Correspondence on Austro Libertarianism With A Former Student of Mine

Letter 1

From: jonnyl21

Subject: Division of Labor

In Democracy: The God That Failed, Hoppe writes: “First, it is important to recognize that inequalities with respect to labor and/ or land are a necessary but by no means a sufficient condition for the emergence of human cooperation. If all humans were identical and everyone were equipped with identical natural resources, everyone would produce the same qualities and quantities of goods, and the idea of exchange and cooperation would never enter anyone’s mind” (2007, 171).

I think that Mises makes a similar claim.

But this ignores the role of specialization.  If Alan and Brian are equally endowed in every way–as is their land–then Alan might hit on the idea of specializing in the production of good C, while Brian specializes in the production of good D, simply because one becomes more skilled by focusing more of one’s efforts in a particular task.

Is this generally acknowledged by Austrians today?

Letter 2

On Thu, May 28, 2020 at 1:37 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear Jon:

If you bet that something supported by Mises and Hoppe (and Rothbard too) would be generally acknowledged by Austrians today, you’d likely win your bet. However, all three of these eminent Austrians are wrong on this issue. Here’s the refutation:

Block, Walter E., Peter Klein and Per Henrik Hansen. 2007. “The Division of Labor under Homogeneity: A Critique of Mises and Rothbard.” The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, April, Vol. 66, Issue 2, pp. 457-464; http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/The-Division-of-Labor-under-Homogeneity-A-Critique-of-Mises-and-Rothbard.pdf

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 3

From: jonnyl21 .

Subject: Re: Division of Labor

Walter,

Once again, you stole my idea and published it 13 years ago.  Curse you and your time machine!

Jonathan

Letter 4

On Fri, May 29, 2020 at 1:41 AM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear Jon:

I had that feeling about Murray. Not that I put myself in his category. He stole many, many ideas of mine. True, he published on these topics long before I even independently thought of them, but that should not excuse his ill treatment of me.

But don’t let that stop you. You can’t have too much of the truth. You can also write about this. I only attacked Murray and Mises on this. You can comment on Hans!

What kind of work are you doing nowadays?

I still very fondly remember that time when I mentioned libertarian ruling class theory, and you jumped down my throat, thinking I had turned Marxist.

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 5

From:

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: Division of Labor

Walter,

I work in the Security industry, where it pays to be big and strong.

I was shocked to hear you talking like a good Pinko, until you persuaded me that it was an extension of the exploiter versus exploited distinction with which I was already familiar.

Letter 6

On Fri, May 29, 2020 at 10:01 AM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear Jon:

You have a masters degree in econ? You could now teach econ in a community college.

You could get your phd, with a masters under your belt, a European one, mostly by writing a dissertationn and spending just a few weeks a year over there. Interested?

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 7

From: jonnyl21

Subject: Re: Division of Labor

Walter,

I do have my masters in econ.  At this time, I am not interested in academia.  My current position leaves me free to spend my time pursuing my interests, especially Rothbardianism.

Academia is hostile to lovers of liberty.  To be an economics professor, surrounded by Austrian (or Austrian-friendly) colleagues and bright students, would be a dream.  But to be an economics professor, surrounded by liberty-hating socialists (both other professors and most students), would be a nightmare.  My current evaluation of academia is that my lot would be much more likely to fall into the second category.  And my evaluation of the future of academia is even worse.

You have survived by bravely fighting against peers who try to destroy your career.  I have rejoiced at your triumphs; I do not want to experience them.  I want to be surrounded by peers who appreciate my productivity, and by customers who treat me as a person, rather than as a wrong-thinker to be eliminated.  By day I swim in the ethical world of exchange, and by night I bask in the world of ideas.

I am currently reading Rothbard’s An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought.  The fascinating aspect is that he mentions many of the same thinkers whom I encounter when I study theology in the works of Herman Bavinck,

In short: I avoid academia for the same reason that you embrace it–to be happy, that’s why.

Letter 8

Dear Jon:

We have different tastes. I positively ENJOY being the skunk at the garden party. The only Austro-libertarian amongst the pinko wokesters. Happily in econ, since I also enjoy professional colleagues with whom I agree, econ is the best discipline to teach at a university. Less commie than any other. At Loyola, I have almost 10 colleagues who are free enterprisers.

You can get a phd with VERY little effort in Europe. You have to spend a few weeks per year there at most, and you have to write a phd disseration. But, you’re writing anyway! Then, you can promote your professional career to promoting liberty, something that brings me VAST enjoyment.

But, de gustibus non disputandum. Be well.

Best regards,

Walter

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3:49 am on July 19, 2020