New issue of Econ Journal Watch

In this issue

And the IMF said: LET THERE BE DATA. And there was dataRyan Murphy and Colin O’Reilly unearth assumptions behind the International Monetary Fund’s numbers for private capital stocks by country.

Hayek’s Divorce and Move to ChicagoLanny Ebenstein draws together new information to reinterpret Hayek’s personal life and how it related to his move to the United States, especially from 1945 to 1955.

The Russian pupils of Adam SmithAn essay from 1937 tells of the two Glasgow students of the 1760s who returned home and launched a tradition of Smithian liberal thought in Russia.

Ideological Profiles of the Economics Laureates: We resume the project with two of the 2013 laureates—Eugene Fama, who responded to our questionnaire, and Lars Peter Hansen.

An Icelandic sagaHannes Gissurarson responds to his compatriot Stefán Ólafsson on the proper way to tell their country’s story since 1991.

Against the Incorporation of BarbersA remarkable, forgotten pamphlet of 1758 argues that the restriction, which today would be termed occupational licensing, left those in need of a haircut at the mercy of “a greasy Barber, covered all over with Suds, and the excrementitious Parts of the Beards of nasty Mechanicks.”

EJW Audio:

Lanny Ebenstein on Hayek’s Personal Affairs

Dwight Lee on Teaching Econ and the Two Moralities


Against the Incorporation of Barbers

“Industry needs no other Spur than the Profit and Honour attending her,” “give a free and uninterrupted Course to the Bent and Genius of the People.”

Pay attention Libertarians, now this is the way to gripe!

Occupational licensing for hair-care has always seemed the strangest overreach to me. The only thing I can think of for why it exists is that a bad haircut for a man and to a greater extent for a woman can really mess up a month of someone's life.

"Against the Incorporation of Barbers" - was a propaganda tract, common back then. Why should it be any more "true" or "false" than any other polemic?

As for bad haircuts, the penalty during Assyrian days, around 1500 BC- 1800 BC, was apparently death (not sure if it was also in the Code of Hammurabi, but certainly it was Draconian! (sic)) So people care about bad haircuts and are prepared to pay a little extra to get a good one.

Bonus trivia: I once paid like $1 and got a really bad haircut in Thailand, to the point where my friends and even people who hardly knew me made fun of me or made comments for days. I am firmly convinced the woman hated foreigners and made a deliberate attempt to cut my hair bad. It was that bad. Worse than a bowl cut, it was leaving holes in my hair.

Couldn't be the Code of Hammarubi. If it had been in The Code the punishment for a bad haircut would've been to give the hairdresser a bad haircut.

Smart people saying stupid things:

"Question: Overall, would you say your views have changed, and, if so, have they changed in a way that can be summarized as changes of a particular nature or character? Did your thinking “move” in a particular “direction” (using the notion of ideological space)?

Answer: Seeing Government as the problem, not the solution."

Government is just a human activity that is more suitable to some problem domains than others.

There are lots of human activities that are useful even when they should not be universally applied.

And there are plenty of examples where this particular activity has proven very successful.

He said, on the ARPA developed internet.

Hayek's Move: Great men are capable of horrible behavior. No, not that he married his cousin (which is strange enough). But that he abandoned his first wife and mother of his children, leaving them near destitute and his children without a father, and moved to America where he could get a divorce and avoid the social stigma in England for being the wretch that he was. The road to serfdom, indeed. Hayek makes Kavanaugh look like the choirboy he claims to be.

Oooo. That hurts!

It is notable that many of the best known economists had miserable personal lives, while many of the most affluent and happy economists had forgettable intellectual legacies.

"But, as your Lordships are not possessed of legislative Power, you cannot do this, though you are possessed of an interpretative Power"

Clearly the Lords of Session hadn't taken over legislative powers in the style of SCOTUS.

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