Becker and Posner: Freedom of Speech and Public Intellectualship
History of Political Economy Vol. 45, No.1, 2013
Presented at the HOPE Conference on "The Economist as Public Intellectual", Duke University, April 13-15, 2012
22 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2016 Last revised: 29 Jun 2016
Date Written: February 1, 2012
This essay analyzes what Gary S. Becker and Richard A. Posner have written for various media (either in print or online) that are not strictly aimed at academic audiences. We provide an historical account of how they became interested in such activities, from their first attempts, made independently from each other, to their joint venture on the Internet through The Becker-Posner Blog. In our description of their independent and then collaborative experiences, differences appear between Becker and Posner about how to be a public intellectual, but also similarities as to what that means and implies. From this perspective, the blog proves to be a further and crucial step in their career as public intellectuals. Both Becker and Posner use the blog for the freedom and flexibility it offers. They use it to develop a sort of “casual economic thinking” that they push farther than in any of their other writings, even as public intellectuals.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation