The Collected Works of Armen Alchian
| Nicolai Foss |
It has been said that “Armen Alchian’s output may be sparse and informal, but it has been among the most influential.” Still, his “virtuoso work on neoclassical price theory” has been sufficiently voluminous that his collected works run 1,620 pages!
The two volumes that contain all these pages were published in November by Liberty Fund at the ridiculously low price of $15 for the set. Over the years Liberty Fund has published an unbelievable amount of true classics in economics, law, history, philosophy and classical liberal scholarship in general at absolute bargain prices.
I became aware of their catalogue in the mid-1980s while still a student, and one of the first books I bought and struggled with was the precursor of the new Liberty Fund Alchian two-fer, namely a much smaller collection of classic Alchian papers, called Economic Forces at Work.
The front page of my copy is missing, there are notes on every page (well, almost), a number of pages are missing, etc., in short it needs a replacement. (I have read in it considerably more than in the three volumes of essays by Lord Acton that I also purchased 20 years ago from Liberty Press!). And I have already ordered it. If you are not familar with Alchian’s work, or only know, for example, his 1972 paper with Harold Demsetz, you could do worse than ordering this set of modern classics in new institutional economics and applied micro-economics!