Hayek, Read, Mises in the Classroom
| Peter Klein |
Today the University of Missouri welcomes its largest freshman class in history, with 5,680 student expected at their desks for the first day of the semester. (Could the increased enrollment be the result of Mizzou football’s surprising 10-2 record, and Big Twelve North Championship, last season? Not as crazy as you might think.) I am teaching an undergraduate class, “Economics of Managerial Decision Making,” that focuses on organizational and managerial issues. Finding good readings is often a challenge, though the textbook options are much better than a generation ago (Brickley, Besanko, Froeb, Hendrikse, and more.) Here are a couple of classroom resources I discovered today:
- A short paper by Russ Roberts summarizing the (somewhat difficult) argument in Hayek’s “Use of Knowledge in Society” (1945)
- Roger Meiners’s PowerPoint version of Leonard Read’s classic “I, Pencil”
Mises is not usually considered “classroom friendly” but I have found that “Profit and Loss” (1958) works well with undergraduates. And of course Mises emphasizes the entrepreneur as the driving force behind price adjustment, an aspect missing from Hayek’s treatment (in which agents are modeled as responders, not initiators). Section I of Bureaucracy, on “Profit Management,” is also quite good, and only 20 pages.