Wayne A. Leighton & Edward J. López

Madmen, Intellectuals, & Academic Scribblers

The Economic Engine of Political Change

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Past Events

October 23, 2015 , Missouri Valley Economic Association
Kansas City
Research Presentation, “Major Fiscal Policy Reform Proposals”
Edward J. López
July 31, 2015 , The John Locke Foundation and the Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation
Raleigh, NC
Friedman Legacy Freedom Lecture
Edward J. López
June 27, 2015 , Chapman University
Foundation for Economic Education Seminar on The Economics of Sports
Seminar Lecture, “Sports Leagues as Private Governance”
Edward J. López
June 26, 2015 , Chapman University
Foundation for Economic Education Seminar on The Economics of Sports
Seminar Lecture, “Sports: Controlled Laboratory of Institutions
Edward J. López
June 25, 2015 , Chapman University
Foundation for Economic Education Seminar on The Economics of Sports
Seminar Lecture, “The Rules of Sports and the Rules of Life”
Edward J. López
May 29, 2015 , Institute for Humane Studies and Mercatus Center
Project for the Study of American Capitalism, Advanced Policy Seminar
Keynote Lecture, “Ideas and Entrepreneurship in Political Change”
Edward J. López
May 28, 2015 , Clemson Institute at Clemson University
BB&T Moral Foundations of Capitalism Conference
Research Presentation, “The Economics and Politics of Copyright”
Edward J. López
April 14, 2015 , Association of Private Enterprise Education
Cancun, Mexico
Research Presentation, “Incorporating Ideas and their Communication into Political Economy”
Edward J. López
April 14, 2015 , Association of Private Enterprise Education
Cancun, Mexico
Research Presentation, “Adaptive Entrepreneurship vs. Copyright”
Edward J. López
April 14, 2015 , Association of Private Enterprise Education
Cancun, Mexico
Roundtable Discussion Remarks: “Gordon Tullock: Field-Impacting Scholar”
Edward J. López
April 13, 2015 , Association of Private Enterprise Education
Cancun, Mexico
Research Presentation, “The Evolution of Federal Budget Rules and the Effects on Fiscal Policy”
Edward J. López
March 14, 2015 , 52nd Annual Meetings of the Public Choice Society
San Antonio, Texas
Research Presentation, “The Evolution of Federal Budget Rules and the Effects on Fiscal Policy: How Informal Norms Have Trumped Formal Constraints”
Edward J. López
March 14, 2015 , 52nd Annual Meetings of the Public Choice Society
San Antonio, Texas
Chair, Awards Luncheon
Edward J. López
February 24, 2015 , Center for Free Enterprise at Florida Southern College
Politics, Law, and Economics Lecture Series
Public Lecture, “Bottom-Up Politics: Being Agents of Beneficial Change”
Edward J. López
February 23, 2015 , Department of Economics, Florida Atlantic University
Undergraduate Seminar Series
Public Lecture, “Fashion Copyright? A New Defense of Design Copyists”
Edward J. López
From the Pages of Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers (p.189, ch.7)

The most successful entrepreneurs know what they do well, they know the market and the opportunities within it, and they choose those activities that create the most value. This is true in economic as well as political markets.

From the Pages of Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers (p.178, ch.7)

[W]hen the right elements come together at the right time and place and overwhelm the status quo, it is because special people make it happen. We call them political entrepreneurs.

From the Pages of Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers (p.176. ch.7)

While we started this book with Danny Biasone saving basketball, we end it with Norman Borlaug saving a billion lives. These stories are not that different. Both faced vested interests, which were reinforced by popular beliefs that things should be a certain way—that is, until a better idea came along.

From the Pages of Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers (p.174, ch.6)

Because there was a general belief that homeownership was a good thing, politicians found the public with open arms.... Everybody was winning—except Alfred Marshall, whose supply and demand curves were difficult to see through the haze of excitement at the time, and except Friedrich Hayek, whose competition as a discovery procedure was befuddled... In short, once politicians started getting credit for homeownership rates, the housing market was doomed.

From the Pages of Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers (p.166, ch.6)

Everyone responded rationally to the incentives before them. In short, the rules that guided homeownership changed over time, which in turn changed the incentives of these actors. And bad things happened.

From the Pages of Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers (p.153, ch.6)

They understood the economics. The ideas had already won in ... the regulatory agency itself. All that remained to be overcome were some vested interests and a handful of madmen in authority.

From the Pages of Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers (p.146, ch.6)

If the idea for auctions of spectrum use rights had been part of the public debate since at least 1959, why didn’t the relevant institutions change sooner? What interests stood in the way?

From the Pages of Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers (p.121, ch.5)

When an academic scribbler comes up with a new idea, it has to resonate well with widely shared beliefs, which in turn must overcome the vested interests at the table. Many forces come together to explain political change, even though it may seem like coincidence of time and place.

From the Pages of Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers (p.120, ch.5)

It’s the rules of the political game that deserve our focus, not politicians’ personalities or party affiliations.

From the Pages of Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers (p.119, ch.5)

In short, ideas are a type of higher-order capital in society. Like a society that is poor in capital and therefore produces little consumer value, a society that is poor in ideas and institutions will have bad incentives and therefore few of the desirable outcomes that people want.

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