I’m at the beautiful Montelucia resort in Scottsdale, AZ , for the 15th Annual Institute for Humane Studies / Mercatus Center Donors’ Retreat. A few hundred dedicated supporters of sound economic education and a free, open, liberal society are gathered here to network and converse with each other and to hear from some truly wonderful speakers. Last night, for example, Jonathan Haidt discussed the important ideas in his 2012 book, The Righteous Mind . And just a few moments ago, attendees were treated to the insights on the state of modern economics by my colleagues Pete Boettke and Tyler Cowen (pictured here, in the center of the photo, each wearing a navy-blue blazer).
Another talk that was especially good (among a slew of excellent talks) was Matt Zwolinski ‘s talk on “What About the Poor?” Although I am much less enthusiastic than is Matt about the prospects of a minimum-guaranteed-income as a second-best ‘solution’ to the myriad problems of today’s welfare state, I am always impressed by Matt’s insights, humanity, and learning. Matt’s eloquent explanation of the harm done to many of the world’s poorest people by western opponents of sweatshops (which was the bulk of his talk) is inspired.
Oh, I also wish to give special applause to Megan McArdle for her wise and wit-filled luncheon address today – a great job especially given that she was pinch-hitting for Justin Amash who was unable to attend because of a death in his family.