Tonight, I'm introducing Deirdre McCloskey at the Competitive Enterprise Institute's annual dinner, where she will be recognized with the Institute's 2013 Julian Simon Award. Professor McCloskey is a most deserving recipient and one of the worthy intellectual heirs of Julian Simon's intellectual project. Here are a few things I get from the work of Julian Simon, last year's winner Matt Ridley*, Deirdre McCloskey, and many others.
1. Capitalism--a system in which we trade private property and free labor and do so voluntarily--has been enriched us on every margin. The first sixty pages of Deirdre McCloskey's The Bourgeois Virtues makes this point beautifully.
2. Our hearts should break because of global poverty. However, it is a deadly mistake to believe that their poverty is caused by our wealth (to be answered in a future post: why do I use "deadly" intentionally?). McCloskey explains this in great detail in Bourgeois Dignity.
Professor McCloskey has influenced my scholarship and my public writing. Here, for example, is an article I wrote for Forbes titled "Capitalism, Socialism, and the Possibility of Civilization." Later, I wrote two pieces during the height of "Occupy Wall Street" in which I made use of her work (1, 2). We are working on a book together that addresses these issues, and future EconLog posts will likely contain snippets of what we're doing.
I'm honored to be able to do this. Liberty has an able defender in Deirdre McCloskey. I hope she is able to inspire many more.