Freedom; How to Think about the American Revolution; and Original Intent and the Framers of the Constitution: A Disputed Question. Jaffa is Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy, and the Henry Salvatori Research Professor in Political Philosophy, Emeritus 1989, at Claremont McKenna College and the Claremont Graduate School.
Henry Manne was one of the early proponents of the study of law and economics. He founded the Center for Law and Economics, now at George Mason University, and has directed scores of law and economics seminars attended by economists, judges, lawyers, educators, and policy makers.
Israel Kirzner is among the foremost scholars in the continuing development of the Austrian School of economic theory. His works comprise such classics in the field as The Economic Point of View (1960), Competition and Entrepreneurship (1973), Perception, Opportunity, and Profit (1979), and The Meaning of Market Process (1992). In each he has extended our understanding of the workings of a free society, illuminated the role of entrepreneurs in the process of economic discovery, and shed new light on the dynamics of market forces. Of particular interest is his keen understanding of the differences between the Austrian School and the reigning neo-classical paradigm, and how Austrian economics affords new and exciting avenues for future work. In this interview, Professor Kirzner explores these subject areas, as well as his experiences as a student of the renowned teacher and scholar Ludwig von Mises, his interaction with such Austrian greats as Friedrich von Hayek, and his career as a professor of economics at New York University.