2012 was for Russ and me filled (as recent years have been) with accusations that we write what we write, say what we say, teach what we teach, and blog what we blog only because we’re intellectual mercenaries. Alas, in fact, no one has ever offered to pay me to express an opinion that I disagree with or otherwise do not hold. (I’m sure that the same is true for Russ.) I’m bummed, for although I’d reject such an offer, I’d love the thrill of having my ego so fulsomely flattered – flattered by some calculating gabagazillionaire thinking highly enough of my talents and audience reach that he or she is willing to fork over big bucks to pay me to serve as a mouthpiece for his or her views.
All that you read here at the Cafe by Russ and me are opinions sincerely held and ideas genuinely believed. That fact in itself doesn’t render those opinions wise or those ideas correct – but sincere and genuine our opinions and ideas truly are.
And I sincerely and genuinely, as 2012 winds to its close, ask you to consider contributing to George Mason University’s Department of Economics. (Your contribution, at least if you pay income taxes in the U.S., is tax-deductible, made as it would be through the George Mason University Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.)
For nearly nine years now we’ve posted material at the Cafe almost daily (and, on most days, several times). As I noted last year, during that time we’ve avoided adding any advertising links – despite increasingly frequent solicitations for us to add such links. So, truly, neither Russ nor I receives any monetary payment for our work here as Cafe Hayek’s ‘blogeristas.’ While our blogging does have intellectual rewards, it is, for us, a true labor of love – one that we will continue to perform for the foreseeable future.
Any monetary contribution that you make will go not to Russ or to me. It will go to the Department on whose faculty I so proudly serve. (Earlier this year, Russ resigned his post at GMU in order to move full-time to the Hoover Institution. Russ remains, however, an honorary and greatly valued Masonomist.) Our Department Chairman, Dan Houser, determines the uses of any non-earmarked private funds that we receive. And Dan uses those funds prudently, wisely, and entrepreneurially to promote research by our faculty colleagues, and to support our students.
Some (but by no means all) of the ways that such private funds are typically used are: to pay for faculty travel to professional conferences (at which they present their research); to pay for our annual Undergraduate Economic Awards Ceremony every April, where we honor – some with cash prizes – our premier undergraduates; to fund graduate-student fellowships, as well as to pay for our graduate students to attend professional meetings where they both present their research and interview for faculty positions.
So if you enjoy the Cafe, please consider expressing your appreciation with a tax-deductible contribution GMU’s Department of Economics. You can do so by writing a check made payable to “GMU Foundation” (with “Economics” written in the check’s lower left-hand corner) and mailed to:
Department of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
Or you can contribute on-line at this link, and by specifying “Department of Economics” in the box labeled “Other Established Fund.”
I think it no exaggeration to remark that GMU Economics is a rare treasure for everyone who loves liberty and understands the vital role that a profound understanding of economics plays in the never-ending task of explaining the logic and role of markets. Not only are my colleagues energetic, creative, and successful scholars – think, for example, of Tyler Cowen, Peter Boettke, Bryan Caplan, Chris Coyne, Tom Hazlett, Garett Jones, Dan Klein, Peter Leeson, David Levy, John Nye, Thomas Stratmann, Alex Tabarrok, Dick Wagner, Larry White, Walter Williams* – but they are also masters at reaching out beyond narrow academic audiences to the general public.
We here at GMU Econ love economics! We love doing economics, teaching economics, and talking to anyone and everyone about economics. Your contribution will help to leverage our efforts to greater effect.
Thanks to you all. Have a Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a wonderful 2013 that, hopefully, will bring the beginning of a rebirth of genuine liberalism and its consequent respect, rather than contempt, for individuals.
* Listing all of my accomplished and accomplishing faculty colleagues would make this e-mail far too long. The list given above is partial. Our faculty is home to many more first-rate economists and public scholars.