No Ph.D.-granting Economics program in the world does what we do at GMU Economics.
That’s not an exaggeration.
There are many great economists at institutions other than George Mason University, and there are many other very good Economics programs. But GMU is home to the largest concentration of economists working in the classical-liberal tradition – the tradition that informed the approach and perspectives of scholars such as Adam Smith, Frederic Bastiat, Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ronald Coase, James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, Julian Simon, and Vernon Smith.
In this tradition, economics is not chiefly concerned with what other economists do. GMU Econ is not about what Ronald Coase derisively described as “blackboard economics.” It is chiefly concerned with the real world, and that concern is never allowed to be smothered beneath piles of abstractions or excessive theoretical elaborations. The GMU approach to economics seldom ventures far from the basic principles of economics. My colleagues are among the world’s most creative and skilled economists at using those basic principles to explain reality.
I sincerely believe that the Hayeks and Friedmans of the future are more likely to be trained and nurtured at GMU Econ than at any other institution in the world today – and the stronger GMU Econ is, the greater is our capacity to train and nurture such scholars. Walter Williams, Pete Boettke, Bryan Caplan, Tyler Cowen, Chris Coyne, Tom Hazlett, Pete Leeson, Dan Klein, Alex Tabarrok, Dick Wagner, Larry White – these are only some of my incredible colleagues, each of whom is a devoted teacher, accomplished scholar, and an economist who regularly and skillfully reaches out beyond the academy to bring sound economics to general audiences.
There is not only a need for economics done soundly as we do it at GMU, there is also a hunger for it among students from around the world. GMU Econ is the go-to destination for young economists seeking to work in the classical-liberal tradition – the go-to program for young scholars who understand that to be trained well as an economist is not to be instructed in various techniques of social engineering but, instead, to learn to understand deeply the logic of the invisible hand and the realities of the political process that the social-engineering types – the ‘economic creationists’ - nearly always ignore.
To run our program well, of course, requires funds. Over the past two decades, GMU Econ has relied increasingly on private funds from generous donors. These private funds pay for graduate-student fellowships (at both the masters and PhD levels), as well as enable us to run several top-notch speakers’ series during the academic year, to hire full-time faculty who we would otherwise be unable to hire, and to fund much of the pioneering research and public outreach that we are justly known for.
If you like what you read here at Cafe Hayek, you would be, I’m sure, pleased with the full array of programs and projects that my GMU Econ colleagues and I do year in and year out. And so I ask you to consider contributing toward our efforts. Every cent of your tax-deductible contribution will be used to promote sound economic education and research. And sound economic education and research is vitally important if a free, open, and prosperous society is to be reinvigorated and strengthened.
This year, if you are interested in contributing to help GMU Econ (and I do hope that you are!), please do so by making your contribution through the Mercatus Center at GMU. You can contribute on-line here, or if you prefer you can contribute with a check made out to “George Mason University Foundation” (with “Mercatus Center” in the memo line) and mailed to:
Mercatus Center at George Mason University
3351 North Fairfax Drive, 4th Floor
Arlington, Virginia 22201
Wishing you all a very happy, lovely, and safe Christmas and holiday season – and a 2014 that brings more freedom for individuals from the grasping, presumptuous, and inevitably dangerous state.