… is from page 152 of my colleague Peter Boettke’s April 2017 talk “Don’t Be a ‘Jibbering idiot’: Economic Principles and the Properly Trained Economist,” as this essay appears as Chapter 8 of Pete’s excellent 2021 book, The Struggle for a Better World:
Economics properly done is an invitation to inquiry, and the principles constitute a golden key that unlocks the deepest mysteries of the human experience. We live in a world of scarcity, and as a result, individuals must choose. In choosing, individuals face tradeoffs, and in negotiating those tradeoffs, they need aids to the human mind to guide them. Prices serve this guiding role, profits lure them, losses discipline them, and all of that is made possible by an institutional environment of property, contract, and consent. These are the basic principles from which we work in economics.
DBx: Pictured above is the University of Virginia’s Ken Elzinga – one of the greatest economics teachers of this or of any era.