Failings of Left-Wing and Market-Oriented Economists
By David Henderson
Tyler Cowen (here and here) and co-blogger Arnold Kling have commented on what they see as the main failings of left-wing and market-oriented economists. I agree with much of what Arnold said and some of what Tyler said: my disagreements and even agreements would take too much space because I like to lay out reasons rather than, like Tyler, give sound bites.
But here’s one failing, that neither Tyler nor Arnold mentions, of the vast majority of both left-wing and market-oriented economists: their apparently dogged determination not to analyze the role of war and an aggressive foreign policy in leading to the rise of the interventionist state. Robert Higgs has laid this out well in his 1987 book, Crisis and Leviathan, which I reviewed in Fortune. Jeff Hummel is currently completing a book showing, inter alia, how almost any domestic government intervention you can name had its origin in this or that war. And while we’re at it–I know this isn’t an economic issue–but wouldn’t it be nice if Tyler Cowen or Brad DeLong or Paul Krugman or, for that matter, I (I’m currently writing a piece on it for antiwar.com) took 100 words to denounce the U.S. government for torturing–yes, torturing–Bradley Manning?