Value Freedom, Laissez Faire, Mises and Rothbard: A Comment on Professor Jones
Posted: 7 Jul 2011
Date Written: July 5, 2011
Although there are elements of this paper with which I shall take issue, I want to begin by enthusiastically welcoming its publication. Rothbard and Mises are giants in the field of laissez faire studies; any focus on their vastly underappreciated work is thus presumptively an important contribution to the literature. Second, it is very important to reconcile advocacy of the system of economic freedom, or laissez faire capitalism, with value freedom, or vertfreiheit, a necessary dimension of economics as a discipline. Is it possible to both favor the market system, and be a value free economist? Is the vitally important question to which Jones addresses himself, and he is to be congratulated for bringing it to our attention. Third, this paper is welcome on the ground that Mises and Rothbard agreed with each other on virtually all areas of political economy – except for this one. Prof. Jones has unearthed a man-bites-dog story wherein these two Castor and Pollux economists strongly diverge in their perspectives. His bringing of this situation to our attention is therefore alone worth the price of admission.
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