A Dictionary for Economics Students

In the Lexicon of Economic Thought, readers can find simple single-page entries on 176 economic or social topics, ranging from bailouts to Sunday shopping laws to academic tenure. Walter Block and Michael Walker give the perspective of a serious economist, not just a political pundit. So, in the case of academic tenure, they go through the arguments for and against tenure, and then look at how a truly free market would operate in the world of higher education. There would be freedom of choice. Students might get vouchers instead of money going directly to universities and then entrepreneurs would put out different types of schools for the students to choose from. All universities would have to be privatized for this to work. Some might have tenure, others might not – who cares? The point is that in a free system universities would be responsible to the end users: students and those who are paying for the students, meaning parents and taxpayers (who would use politics to keep the schools responsible for their particular programs). Block concluded that “only on the basis of the free marketplace” could we find a real answer to the viability of university tenure.

It is really helpful to have a dictionary of economic issues to bring you up to speed on the definition of the issues so you can formulate an informed opinion on the matters and a solid starting point for further study.


Block, Walter and Michael Walker, Lexicon of Economic Thought, The Fraser Institute, 1989

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