How did F.A. Hayek influence the course of economic history? What is the fate of his liberal project in the 21st century? Tune in to the latest episode of the Governance Podcast featuring Professors Mark Pennington (King’s College London) and Peter Boettke (George Mason University).
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Peter Boettke is a University Professor of Economics and Philosophy at George Mason University. As a teacher, Boettke is dedicated to cultivating enthusiasm for the economic way of thinking and the importance of economic ideas in future generations of scholars and citizens. He is also now the co-author, along with David Prychitko, of the classic principles of economics texts of Paul Heyne’s The Economic Way of Thinking (12th Edition, Prentice Hall, 2009). His efforts in the classroom have earned him a number of distinctions including the Golden Dozen Award for Excellence in Teaching from the College of Arts and Sciences at New York University and the George Mason University Alumni Association’s 2009 Faculty Member of the Year award.
0:50: Why did you decide to write this new book about Hayek?
5:10: It’s interesting that you divide Hayek’s work into four phases: Phase 1 is economics as a coordination problem… Phase 2 is the abuse of reason project… Phase 3 is the liberal principles of justice… and Phase 4, where he is addressing these concerns of cultural evolution. The book focuses on the first three phases—why did you decide to break the book down this way?
13:20: I think the common core of those three phases is the idea of Hayek developing epistemic institutionalism… what do you mean by this term?
17:44: Reading Hayek over the years, the idea of ignorance has always struck me as absolutely essential to his project- the idea that agents are not fully rational, that they stumble around in the world, they are purposeful, and they have limited information processing powers. And what we have to do is think about how institutions enable them to cope and to learn in these very non-ideal circumstances.
18:55: Why do you think there are so many misconceptions about what Hayek actually said? You’ll repeatedly hear people say that Hayek’s case for the market assumes that agents are fully rational or fully informed—or if they’re not fully informed, the price system acts as a surrogate for perfect information.
24:08: To push back on the way economics is taught, I definitely agree that if you look at the dominant textbooks, market failure is a dominant theme. I think that what some people in that movement are suggesting… is the idea that the economist’s model, the 101 model, starts from the assumption of there being some kind of a market, and then you talk about there being market failures which the government might correct. But the idea that the market is the primary mechanism of resource allocation is taken as given. What Knight and Johnson say is that you shouldn’t start with any presumption in favour of anything- a market or anything else… Institutions should be more about negotiating that uncertainty. The Econ 101 model doesn’t really recognize that problem. Is that a fair argument?
27:18: Hayek’s argument is that, in a democratic, pluralistic society, we are not going to be able to agree on ends… so the only thing we can agree on is the means by which we interact with each other. [What if we disagree on the means, too?]
31:04: Let me ask you a little about Elinor Ostrom. One of the characterizations you get of Hayek goes something like this: he made very important arguments based on the limits to human knowledge that a broadly competitive market system helps people overcome– and it helps people overcome those limitations more effectively than some kind of top down or centrally planned economy. There are many people now across the political spectrum who would accept at least part of that argument… but they would then say, for example, that we’ve learned from people like Elinor Ostrom that there’s more to economic allocation than markets and states.
42:36: The Hayekian critique of the central planner is that the planner can’t have access to the information which needs to feed into prices… the Ostrom argument which is analogous is that a central rule-maker can’t frame rules to overcome collective action problems given that the circumstances of time and place which affect those collective action problems on the ground are radically dispersed across many different sorts of agents.
This site provides links to random videos hosted at YouTube, with the emphasis on random.
The original idea for this site actually stemmed from another idea to provide a way of benchmarking the popularity of a video against the general population of YouTube videos. There are probably sites that do this by now, but there wasn’t when we started out. Anyway, in order to figure out how popular any one video is, you need a pretty large sample of videos to rank it against. The challenge is that the sample needs to be very random in order to properly rank a video and YouTube doesn’t appear to provide a way to obtain large numbers of random video IDs.
Even if you search on YouTube for a random string, the set of results that will be returned will still be based on popularity, so if you’re using this approach to build up your sample, you’re already in trouble. It turns out there is a multitude of ways in which the YouTube search function makes it very difficult to retrieve truly random results.
So how can we provide truly random links to YouTube videos? It turns out that the YouTube programming interface (API) provides additional functions that allow the discovery of videos which, with the right approach, are much more random. Using a number of tricks, combined some subtle manipulation of the space-time fabric, we have managed to create a process that yields something very close to 100% random links to YouTube videos.
YouTube is an American video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California. YouTube allows users to upload, view, rate, share, add to playlists, report, comment on videos, and subscribe to other users. It offers a wide variety of user-generated and corporate media videos. Available content includes video clips, TV show clips, music videos, short and documentary films, audio recordings, movie trailers, live streams, and other content such as video blogging, short original videos, and educational videos. Most content on YouTube is uploaded by individuals, but media corporations including CBS, the BBC, Vevo, and Hulu offer some of their material via YouTube as part of the YouTube partnership program. Unregistered users can only watch videos on the site, while registered users are permitted to upload an unlimited number of videos and add comments to videos. Videos deemed potentially inappropriate are available only to registered users affirming themselves to be at least 18 years old.
YouTube and selected creators earn advertising revenue from Google AdSense, a program which targets ads according to site content and audience. The vast majority of its videos are free to view, but there are exceptions, including subscription-based premium channels, film rentals, as well as YouTube Music and YouTube Premium, subscription services respectively offering premium and ad-free music streaming, and ad-free access to all content, including exclusive content commissioned from notable personalities. As of February 2017, there were more than 400 hours of content uploaded to YouTube each minute, and one billion hours of content being watched on YouTube every day. As of August 2018, the website is ranked as the second-most popular site in the world, according to Alexa Internet, just behind Google. As of May 2019, more than 500 hours of video content are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
YouTube has faced criticism over aspects of its operations, including its handling of copyrighted content contained within uploaded videos, its recommendation algorithms perpetuating videos that promote conspiracy theories and falsehoods, hosting videos ostensibly targeting children but containing violent and/or sexually suggestive content involving popular characters, videos of minors attracting pedophilic activities in their comment sections, and fluctuating policies on the types of content that is eligible to be monetized with advertising.