Wayne A. Leighton & Edward J. López

Madmen, Intellectuals, & Academic Scribblers

The Economic Engine of Political Change

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Past Events

October 24, 2018 , Western Carolina University Global Spotlight Series
Cullowhee, NC
Panelist, “An If-Then Global Economic Outlook”
Edward J. López
May 12, 2018 , University of Washington
Seattle, WA
Discussion Leader, Reading Colloquium on Public Choice and Government Failure Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
Edward J. López
May 07, 2018 , Campbell School of Law
Raleigh, NC
Moderator, Panel Discussion on Judicial Selection in North Carolina
Edward J. López
April 18, 2018 , Boston College Conference, Situating Moral Development in Applied Professions: The Role of Ethics in the Disciplines of Cybersecurity, Healthcare and Economics
Chestnut Hill, MA
Conference Plenary Lecture, “Ethics and Virtue in Economics”
Edward J. López
April 02, 2018 , Association of Private Enterpriese Education Annual Meetings
Las Vegas, NV
Panelist, Roundtable Discussion on the Enduring Contributions of James Buchanan
Edward J. López
March 02, 2018 , 55th Annual Meetings of the Public Choice Society
Charleston, SC
Paper Presenter, “Informal Institutions, Formally”
Edward J. López
November 17, 2017 , Southern Economic Association Annual Meetings
Tampa, FL
Conference Discussant, “Term Limits and Government Spending”
Edward J. López
November 11, 2017 , Metropolitan University of Denver
Denver, CO
Discussion Leader, Colloquium on Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers
Edward J. López
September 29, 2017 , Coastal Carolina University
Myrtle Beach, SC
Public Lecture, “Design Copyists: Are They Parasites or Innovators?”
Edward J. López
August 11, 2017 , Classical Liberals in the Carolinas Annual Conference
Charlotte, NC
Panelist, Roundtable Discussion on Campus Free Speech
Edward J. López
November 11, 2016 , The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH
Public Lecture, “Design Copyists: Are They Parasites or Innovators?”
Edward J. López
October 17, 2016 , St. John's University
Queens, NY
Public Lecture, “Design Copyists: Are They Parasites or Innovators?”
Edward J. López
October 17, 2016 , New York University Colloquium on Market Process
New York, NY
Research Presentation, “Deidre McCloskey on Institutions”
Edward J. López
September 19, 2016 , Mont Pelerin Society General Meetings
Miami, FL
Research Presentation, “The Roads to Success in the Academy for Think Tanks”
Edward J. López
September 06, 2016 , Christopher Newport University
Newport News, VA
Public Lecture, “Design Copyists: Are They Parasites or Innovators?”
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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