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The Rebirth of Classical Political Economy

By Pedro Schwartz

In their diverse ways, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Gary Becker, James Buchanan and Ronald Coase can be seen as leaders of the group of economists who helped reestablish the philosophy of freedom, economic and political, after the drift of the first part of the 20th century. I could bring more names into the fray but I will take these five champions as the representatives of different ways of restating the philosophy of the free market. They did not see eye to eye on everything, especially in matters of methodology. But this group of Nobel laureates is rightly seen as having brought about real progress in economic theory and policy. They were not the clique of 'neo-liberal' ideologues that market haters say they are. Indeed, one could follow William Coleman in glorying in the 'neo-liberal' moniker, so as to show pride in what they and their many followers have contributed to the science and application of political economy.1 I still incline to saying 'classical liberals'. Friedri...

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