The Looking Forward Podcast

Looking Forward Episode 76: The Golden Age of Libertarian Scepticism

Written by and
19 August 2020

On this special episode of the IPA’s Looking Forward, co-host Chris Berg interviews Russ Roberts from the Hoover Institution, known to most as the long-standing host of Econtalk, and also Professor Mike Munger from Duke University, who is well known as a libertarian economist and political candidate.

Is the Pandemic just the perfect example of Hayek’s Knowledge Problem, that knowledge is dispersed and no “expert” can be across it? And how do politicians, epidemiologists and economists approach the problem of decision making under uncertainty – and do epidemiologists know as much as they say?

As the Pandemic both creates and exposes ridiculous nanny state regulations preventing us living our lives and making a living, is this the Golden Age of Libertarian Scepticism?

Does the Pandemic change the way you communicate the ideas of Liberty? How does a libertarian approach the wearing of masks, where voluntary or mandated?

What are wider lesson of liberty? When power is centralised what is the vision of human flourishing based on freedom and personal responsibility? How is this an optimistic vision of civil society, of voluntarism, of the role of markets and people in building trust and a better society?

And how did Mike Munger go when he ran for Governor of North Carolina on the Libertarian Party ticket, telling voters “what can you do for me?” was the wrong question?

The interview was conducted recently as part of the Friedman8 digital conference, hosted by the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance & Australian Libertarian Society.


Econtalk; Russ Roberts

How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness; Russ Roberts

Tomorrow 3.0: Transaction Costs and the Sharing Economy; Mike Munger

The Knowledge Problem: We must stand humble before complexity and order without planning; Hayek


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Scott Hargreaves

Scott Hargreaves is the Executive Director at the Institute of Public Affairs

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