Neolibertanian Baroque of Madam Deidre Mccloskey



Joan Robinson of the “other side”. If I should point out the two most important woman economists in the history of lucrative literature, it would be Joan Robinson and Deidre McCloskey. Great erudite, multi-leveled, colloquial, deep-in-search, insightful, comprehensive, literal, theoretic?

I do admire Robinson, who should have received the Nobel Prize.  She was crazy politically—finally a Maoist.  But she was the best woman economist of all time.

From where comes the fresh-fullness of your economism, plentifulness of motives, that new economic baroque, yes that neolibertarian baroque, beautiful grotesque of facts, data, persons, language, metaphors? Yet this diversity well elaborated in research/ti ?

I like your phrase “neolibertarian baroque.”  My point is merely that we should look at all the logic and evidence—and poetry, philosophy, painting, opera, country music, novels are evidence of the human condition as much as is a coefficient from a mis-specified regression.

Your neohistorical method is temporal? Neohistoricals are in fact greatly focused and equipoised…

Yes, in the sense just mentioned: that history is surely relevant as evidence.  For example, if one thinks that good property rights caused the modern world, one needs to realize that such property rights existed in ancient Rome and Israel and China, yet did not result in a Great Enrichment.

Do you find “undefinitive possibilities” in economics rather than “dismal definition“?

The phrase “dismal science” was coined by the conservative, Thomas Carlyle, to complain against the liberal economists of the time (such as his friend J. S. Mill) who opposed slavery.  It doesnot refer to the pessimistic conclusions of the classical economists (Ricardo, Mill, and the like).

But yes, I am an Adam Smithianeconomist, as for example the other great Smith, Vernon, calls himself.  As the historian of economic thought, Anthony Waterman (a student when he was an undergraduate of that same Joan Robinson, by the way), “Malthus’ first [1798] Essay made land scarcity central, and so began a century-long mutation of ‘political economy,’ the optimistic science of wealth, to ‘economics,’ the pessimistic science of scarcity.”

Economics can be interesting?

Oh, yes, unless we insist on separating the Sacred from the Profane in a way that devalues our ordinary lives.

Neolibertarian, Austrian school, New classical, microeconomics, what would you considered most of? Your linear method has great tradition in and Austrian school?

I am as I said a Smithian, looking into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations, as we all should.  The causes were, as the Austrians put it, “discovery,” and so we need to look into the sources of human creativity.

How would define economic and political freedom?

As Smith defined it, Scottish equality—that it, equality before the law and equality of social dignity.

You even more social theorist, your method in sociology is economic, and in economics it is historical? While the topics are multifarious, research tangent is linear Chicagoan?

“And in history, economic and sociological.”  That is, I think one needs to think like an economist to realize that economic causesare feeble in explaining the modern world—it is political and sociological changes that made for the mass of people to “have a go,” as the English say.  That is, it was the Scottish equality before the law and before society that made people bold, and ended by making us all rich by historical standards.

In 1987 you wrote The Rhetoric of the Human Sciences: Language and Argument in Scholarship and Public Affairs and consequently in 1985 & 1998 The Rhetoric of Economics.

You find right social frame for what is going in phenomenological world of economics, right semantics for powers that drive individual and interactive behavior….

The right social frame is rhetoric, the available means of unforced persuasion.  As I put it in a recent little video, there are two ways only for changing behavior—violence or sweet talk.

Marketing is not hoax?  Economy has its humanistic value in society?

Marketing is simply commercial free speech.  I believe in free speech, the “sweet talk.”  Economics can be “humanomics” if it will broaden itself, without losing the gains from mathematics.

And what about rhetoric? Market is read as world of sings, active, political, entrepreneurial, and its value lies within a speech?

Since 1995 or so I have realized that the economy works on words, sweet talk, rhetoric.

Speech has its productive consequences in society?

Oh, yes.  Read my paper with Klamer, “One-Quarter of National Income is Persuasion

Then you turn to cliometrics….

I started back in the late 1960s by applying economics to the past, and brought the idea to Britain.

Now as a great speaker in neolibertarian baroque, in critical lit economics, in critical pop economics,

you are dedicated  to psychology of surpreneur, suprapreneurial elite bourgeoisie, and behaviorism of decision market?

No, I am not.  Psychology, it seems to me, is not to the point.  Sociology and politics is.  The psychology of humans does not change.  What does change is the attitude of the rest of the society towards betterments.  If as in Venezuela the government suppressed ordinary business and new ideas, the result will be as we see.

Supreneur still have refined choice not underbred one?

I do not believe in super entrepreneurs.  I am a democrat, and believe in the ingenuity of ordinary people.  Some do very well indeed—fine, and to our benefit.  But widespread ingenuity is what most makes for a rich and liberal society.

Great triad of sciences is relevant in your research?

I don’t know what you mean.  “Science” in English has come to mean “chemistry and physics.”  I prefer the older definition, and the definition in Spanish and all other languages, of science as “systematic inquiry.”  In that case I admire the social sciences, the humanistic sciences, and the physical sciences.

Your favorite economists? Favorite literature and not necessary, economic books?

Favorites among the living, or recently deceased: Vernon Smith, Bart Wilson (who invented the word “humanomics”), Arjo Klamer (the only professor of art and economics in the world), Israel Kirzner (on entrpreneurship), Peter Boettke, Daniel Klein, and many others.  My current favorite in literature is the British writer A. N. Wilson.

You were involved in acquaintances with many great economists. Could you give us some worthy anecdote?

Nietzsche], .  .  .  it announced: God is power; and whoever has it is his prophet.[i]

Thus, for example, the Chicago economist George Stigler (1911–1991), a fervent advocate of so-called rational models of politics, was opposed always to the premise of his friend and colleague Milton Friedman that people are open to reason, and that reasons therefore are worth giving.  In the early 1970s at the University of Chicago I overheard Stigler and Friedman arguing amiably in the coffee room of the Social Science Building in just such terms.  In effect they said:

FRIEDMAN.  I am trying to persuade Americans to adopt free international trade.

STIGLER.  Milton, you’re such a preacher! Forget about persuasion.  People follow their passions and their interests.

FRIEDMAN.  I’m a teacher, George, and I believe in persuasion.

STIGLER.  Less economist thou!


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