The Economic Point of View

Israel Kirzner, in his book after which this post is titled, is noting that to think like an economist is to see things from a certain angle. This is an important point, and I use it in teaching all the time.

For instance, if topics like pornography or addictive drugs arise, I will tell my students, "From the economic point of view, we just look at what people want, and whether they are getting it. We don't examine whether it is good for them to want what they want. We can look at that in ethics class."

So I don't need to assert something silly like "Crack addicts know what is best for themselves" to teach students why the demand curve for crack slopes downward.


  1. Do you paternalism is every justified in the case of drugs? I know that you are for keeping heroin illegal, but I do not know if your reason for this is that it is harmful to the users. (Also, how does it feel to now not totally be for the legalization of currently illegal substances considering you would have been for such when you were a libertarian?)


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