Monday, December 17, 2018

What Jobs Could An Economics Major Have In An Anarcho-Capitalist World?

The following exchange took place between Dr. Walter Block and "A":
—–Original Message—–
From: A
Sent: Tue 8/15/2017 4:57 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Re: Price Gouging, CEO Salaries

Thanks sir. I was wondering what jobs an economics major could have in an anarcho-capitalist world? The only thing I can think of is in the financial services industry and academia? What would you think an econ major could get as a job in an anarcho-capitalist world?

Dear A: To your list I would add banking, insurance, investment. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. These are occupations for which a major in economics would be directly applicable. But economics, properly taught, is an integral part of a liberal arts education. Not one that includes feminist studies, black studies, queer studies, snowflake studies, whining studies, micro-aggression studies, sociology, etc. Rather, one that include the classics, fine literature, music, the sciences, mathematics, logic, etc. All of these, economics most assuredly included, prepare graduates for any job at all in the free economy that requires, rewards, clear thinking, common sense, sechel (in Yiddish). The dismal science, too, is a rigorous discipline, which preeminently can prepare its majors for virtually any intellectual field: medicine, law, business of any sort not just “the financial services industry.” Then, too, it is a precursor to graduate school in many academic disciplines, such as history, philosophy, political science, and, yes, ugh (for at least the way this is conducted nowadays), sociology too.
RW comment:

I'm not sure what use there would be for an economist in an anarcho-capitalist world in the financial services, insurance, banking and investment sectors.

Since there would be no central bank, the threat of the business cycle and price inflation would disappear. Most economists now at major financial institutions are focused on forecasting these factors. These threats would be gone--and thus the jobs for economists.

There might be a requirement for analysts to identify sectors of growth and decline and this might require some urban economics understanding and the like but thankfully, the role of the economist in a truly free market economy would shrink dramatically in the corporate world.

That said, I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Block that economics would be an integral part of a liberal arts education in compliment with history, philosophy, political science, and sociology. It would be extremely important in an anarcho-capitalist society to keep the understanding of how free markets work in the minds of those who would be the students of society in the broad sense.

Freedom and free markets will always be delicate flowers that must be nourished within the minds of young and upcoming secondhand-dealers in ideas. It would be the role of the economist to fill this important function. The economist in an anarcho-capitalist society would be very much like the night watchman who keeps threats away and is successful if nothing happens on his watch and is so barely noticed.

That said, we are very far from an anarcho-capitalist society and the economist at present must play a very active aggressive role providing warnings of threats to executives of corporations and battling the over-abundant shallow thinking socialists that have captured the imagination of a large chunk of the masses.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think that economics is critical to running a business or making investments (finance is more relevant subject matter than economics). From my perspective, the most important role of a free-market economist in today's statist world (other than to breed a next generation of free-market economists) is to expose the many fallacies justifying state intervention which are disseminated by Keynesians, Chicagoans, MMTers, etc. This is what Mises himself did in Austria for years, and then sought to do in the US. It's what RW and those associated with the Mises Institute do today. But precious few others. I agree with RW that, in a stateless society, the role of the economist would switch from attacking what we have today to trying to preserve what we would have then.