Extra: Walter Williams on Life, Liberty, and Economics
By Amy Willis
Listen to the EconTalk podcast Walter Williams on Life, Liberty, and Economics and consider these questions.
1. Williams says he learned from his former professor, Armen Alchian, the true test of someone who really knows his subject. What is this “true test”?
2. What are the three most controversial subjects about which Williams has written? What is the nature of the controversy stirred by each?
3. Williams recalls a conversation he had with F.A. Hayek in which Williams asked the Nobel laureate, “If you could have just one law, what would it be?” What was Hayek’s response and explanation? Would you be in favor of just such a law?
4. What lessons has Roberts learned from Williams during his time at GMU?
5. Williams says one of his favorite questions to ask people is, “What human motivation gets the most wonderful things done?” What is his answer? Is he right?
6. Roberts asks Williams why “enlightened self-interest” is not Williams’ response to the question above. Why isn’t it? Do you think Williams would be better served to use this phrase?
7. What does Williams have to say about the future of the economics profession? Why does he believe that economists, generally speaking, have so little interest in educating the general public about their subject?