Out of Poverty: Powell’s Most Recent Work in the Misesian Tradition

OutofPovertyPowellPete Boettke at Coordination Problem highlights the excellent work by Ben Powell in the Misesian tradition (links added).

Ben Powell‘s Out of Poverty, is a classic example of praxeological reasoning and the purpose of political economy in the hands of a skilled thinker influenced by Mises’s approach. Listen to his discussion of the book, he treats the ends of the critics of sweatshops as given, he deploys straightforward analysis of the effectiveness of the chosen means for the attainment of those given ends, and demonstrates in a non-normative yet powerful way how the critics and policy makers influenced by the critics are in fact engaged in counter-productive policies from their own point of view. Graduate students and young economists take notice, this is how you are supposed to be doing (as opposed to talking) praxeology.

Don’t get me wrong, it is vitally important for young scholars (and old) to engage in pure theory, and to also engage in intellectual history and methodological discussions to refine our understanding of praxeology, but ultimately the purpose of theory is found in the application to history and contemporary history (also known as public policy). Ben Powell is demonstrating to young scholars (and old) how to engage in sound economic reasoning and engage a hot-botton issue in contemporary public policy. Mises, no doubt, would be thrilled to see how his approach to the sciences of man is being developed and utilized by a masterful economist.

For the video of Powell’s presentation of his new book go here

Comments

  1. It’s difficult to win a debate defending sweatshops.

    It’s an easy argument to say a country should not need to go through the sweat-shop era to advance now that we ‘know better’

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