Steven G. Horwitz died the day before yesterday of lymphoma at age 57. Probably most reading this do not know who he was, but he was somebody I knew quite well, even as I disagreed with him quite a lot about economics. He was arguably the leading monetary economist out of the group of neo-Austrian economists who came out of George Mason University and who have been closely linked to Peter Boettke who is there, arguably the leader of the Hayekian branch of modern Austrian economics. Probably his most influential work was a book he published in 1992, Mometary Evolution, Free Banking and Economic Order. While I have never been a supporter of free banking what I liked about this book was that he clearly based his arguments on Hayek’s view of economic complexity and how this brought about the spontaneous emergence of economic order, with Steve one of the leaders of thinking in such terms among Austrian economists. I cited this book in my one that has just come out, Foundations and Applications of Complexity Economics.
There is perhaps another reason why I am making this post. I interviewed Steve for a job, not me being hired, but him being possibly hired at JMU when he came out of George Mason as a fresh PhD in 1990. It was one of those hotel room interviews, and he did not get invited onto campus as the others from JMU in the interview did not support him coming in. But I found him interesting, and I am not surprised that he came to be quite well known, even if he was not at high powered places. Most of his career he was St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, followed by being at Ball State University in Indiana, where he held a chaired professorship. Anyway, it seems odd to have someone clearly quite a bit younger whom I interacted with as a more senior person dying.
As I noted, he and I disagreed quite a bit. But somehow we ran into each other here and there quite a bit over the years, and I did have him in to JMU to speak some years ago. We never coauthored, but he did coedit a book I had a paper in on spontaneous order and political economy. I always enjoyed talking with him as he could always stand his ground and provide strong defenses for his positions. He indeed was probably the best monetary theorist of his group.
Anyway, I shall miss him. RIP, Steve.