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Walter Block

Harold E. Wirth Endowed Chair and Prof. Of Economics, College of Business, Loyola University New Orleans, and Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute. He earned his PhD in economics at Columbia University in 1972. He has taught at Rutgers, SUNY Stony Brook, Baruch CUNY, Holy Cross and the University of Central Arkansas. He is the author of over 400 articles in professional journals, two dozen books, and hundreds of op eds. He lectures widely on college campuses and appears regularly on television and radio shows. He is famous for having actually met Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek, and having been friends with Murray Rothbard. He has been a friend of Ron Paul's since the 1970s. A Columbia University educated philosopher in economics (Ph.D. 1972). Block is a leading Austrian School economist and an international leader of the freedom movement. His earliest work Defending the Undefendable (first edition Fleet 1976, latest edition Mises 2008, translated in 12 languages) is now, more than 30 years later, regarded as an overlooked classic on libertarianism. This collection of essays, which argues for societal villains as economic scapegoats based on the principles of non-aggression, forces its reader to think and to rethink his or her initial knee-jerk emotional responses, and to gain a new and far sounder appreciation of economic theory and of the virtues and operations of the free market economy. Block's writing was inspired by his very much admired writer and author Henry Hazlitt. In his Introduction to the Mises Institute Press' 2008 edition of the most widely read economic text Economics in One Lesson by Hazlitt (first published by Harper & Brothers in 1946), he deemed this classic work as a book for the ages. Block has been a fixture in the Austro-libertarian movement for some four decades and is a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. His contributions to academic libertarianism and to Austrian economics have been prodigious. He delivers seminars around the world and is frequently interviewed by key media (refereed journals, non-refereed magazines, radio, film and TVs) in the US, Canada, and Europe. Block's writings continue to challenge the conventional wisdom (or ignorance) of how economics works and will retain its freshness for decades to come.
Email: wblock@loyno.edu


 

ARTICLES:

Thymology, Praxeology, Demand Curves, Giffen Goods and Diminishing Marginal Utility

Issue: 2 (The second issue)
Austrian economists have been criticized for several logical inconsistencies. On the one hand, they support the law of downward sloping demand, but given that, the Giffen good serves as a refutation. On the other hand, the praxeological school embraces diminishing marginal utility but rejects indifference; yet, how can utility diminish (or increase or even remain constant, for that matter) as equally serviceable units are utilized?


Ordinal Or Cardinal Utility: A Note

Issue: 9 (The ninth issue)
Modern microeconomic theory is based on a foundation of ordinal preference relations. Good textbooks stress that cardinal utility functions are artificial constructions of convenience, and that economics does not attribute any meaning to “utils.” However, we argue that despite this official position, in practice mainstream economists rely on techniques that assume the validity of cardinal utility. Doing so has turned mainstream economic theorizing into an exercise of reductionism of objects down to the preferences of ‘ideal type’ subjects.


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