They had five children. Fortunately for all, romantic zeal was tempered by economic calculation. Heyne wrote to Douglass North, then chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Washington, offering his services as an instructor on a one-year appointment with option for renewal. So Paul became lecturer in economics initially for the academic year Paul never sought or received tenure, but the appointment was renewed by unanimous vote of his colleagues in each of the more than twenty years until his death.
He was made senior lecturer in As he put it to a friend,.
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Over this period, Heyne gradually became internationally famous as an outstanding and innovative teacher of economics. The Economic Way of Thinking went through nine editions in his lifetime and was translated into Russian, Czech, Romanian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Korean, and Spanish; its offshoot, Microeconomics, was first published in He was in continual demand as a speaker not only in the United States, but also and notably in Eastern Europe.
Between and , he was extensively involved in Liberty Fund conferences, twenty-one as director or discussion leader. He became an Episcopalian. This was the Paul Heyne now remembered by his friends, colleagues, and former students. All but two of the twenty-six papers reprinted in this collection were written during these Seattle years.
Yet his years at Concordia laid the foundation of much of his thinking forty years later. Whilst still a student himself he was teaching Latin to others; he had a working knowledge of Greek and Hebrew; his wide reading in philosophy and in classical and modern literature began in those Concordia years; his lucid and elegant prose was refined in homiletic exposition.
As a result, he was completely at home in the Liberal Studies program at SMU as few other economists could have been. Speculation about the nature of man was part of the air he breathed as a seminarian. The opportunity cost of all this was a lack of mathematics, which Paul seems never to have studied in later years when he had both the time and the incentive.
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Louis, it was still possible to do so in the early s with no formal mathematics whatsoever. To the end of his days, Heyne resisted the suggestion that many analytical problems in economics are best formulated mathematically. Even more important, the years at Concordia made Heyne completely inward with Christian theology. Like economics, theology is best understood to be a method of thinking rather than a body of knowledge. Though the doctrines taught at Concordia were archaic and relentlessly unfashionable, deep scholarship, scrupulous honesty, and intellectual rigor admittedly within the prevailing LCMS assumptions were required of all.
Heyne was almost certainly better trained in theological thinking than he would have been at many a more liberal seminary. At any rate, despite his brush with authority, he retained contact with Concordia at least until , when he published an essay in Seminar, a forum for exchange of ideas among members of the Concordia Seminary community; and he remained a Lutheran, though no longer of Missouri Synod, until the move to Seattle.
Most important of all, Paul Heyne had clearly identified the central intellectual concern of his life before he left St. Louis in But economists have inherited from Adam Smith the presumption that many perhaps most consequences are unintended and can never be known in advance; and that by acting purposefully and seeking only to further their own interest, individuals may do more good to their neighbors than they would have if motivated entirely by moral considerations.
My goal was to refute Frank Knight. I lost. His writings he was retired but still around while I was there have probably been the most powerful influence on my views as an economist. Knight was determined to see all sides of the phenomena he studied, to point out the limitations of the argument he himself accepted, to build on no foundations without also undermining them, to draw no strong conclusions without acknowledging the compelling force of the exactly opposite conclusion.
And if it is of value, what besides arrogance should prompt us to label it unique? Certainly the circumstances at Southern Methodist University in the s and early s lent greater prominence to these characteristics than the more peaceful climate of his years in Seattle. However, there was at least one fundamental respect in which he viewed the two through exactly the same lens, and this similarity may be a key to unlock his deliberately unsystematic and heterogeneous thought.
Economics is a way of thinking. Too much sophisticated technique may become an end in itself and divert our attention from the real world.
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Christianity is a way of life. For a man who so often disparaged publication as an activity, Paul Heyne wrote a great deal in the thirty-six years between his University of Chicago doctoral dissertation of and his last paper, written for the Hoover Institution in Of those where this is clear, eight are the texts of public lectures delivered at various universities in North America, five are papers read at conferences of the Southern Economic Association and other professional bodies, and five were commissioned for conferences organized by Liberty Fund.
Liberty Fund records indicate that Heyne was an author at nine conferences between and Two of his symposium papers were published as chapters in books. Therefore at least one—and possibly more—have been lost. Doubtless there were other papers in earlier and later years that their author lost and forgot about, or did not bother to advertise to his friends.
