He writes: "There are two types of people: those who read Hayek and Bastiat and think 'wow,' and those who think 'meh.'"
He's talking about The Uses of Knowledge in Society and What is Seen and Unseen.
I definitely see where he's coming from. And I think it largely depends on whether you come across Hayek and Bastiat before or after you know a respectable amount of economics.
They write about important
issues, to be sure. But from the perspective of an economist, they write about issues that are pedestrian insofar as they already form the core of an economists' view of things. Bastiat at least had the advantage of coming well before the modern work on opportunity cost, but Hayek's point had been made many, many times. What Hayek could be said to have added is a little poetry and re-enchantment, perhaps.
So if you already know a respectable amount of economics, and you see these guys say it once again, your thought is more likely to be "meh".
If you are introduced to economics through blogs or people that like Hayek and Bastiat a lot, perhaps the reaction is more likely to be "wow".
That's fine. Economics is an exciting field so its good that people find it exciting when they come across these authors.
The trouble comes in, I think, when those promoters of Hayek and Bastiat tie economic science to political libertarianism and when they tie these ideas to the idea that "mainstream economists" reject Hayek and Bastiats' points.
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