Today is the last day of Mises University 2010. I’m already making plans for next year. 🙂
Here’s an observation from the week: Something that I love about the Mises Institute is the aesthetic beauty. Yes, the building is a little confusing because of all the additions, stairways, and so forth, but that difficulty is overwhelmed by the beauty of the building. It is not utilitarian in any sense. That is, there are some things that are there just because it makes the place beautiful. Not detail must have an physical utility. The place–inside and out–is gorgeous. The detail that has been put into designing it…the cozy library, the woodwork detail, the quotes imprinted on the walls…just beautiful.
I’ve calculated that I’ve taken the equivalent of one semester of economics…in one week. There is one word to sum it up: Intense. But I’ve learned some very important things. First off, all week the professors have been stressing the importance of prices in the market. The price of a good is the bridge between the subjective value I put on the good, and the objective good itself. I spent one evening studying with another student and my good friend, an adjunct scholar at the Institute. That discussion was very helpful for me in learning how to think through problems and questions that I have. I’ve learned that the concept of time and time preference very important in analyzing economic situations. It is absurd to “freeze” one moment in time and study it without considering what goes on after that one moment.
I understand the concept of interest as it relates to the capitalist and entrepreneur much better, and I’m so happy I didn’t fall into the Naive Productivity Fallacy when considering this apparent phenomena. 🙂
Also, it was stressed all week how important prices are in the free market. They aren’t random, arbitrary, but serve as the bridge between our own subjective values and the objective goods around us…maybe I mentioned this already? Oh well, it doesn’t hurt to hear it twice.
I did not make it through the written exam on Thursday. Well, I did make it through, but I wasn’t in the highest percentage to continue on to the orals. And now I’m not sure if I would have liked to participate in the orals! I don’t know if I like the idea of being interrogated for 10 minutes by economic professors. Others who did it told me it was very intense and challenging. But I’ll try for it next year.
The week ended beautifully with a cookout and awards. The students who make it through the orals were given prizes, etc…
There was a student who attended Mises U for a number of years, John David Fernandez who was well known at the Institute for his passion and interest in liberty and economics.He died–too soon–at the age of 20. The Mises Institute wanted to honor him, and so they created the “John David Fernandez” award for “enthusiasm and devotion in advancing the cause of liberty and free markets.” So the father of John David Fernandez is explaining this, and suddenly, my name is mentioned. I was absolutely stunned. It took a minute for me to realize that I should walk up to the front and receive the award. It was incredible. I feel so honored to be the recipient of this award…it is amazing. So now what? What exactly am I going to do now with my enthusiasm and devotion to liberty and free markets?
1) I will teaching approximately 4 students in economics this fall. I know that it won’t be 4.5 students (unless someone’s mind isn’t in the class and they aren’t paying attention!) but it could be 5, or 6, I’m not certain. I will be using the fantastic book out by Bob Murphy…actually, it isn’t all the way out, but in beta right now, but free for public viewing, which I did. I’ll also be drawing from Richard Maybury’s “Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?” and Henry Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson.” I won’t be using one book exclusively, but developing my own curriculum, (I’m very independent-minded…have you noticed?) so it will be exciting to get home and start working on this.
2) I will also be teaching history to at least 2 students, maybe more. We’ll start with American history, and it will be the politically incorrect version, no odes to Lincoln, no praise of the Spanish-American war, sorry.
3) I’ve been asked to speak at several events. One of which is an End the Fed rally, so I’ll be talking about the business cycle, how the Fed causes it, and why we have a Fed in the first place. At the other event I’m planning on talking about the relationship between economics and liberty, how before Keynes and all that, economics was the study of how government intervention doesn’t work and only harms the economy. I will speak specifically on the economics leading up to the American Revolution and hopefully give some info about international trade and freedom that isn’t often talked about.
4) I hope to publish a collection of libertarian stories that show the importance of not compromising on principles despite the negative consequences.
5) I’m very excited to take a class from the Mises Academy, I haven’t decided on a particular class, but I’m sure it will be good.
So I think that all of that will keep me busy this fall…besides keeping my website updated. 🙂