In sum, this is a substantial output, especially for an academic who spent most of his professional time and energy teaching undergraduates, and who devoted many working hours in later years to revising his best-known books. Why bother to republish any of this material? Some of his more substantial essays were published in well-known journals. Their author cared so little for much of the rest that he either neglected to publish them or failed to record the periodicals in which they appeared. The justification for the current collection gradually came to us as possible editors when we read and re-read the University of Washington papers and all other Heyne material we had access to.
That justification became clearer as we discovered things Paul had never bothered to tell us of his intellectual development from to For though he was an intimate friend of each of us, he much preferred to debate the latest or perennial issues we disagreed upon than to talk or write about himself. Paul Heyne, we now see, was a man with a prophetic mission—something he naturally conceived as a calling.
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This vocation was not to be a Lutheran pastor, or a working economist, or even just a university teacher—though he sometimes spoke as though the last were the case. It was, rather, to explain to a society ignorant of the principles of economics, and sentimentally attached to a half-remembered Christian ethic of interpersonal relations, that the seemingly immoral prescriptions of economists are often the best way to achieve ethical goals that all would approve. When they consider the question at all, most decent, right-minded people still instinctively think so.
Paul Heyne believed otherwise, and devoted his life to helping others to acknowledge and understand the arguments that he held to be conclusive. This is a high calling, not only in Eastern Europe where for some years he was an apostle of the economic way of thinking, but also in his own country. Paul had a capacity to pursue it in ways that were exceptionally engaging and compellingly presented, in his writing no less than in other contexts.
For these reasons, a selection of those papers that most effectively capture his message should be placed in as many hands as possible.
In making our selection, we began by eliminating book reviews, printed works of one or two pages in little-known publications, and short, unpublished typescripts of unknown provenance. Next we eliminated all essays based on arguments more fully worked out or better expressed elsewhere. We think we have been able to bring our collection down to the twenty-six printed Edition: current; Page: [ xxiv ] here, roughly one-third of the University of Washington material, without missing too much. Part 4 contains two scholarly essays of a historical character, the second commissioned for a Liberty Fund symposium directed by the Fraser Institute in at which we and Paul met together as a trio for the first time.
We think it especially fitting that this book is to appear under the imprint of Liberty Fund. For one thing, four of the essays in the collection chapters 4, 9, 11, 13, 21 were first written for Liberty Fund conferences between and But there are other, more fundamental reasons. If there be any such person, Paul Heyne was the quintessential Liberty Fund man. In the last two decades of his life, he attended on average each year more than four Liberty Fund colloquia, symposia, or seminars, many as director or discussion leader.
Paul was a remarkable man.
We think these essays show something of that remarkableness. We feel honored to have had a small part in bringing them to the attention of a wider public. Whenever my wife and I have economists and their spouses over for dinner, I try to keep the conversation away from politics, because otherwise it almost always ends up in a somewhat rancorous dispute, not about candidates or policies, but about the democratic political process itself. The division is always the same: all the economists insist that voters have no incentive to cast an informed ballot, while the non-economists protest that this is a cynical and immoral view of the world.
I found that some of the students were appalled at my claim that stolen food was more likely to get to hungry people than food that had not been stolen. I hastened to add, I said, that I do not approve of theft. But the damage was done; the students were very upset. It was wrong to argue that thieves are usually more effective in getting food to hungry people than Red Cross officials are.
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But thieves have a more effective incentive: no sale, no profit. What do you think of the following statement? But economists not only discuss such questions; they try to get other people to take their discussions seriously. How much is too much to save a life? Is that an immoral question? Lawrence Summers, the chief economist of the World Bank, got himself in serious trouble last December when he sent a memo to some bank colleagues arguing that polluting activities ought to be shifted from developed to less developed countries. He argued that the demand for a clean environment has a very high income elasticity: which means that people become keener on it as their incomes rise.
He said that wealthier people are ordinarily willing to sacrifice more for aesthetically pleasing environments than are poor people. Moreover—and I suspect this is what really got him into trouble—he claimed that the health effects of pollution are less in a poor country than in a rich country because the forgone earnings of people whose health is adversely affected by pollution are so much lower in poor countries, because of both lower incomes and shorter life expectancies.