The Review of Austrian Economics, 15:1, 103–105, 2002.
2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Manufactured in The Netherlands.
Remembering Don Lavoie (1951–2001):
A Student’s Perspective
Don Lavoie was my professor and friend. From the day I entered graduate school until the
day I left, Don worked extremely closely with me. I came to GMU to speciﬁcally study
with Don and my experience exceeded all my expectations. After Roy Cordato and Karen
Palasek advanced in their studies, I was asked to work with Don on the Center for the
Study of Market Processes publication, Market Process, as the managing editor. At the
time, Market Process, was the only regular publication devoted exclusively to Austrian
economics—it was a dream come true for me to work with Don on this publication.
My good friends David Prychitko and Steve Horwitz also came to GMU to study with Don
and he also served as their professor and friend. The three of us were basically inseparable
during graduate school, and we were always in Don’s ofﬁce, going to lunch with him, or
dinner on the night of classes, or reading groups he formed, or the colloquium he directed.
He never once told us to leave him alone, nor did he ever make us feel that we were impeding
his work. Instead he always welcomed us and in fact made us feel that we were contributing
in immeasurable ways to his work. I never realized how much time and effort he invested
in us until I became a professor myself.
Don accomplished two things as a mentor to graduate students—he stressed the values
and vital importance of scholarship, and he made graduate school an extremely enjoyable
experience. The four years I spent at GMU in the mid 1980s have been the most intellectual
amazing years of my professional career. David Prychitko and I have tried to capture that
moment in time in our introduction to The Market Process. Throughout my professional
career I have been looking to recreate the experience I had at the Center for the Study
of Market Processes ever since and while I view my career to date as somewhat charmed,
nothing has come close, not NYU, not Hoover, and not even GMU today. A lot was going on
at GMU from 1984–1988, but to his students Don was the center of activities. The publication
in 1985 of both Rivalry and Central Planning and National Economic Planning signaled
to the economics profession that the modern Austrian school represented a progressive
research program in political economy and that Don Lavoie was a leading contributor to that
research program. We students regaled in the recognition that our professor was receiving
internationally. Janos Kornai, Robert Heilbroner, and Thomas Bottomore all hailed Don’s
Rivalry and Central Planning as the work that shifted the terms of the debate in comparative
economic systems. If Mises had Hayek as his shinning student, Kirzner had Lavoie and the
new Austrian school was ready to ascend within the ranks of the profession—at least that
is how we understood things in the mid to late 1980s.
Remarks read by Peter J. Boettke at a Memorial Service for Don Lavoie at Price Funeral Home in Manassas,
Virginia on Friday November 9, 2001.