Many readers of this blog are familiar with Ed Stringham, who will be moving to Trinity College this fall. Ed is a GMU graduate, a provocative Austrian scholar and, I would argue, was a critical 'instigator' and driving force behind the youngest generation of Austrian economists who have been discussed on this blog. Ed is also the President of the superb Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE). Under his leadership, APEE has grown tremendously and is one of the premier associations for market-oriented scholars.
This summer, Ed is the F.A. Hayek Endowed Visiting Professor at the University of Klagenfurt in Austria. Ed is teaching native Austrian students about the relationship between public choice and Austrian economics. This position was created and generously funded by the Hayek Institut in Vienna, which wisely selected Ed to receive this well-deserved honor.
I would like to elaborate a bit on my comment above about Ed as a principle 'instigator' of the youngest generation of Austrian economists. I say this because I think Ed is responsible for cultivating an atmosphere of "active Austrianism" among GMU's grad students and, in particular, encouraging and emphasizing the importance of grad students engaging in research. Although Ed left Mason only a short time ago, his legacy in this regard has permanently shaped the culture of grad student Austrianism at GMU.
My first year as a graduate student at GMU, Ed decided to independently spearhead and organize a book--the chapters to be written by GMU grad students--responding to the papers written by economists at the Center for the Study of Public Choice and published in the Gordon Tullock-edited volumes, Explorations in the Theory of Anarchy and Further Explorations in the Theory of Anarchy, in the 1970s. Ed edited this grad-student written book, which was published under the title Anarchy, State, and Public Choice, in addition to contributing a chapter himself.
Since we were all busy with our studies, the project could have easily fallen apart. Because of Ed, however, it didn't. In fact, for me at least, it proved to be one of the most exciting and rewarding times in graduate school at GMU. In addition to securing a publisher for the book, Ed got both Buchanan and Tullock to write concluding chapters assessing our replies to their original project.
As part of the project, Ed organized a workshop (my first public presentation of a scholarly paper) in which the graduate students presented their papers and faculty commented on them. As a first year student, this was an incredible experience and one I will never forget. Within weeks of starting at GMU, Ed had ensured that I and others were already engaged in not only discussing and debating an important area of political economy, but researching and writing in this area as well.
I wrote my first academic paper as a result of this project, as did another then-first year GMU grad student, this blog's Chris Coyne. Several non-first year GMU grad students who make up part of the youngest generation of Austrian economists also contributed to Ed's book, including Virgil Storr, Ben Powell, and Scott Beaulier. In addition to its scholarly benefits, for me, at least, Ed's project also created personal ones. It was through this project that I came to know and forge friendships with the people mentioned above.
This book is just one example of Ed's 'instigation' of his fellow graduate students, and in particular those just entering GMU's program. I tend to think about the project as 'setting off' the excitement and importance attached to writing and publishing papers among several of us. Perhaps this was just for me, though I suspect it was true for others as well.
I have often said that GMU would benefit from many more "Eds" in this important regard. And I'm delighted to say that, knowingly or not, GMU's current and most recently-graduated crop of grad students have followed in Ed's footsteps, actively engaging in Austrian research, publishing, as well as independently organizing graduate student research workshops. The culture of productivity among GMU grad students that Ed was crucial to creating lives on.
Please join me in congratulating Ed on his F.A. Hayek Endowed Visiting Professorship this summer in Austria. I have no doubt he is bringing the same contagious passion to his students there as he did to his fellow students in his time at GMU.