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Book review: The Invisible Hook – The Hidden Economics of Pirates

Peter Leeson’s study of “The Hidden Economics of Pirates”, The Invisible Hook, is theoretically correct, thoroughly grounded in historical research and fun to read. From the jacket: Pack your cutlass and blunderbuss–it’s time to go a-pirating! The Invisible Hook takes readers inside the wily world of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century pirates. With swashbuckling irreverence and devilish wit, Peter Leeson uncovers the hidden economics behind pirates’ notorious, entertaining, and sometimes downright shocking behavior. Why did pirates fly flags of Skull & […]

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What Ha Joon Chang Doesn’t Tell You about ‘Free Market Economics’ « Pileus

Professor Ha Joon Chang has become something of a hero to those who champion heterodox economic theory and who rail against the supposed intellectual hegemony of ‘neo-liberalism’. In a number of books such as Kicking Away the Ladder Chang sets out to overturn the alleged orthodoxies of mainstream economics by questioning the case for free trade as an appropriate development strategy in poorer countries and more widely making the case for a high regulation/big government agenda. These themes are vividly […]

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Three political economies debated in Parliament

Last week, I chaired what turned out to be a passionate, courageous and grounded debate between three intellectuals from each point of the political triangle: conservative, classical liberal and social democrat. Dr Mark Pennington set out the inescapable reality of imperfect knowledge and incomplete rationality in human actors in defence of markets. Richard Murphy argued for a “cappucino” of state and market, flat rejecting neoliberalism. Jesse Norman MP critiqued the flaws in the theories of neo classical economics and completely […]

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Robust Political Economy and Realistic Idealism « Pileus

Via Robust Political Economy and Realistic Idealism « Pileus: What criterion should we use to evaluate political theories and the institutions they advocate? In my book Robust Political Economy, I argue that it is the criterion of ‘robustness’. Institutions that meet this criterion are those best placed to cope with fundamental constraints that arise from the human condition. The most important constraints are those of limited rationality (the Hayekian ‘knowledge problem’) and the recognition that human beings respond, at least to […]

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European Union economic governance

I spoke last night in the European Union (Amendment) Act debate: Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): First, I wish to associate myself with the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Harwich and North Essex (Mr Jenkin). Too often when addressing questions such as the one under discussion we get bogged down either in procedural matters or matters that verge on the nationalistic, but this evening he has transcended that old territory and talked about what is good for the UK […]

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