Teaching in the Spirit of Liberty - Resource Round Up!
All systems either of preference or of restraint, therefore, being thus completely taken away, the obvious and simple system of natural liberty establishes itself of its own accord. Every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest his own way, and to bring both his industry and capital into competition with those of any other man, or order of men. The sovereign is completely discharged from a duty, in the attempting to perform which he must always be exposed to innumerable delusions, and for the proper performance of which no human wisdom or knowledge could ever be sufficient; the duty of superintending the industry of private people, and of directing it towards the employments most suitable to the interest of the society. According to the system of natural liberty, the sovereign has only three duties to attend to; three duties of great importance, indeed, but plain and intelligible to common understandings: first, the duty of protecting the society from violence and invasion of other independent societies; secondly, the duty of protecting, as far as possible, every member of the society from the injustice or oppression of every other member of it, or the duty of establishing an exact administration of justice; and, thirdly, the duty of erecting and maintaining certain public works and certain public institutions which it can never be for the interest of any individual, or small number of individuals, to erect and maintain; because the profit could never repay the expence to any individual or small number of individuals, though it may frequently do much more than repay it to a great society.
Hayek’s piece is longer than the Smith and hard to read in a different way but worth the trouble. The third paragraph hits hard in a Smithian way:
The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess. The economic problem of society is thus not merely a problem of how to allocate “given” resources—if “given” is taken to mean given to a single mind which deliberately solves the problem set by these “data.” It is rather a problem of how to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society, for ends whose relative importance only these individuals know. Or, to put it briefly, it is a problem of the utilization of knowledge which is not given to anyone in its totality.
Let the same natural liberty of exercising what species of industry they please be restored to all his majesty’s subjects, in the same manner as to soldiers and seamen; that is, break down the exclusive privileges of corporations, and repeal the statute of apprenticeship, both which are real encroachments upon natural liberty, and add to these the repeal of the law of settlements, so that a poor workman, when thrown out of employment either in one trade or in one place, may seek for it in another trade or in another place.
- Amazon author page
- Great Antidote interview with Otteson from March 2022
- A Brief Bio of Adam Smith written for ASW by Otteson
- EconTalk on Adam Smith with Otteson and Nobel prize winner Vernon Smith on
- Speaking of Smith post by Lauren Heller about using a murder mystery to teach economics (and about Adam Smith)
- The Pin Factory teaching tool
- Class curricula for The Trade Game
- Class curricula for specialization in labor
- Reacting to the Past Games (this one specifically was suggested)
It would NOT be a Liberty Fund reading group if you didn’t walk about with more to read after and this group was no exception. Add these to your open tabs, night stands, and wish lists.
- The Power and Pervasiveness of Spontaneous Order By Elaine Sternberg
- The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley
- On Liberty by JS Mill
- “What Should Economists Do? An Appreciation” By Donald J. Boudreaux (of another Nobel prize winner, James Buchanan)
- "Readers' Forum, Comments on 'The Tradition of Spontaneous Order' by Norman Barry"
- By James M. Buchanan and David Gordon and Israel Kirzner
- Jealousy of Trade: International Competition and the Nation-State in Historical Perspective by Istvan Hont
- Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow by Ludwig von Mises
Hello! lt just so happened l missed this session; l pretegistered but couldn't find the link still learning about phone. Then Shelly sent me a reply; she was helpful and very nice. All to say now l can not only reread the material but chat; see you soon😊