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Showing posts from July, 2020

Liberal Economics?

Economics is a liberal discipline.  This is my argument, expressed as concisely as possible.  I do not have in mind political or social liberalism.  The historical connections between economics and the various European liberalisms have been well-established by intellectual historians.  Adam Smith’sInquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, was a watershed moment for economics and liberalism.  The rise of Manchesterism, with its advocacy of free markets both domestically and abroad, was another.  Similar examples exist for France, Italy, and Germany, even if they proved less definitive than in England and Scotland.  This is neither new nor controversial.  Instead, my interest is the relationship between economics and a liberal outlook, or worldview—and, as an essentially related matter, a liberal education.  Although it is seldom appreciated, economics is liberal in this sense, too. At first glance, this is an unlikely assertion.  Edmund Burke, the …