Learn Liberty: First, when did you join the Learn Liberty team and what is your role?
Liz McCaffrey: I’ve worked at IHS since 2007, and I helped to found the Learn Liberty project when we launched it in 2011. This February will be 5 years that I’ve worked on Learn Liberty as a video producer.
LL: How did you find your way to the philosophy of liberty? Are there any thinkers in particular that got the ball rolling?
LM: That’s a long story! But I will say that I continue to learn more all the time. When I first started working at IHS in 2007 I knew nothing about economics—I had come to appreciate liberty from more of a philosophical and political perspective. So the economics lectures and readings I encountered in the first few years of working here were a huge education for me. Two particular readings stand out in my mind. The first is The Use of Knowledge in Society, an essay by Friedrich Hayek where he talks about how prices convey knowledge, and how that makes our economy and our whole modern world possible. The essay might seem dry when you first approach it, but if you give it a chance the insights are so profound. The second was an excerpt from Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty, which first introduced me to the concept of spontaneous order. It was the first time that I saw the parallels between a market economy and a biological ecosystem.
LL: What are you reading right now?
LM: I just finished Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. She’s a favorite writer of mine, but I’d never read this book before. Her writing is amazing—she is a close observer of people and she manages to be witty and tragic, light and heavy, at the same time.
LL: What’s your favorite Learn Liberty video and why?
LM: That’s very hard to say—there are so many! I’m not sure I can really say “favorite,” but I always find myself coming back to “Equality & Respect: How I’m Equal to Hugh Jackman.”
LM: I haven’t listened to a lot of music lately, I’m embarrassed to say, though like the rest of the planet I’ve really enjoyed hearing Adele’s new album. Instead of music, I’m often listening to podcasts. Fans of Learn Liberty might really like EconTalk, Planet Money, and 99% Invisible (the last claims to be a show about design, but the stories they tell are often economic stories, even if they don’t know it).