Thursday, February 3, 2011

Introducing Myself

Good afternoon, Alaska friends. I thought I'd start with a brief introductory post, as I know a few of you from past visits and conferences, but not the bulk of the group. And I'm taking this opportunity to thank you -- I've read _The Constitution of Liberty_ several times, and discover something new every time I re-read it. I'm excited to discuss it with you.

My name is Nikolai Wenzel. I grew up everywhere and nowhere, on the Eastern seabord and Western Europe, eventually landing in George Mason University's PhD program in economics (Fairfax, Virginia). I selected that program because of its emphasis on Austrian economics, public choice theory, and political economy generally (and constitutional political economy specifically). I hated economics as an undergrad (Georgetown University, international relations) because it was so dry and irrelevant, and came back to economics through the writings of the Austrians and the public choice school. I wrote a doctoral dissertation under Dr. Richard Wagner (author of many cool books; I recommend his short "Parchment, Guns and Constittuional Order" as a good overall read, and the book he co-authored with Nobel Laureate James M. Buchanan, _Democracy in Deficit: The Political Legacy of Lord Keynes_). I wrote my disseration on constitutional culture as a complex emergent phenomenon, using Argentina as a case study. But back to Hayek.

I don't know that I'd call myself a Hayek expert; I've been reading him for about ten years, and have read most of Hayek's social theory and political economy. I'm weaker on his "pure economics" (business cycle), but slowly getting into that. I find Hayek to be a deep thinker, rich, comprehensive, broadly read -- but he's also infuriatingly vague at some points! If you're interested, I recommend my chapter in Volume 13 of _Advances in Austrian Economics_, "An institutional solution for a cognitive problem: Hayek's Sensory Order as Foundation for Hayek's institutional order." This is not (just) shameless self-promotion, but an insight into my way of approaching Hayek.

I'm off to teach for the next three hours, so I will post about 5pm Eastern (1pm Alaska) on Intro and Chapter 1, as well as your comments. I've never done this before (goodness, I've never even posted on a blog, that I can recall!), and I don't know what you're looking for, so please don't be shy about feedback. I hope I can offer some insights, just as I'm sure I'll learn from you.

Thanks for inviting me to join. Best wishes, NW


  1. Thank you for the introduction! I (and my fellow SWEET Scholars) look forward to your insight in regards to The Constitution of Liberty!

  2. Yes, thank you for the participation in the SWEET blog it is greatly appreciated.