Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Martin Luther King Final Exam Questions

In a seminar he taught on Social Philosophy, Martin Luther King asked the students on the final exam the following questions:
(1) There is implicit in the teachings of Adam Smith and Karl Marx a theory of human nature. Point out what that theory is in each and show how it affects the social theory of each man.

(2) Marx may be called a child of the enlightenment.  Discuss his theory of society in light of this.

(3) Would Smith or Marx or both support the non-violent theory of social change? Explain.

It's a pity that King had such a narrow view, Marx versus Smith. Mises wrote Socialism in 1922, Omnipotent Government in 1944 and Human Action in 1949. Hayek's Road to Serfdom was published in the United States in 1944. Yet, by King's questions it appears that he was unaware of any of Mises' work, or that of Hayek. King would have been only 20 at the time Human Action was published. King was assassinated nearly 20 years later in 1968.

(via Peter Boettke)


  1. It's interesting to note that Adam Smith, as Joseph Salerno pointed out when discussing the fallacies of the Classical School, believed in the Labor Theory of Value:

    The Birth of the Austrian School | Josep T. Salerno

  2. There is no reason to think he was unaware of Hayek or Mises.

    If someone is selecting a basketball team, is it fair to say that the coach was unaware of a 4 foot tall player after he selected a 7 foot tall player? No.

    1. Are you serious? Marx and Smith are midgets in wheel chairs compared to Mises and Hayek.

    2. Jerry has to be a secret Austrian doing a brilliant reverse troll job as a neocon/liberal.