George Stigler's rhetoric: dreams of Martin Luther

Craig Freedman

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It is not surprising that the work of the mature economist can often be discerned in his earlier works. Ideas evolve over time and change but rarely do they mutate into unrecognizable theories and analysis. However it is rare that an economist accurately lays out the trajectory of his life’s work in a series of lectures. Yet in a not sufficiently appreciated set of five lectures given at the London School of Economics in March of 1948, George Stigler made it clear not only what work he intended to accomplish but how he aimed to change the economics profession itself. For the post-war counter-revolution that aimed to displace Keynesianism as the prevailing doctrine, this set of lectures formed a parallel to Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the Castle Church in Wittenberg. This article demonstrates the way in which these five short lectures form a complete doctrine and how in later years George Stigler implemented his blueprint.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRegarding the past
Subtitle of host publicationproceedings of the 20th Conference of the History of Economic Thought Society of Australia
EditorsPeter E. Earl, Bruce Littleboy
Place of PublicationSt Lucia, Qld
PublisherSchool of Economics, University of Queensland
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9781864998979
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventHistory of Economic Thought Society of Australia Conference (20th : 2007) - Brisbane
Duration: 11 Jul 200713 Jul 2007


ConferenceHistory of Economic Thought Society of Australia Conference (20th : 2007)


  • George Stigler
  • Chicago School
  • neo-classical economics


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