The twenty-four essays that appear in this volume exemplify the scholarly brilliance and intellectual curiosity that has marked the world of Nobel laureate George J. Stigler, who has been acknowledged as one of the foremost architects of twentieth-century economic thought. Stigler has said that 'the purpose of economics is not to preach, nor is it to build elaborate theoretical models of hypothetical economies; its purpose is to study the world around us in order to better understand its workings.' Stigler's writings indicate a lifetime spent in that pursuit. He has continually questioned accepted theories and infused those theories with his own unique perceptions; his writing and lecturing have always been marked with clarity, humor, and style. The essays published here are small but significant part of his work, which can only indicate the breadth of his intellect and the extraordinary scope of his interest, which embraces microeconomics, the history of economic thought, and all aspects of political economy.
Kurt R. Leube is a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution. He edited, with Thomas Gale Moore, The Essence of Stigler (Hoover Institution Press, 1986) and with Chiaki Nishiyama, The Essence of Hayek (Hoover Institution Press, 1985). Thomas Gale Moore is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution who specializes in international trade, deregulation, and privatization. His current research focuses on global warming, environmental issues, regulatory issues, and privatization in former communist countries. He is also working on evolutionary psychology and its relationship to religion and economics.