Skip to main content

Response to reviewers on “The Tyranny of Experts”


I respond to the three excellent reviewers, who have covered well some of the most difficult issues raised by the arguments in The Tyranny of Experts. These include the good intentions of aid officials supporting autocrats, the role of Western history and current Western travails in the debate on freedom, distinguishing good and bad experts, advocating principles vs. tangible interventions, the serious flaws of democracy and not overstating the case for democracy, the question of whether some academics are also technocrats, the value of freedom as an end in itself, and the definition of democracy as to whether it includes individual rights. Finally and most controversially, I address the biggest question raised by the reviewers (and many others): what should we do? I say why I believe this question is the wrong one, why I refuse to answer it, and suggest more constructive ways to debate freedom and development.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Eltis and Engerman (2000)

  2. Sokoloff and Engerman (2000)

  3. The argument is similar to that of Boettke and Leeson, who argue that freedom is more robust to the worst case scenario of malevolent or ignorant political leaders and officials (Boettke and Leeson 2004).

  4. Persson and Tabellini (2009).

  5. Quoted from Klamer (1988).

  6. Doemeland and Trevino (2014).

  7. Speech transcript (2014)

  8. Chavkin (2015)


Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to William Easterly.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Easterly, W. Response to reviewers on “The Tyranny of Experts”. Rev Austrian Econ 28, 425–441 (2015).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


JEL classification