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A Response to Ricardo F. Crespo

Peter J. Boettke


That political economy in its finest moments is a value-relevant discipline can hardly be disputed. The question is whether knowledge gleaned in the disciplines of economics and political economy can be both value-relevant and value-neutral. Adam Smith holds a claim to our intellectual attention to this day precisely because his work, as Kenneth Boulding so aptly put it, is part of our extended present. We need Smith, because Smith still speaks to us in an enabling manner about basic issues of social organization. But Smiths analysis of economic interdependence is something that stands independent of our judgment of his vision of the system of natural liberty. Vision and analysis cannot be so neatly compartmentalized, but they can nevertheless be usefully distinguished from one another.

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