Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2030464
1The Public Intellectual as Economist: The Case of Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993)Peter Boettke
Mr. Henry Hazlitt … is the only competent critic of the arts that I have
ever heard of who was at the same time a competent economist, of practical as well as theoretical training, and he is one of the feweconomists in human history who could really write.-- H. L. Mencken (1933, 123-124)I.
IntroductionHenry Hazlitt began his career as a journalist at
The Wall Street Journal
while still ateenager, and it was there that his interest in economics grew as he embarked on apath of self-study as a matter of practical necessity for job success. He read Philip
The Common-Sense of Political Economy
, which he found at the Flatbush,Brooklyn branch of the New York Public Library, and the book was, as Hazlitt
described “a revelation” to him. Hazlitt, in fact borrowing
liberally from John Keats
“On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer,” characterized his good fortune in
uch have I traveled in the realms of gold,etc. Yet never did I breathe its pure serene. Till I heard Wicksteed speak out loud
Subsequently, Hazlitt would pursue a lifetime of economic study andeconomic journalism, and held positions at
The New York Evening Mail
University Professor of Economics & Philosophy at George Mason University, and BB&T Professor
for the Study of Capitalism at the Mercatus Center. Paper prepared for HOPE conference on “TheEconomist as Public Intellectual”.
Current version is a conference draft not to be quoted without permission of the author. I have benefitted from the research assistance of Matthew Boettke and LiyaPalagashvilli, and the comments and criticisms of Bruce Caldwell, Tyler Cowen, Chris Coyne, DavidHebert, Peter Leeson, Peter Lipsey, David Levy, and Nick Snow. The usual caveat applies.
Birthday Talk,” November 27, 1974, The Henry Hazlitt Archives, Universidad
Francisco Marroquin. DOC5603.pdf.