Attn, DC Reasonoids: Russ Roberts & Nick Gillespie Discuss The Price of Everything on Mon., Dec. 1 at Cato Institute


What: Come to a discussion of the new novel The Price of Everything, featuring the author Russell Roberts, Professor of Economics, George Mason University; with comments by Nick Gillespie, editor in chief of and reason online.

Where: The Cato Institute
1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

When: Monday, December 1, 12PM (lunch follows immediately)

Why: George Will writes in Newsweek, "Improbable as it might seem, perhaps the most important fact for a voter or politician to know is: No one can make a pencil. That truth is the essence of a novella that is, remarkably, both didactic and romantic. Even more remarkable, its author is an economist. If you read Russell Roberts's The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity, you will see the world afresh-unless you already understand Friedrich Hayek's idea of spontaneous order. Roberts sets his story in the Bay Area, where some Stanford students are indignant because a Big Box store doubled its prices after an earthquake. A student leader plans to protest Stanford's acceptance of a large gift from Big Box. The student's economics professor, Ruth, rather than attempting to dissuade him, begins leading him and his classmates to an understanding of prices, markets and the marvel of social cooperation." Roberts will discuss his novel way of teaching economics at a Cato Book Forum, with comments by Nick Gillespie, a literature Ph.D. who is surely the only journalist to have interviewed both Ozzy Osbourne and the 2002 Nobel laureate in economics, Vernon Smith.

Cato events, unless otherwise noted, are free of charge. To register for this event, please email, fax (202) 371-0841, or call (202) 789-5229 by noon, Friday, November 28, 2008. Please arrive early. Seating is limited and not guaranteed. News media inquiries only (no registrations), please call (202) 789-5200.

Russ Roberts discusses his novel on

NEXT: Posse Comitatus Goes Belly Up

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  1. Dr. Gillespie? You totally should have that on your byline.

  2. Oh please, like these egg heads know anything.


  3. Isnt the pencil thing from Free to Choose or some other Friedman thing?

    Any maybe not even original to him?

    My point being – why is George Will surprised by this concept?

  4. My point being – why is George Will surprised by this concept?

    Because up until now George Will thought that he could make a pencil.

  5. There are three kinds of libertarians. (1) The Bubba Libertarians are the kind you find holding Ron Paul signs. They want a return to the gold standard and hate Jews. (2) The knee-jerk libertarians. They are basically anarchists. They don’t care about the gold standard. They have Jewish friends. They are planning to live on a cruise ship with no rules one day. (3) The thinking libertarians. They know actual people who work at think tanks.

    This book is for the thinking libertarians, you know, the kind who read the blogs, have a deep interest in economics, spontaneous order, etc. The kind who have friends who are still lefties and righties and love them anyway. There are many conversation starters in Ruth’s monologues, engaging issues that are much more applicable than whether the Mystics of Mind are making us buy into collectivism that will ruin us. And the sex scenes are amazing. I highly recommend this book to any of you who can read.

  6. Anyone who has read Leonard Reed or Milton Friedman knows well the story about how hard it is for an individual to make a pencil. This is nothing new. The problem with Roberts’ book isn’t that he has bad economics, it isn’t. It also isn’t that the ideas are at all new — education has an important role. The problem is that this book is so incredible hard to read. This has to be one of the more stilted discussions about fiction that I know of. My advice is that next time Roberts works with someone who can write fiction. Combining Roberts understanding of economics with someone who can write fiction could be a powerful and useful combination.

  7. Greetings from a proud #2 libertarian!

    (Is that anything like a #2 pencil?)

  8. No one can make a #2 libertarian either, CN.

  9. Xeones,

    Two people can make a #2 libertarian.

  10. What are you if you want a gold standard and like jews?

    Or are an anarchist who hates jews?

  11. “What are you if you want a gold standard and like jews?

    Or are an anarchist who hates jews?”

    We need a new Nolan Chart so we can plot people on a continuum between “Bubba” “Anarchist” and “Cosmotarian”.

  12. been there, done that, egosub:


    Answer Yes or No.

    1) The Kochtopus is an evil sumbitch. Burn it.

    2) Dope smokers are hippy scum. Pray for them.

    3) Friedman kicks Rothbards ass. Write it down.

    4) Badnarick was misunderstood.

    5) No fluoride. Colloidal silver!

    6) Heroin should be banned in public schools.

    7) The South shall rise again.

    8) Ron Paul can run faster than most black boys.

    9) Abolish marriage now!

    10) Pakalolo kicks Friedman’s and Rothbard’s asses.

    0-3 Yes = out of the LP
    4-8 Yes = out of the LP
    9 and 10 Yes = out of the LP

  13. no
    yes, but only if imported from British Columbia.

  14. Another #2 libertarian here.

  15. I went from #3 to #2 when I realized that “thinking” involved using non-falsifiable inductive reasoning to violate first principles based on deductive reasoning.

  16. 1 Huh?
    2 They are both pretty cool
    3 No, hippies are like zombies, no prayers for them.
    4 Fortunately for him
    5) No fluoride. Colloidal silver!
    6) There shouldn’t be public schools
    7) Unlikely.
    8) Probably statistically accurate across all age groups.
    9) Yes.
    10) Probably ‘no’, but I don’t know who Pakakolo is.

    So am I still a #2?

  17. Oops, #5 should be just “No”.

  18. “Probably ‘no’, but I don’t know who Pakalolo is.”

    Don’t look “him” up at work.

    Also I’m kicking myself that fell for #6’s trick question.

    Apparently there is a whole website dedicated to explaining question 1 for you: Tell me what it’s like since I’m at work 😀

  19. ha,
    yeah I googled ‘kochtopus’, and that was the first site. It explains nothing though, it is a homemade video for people already in the ‘in’ crowd.

    I didn’t get it at all. I think it was some kind of take of ‘the Matrix’, but about libertarian infighting.

    It might be funny for people that know what it is about.

    So I checked out another site and saw this:
    The “Kochtopus” is a derogatory name coined by the late Samuel Edward Konkin, III, an anarcho-libertarian, for the group of libertarian organizations funded by billionaire Charles Koch.

  20. Pakalolo = Hawaiian weed.

    supposedly pretty good.

    Thank you google.

  21. Funny, I thought Pakalolo was going to be a soccer player.

    You know how the cosmotarians love their soccer.

  22. “You know how the cosmotarians love their soccer.”
    The Crew rules.
    No, really. They do.

  23. Citizen Nothing

    How did me and egosumbas do on the quiz?

    I mean I know it was just yes or no questions, but how did we do?

    Also, what crew rules?

  24. Also, what crew rules?

    Presumably the soccer team. Get used to soccer by the way; now that the Reason crowd has written all the Ron Paul fans, gold bugs, and blue-collar types out of the movement, this really is the Stuff White People Like wing of libertarianism.

  25. Wow, that Cato Institute is pretty cool!


  26. Any reports on Black Friday, big crowds this year or no?

  27. Big crowds in Reno, NV.

    Lots of people buying lots of crap.

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