I wrote this piece to put my thoughts together as to how I viewed my research agenda, the direction it is taking, and the connection to the Mercatus Institute which hosts the majority of semianrs I participate in.
Enforcement, Political Economy, and Field Research.
I’ve been bothered by something lately stemming from applications of welfare theories in economics. Without going into technical explanations of the two welfare theories, I’d like to draw attention to the notion of social value. Some Austrians have asserted that the free market does lead to social benefits. More formally represented, think of person A trading with person B, this claim would state that despite the local nature of persons A and B, who feel direct benefit from this transaction, society benefits as well. An accusation could be made that such claims are committing interpersonal utility comparisons. We have no way of knowing the preferences in regards to benefits or losses inferred by third parties outside of a particular commercial transaction. Surely someone may claim a loss, a curmudgeon if you will. This accusation seems reasonable at first but I really hate the idea of curmudgeons and I’d hate to be promoting such behavior so let me write a little more and see what develops.
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