Subject: Re: Recommendations for Basic Economics Guide.
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2002 16:57:38 +0900

>>>>> "Jerry" == Jerry Dwyer <gdwyer@dwyerecon.com> writes:

    Jerry> Friedman calls the period 1929-33 "The Great Contraction."

Of course.  That was just my[1] attempt at arguing rhetorically as
Friedman himself all too often does, except my intention was to be
sufficiently blatant that everybody would recognize it as 200 proof
(though emininently correct ;-) political opinion.

The problem is that Friedman's economic science becomes political
opportunism exactly when expert consensus fails, and you'd like to
have a trustworthy guide around.  Ie, I know he's smarter than me; I
also know he will not hesitate to misinform me in certain ways if he
thinks that will lead to me agreeing with him.  Conclusion:  it's only
useful to consult him[2] if you are as smart and well-informed as he
is.  :-(  And, his politics are a big distraction if you want to learn
about economics.

The main exception is that when he chooses to devote his rhetorical
skills to it, he is awesome at explaining the expert consensus.


Footnotes: 
[1]  Well, I borrowed the phrase "Great Vacation" from Mike Mussa,
who was at the IMF when he described "real business cycle theory"
using those words.

[2] Or Stigler or Becker, for that matter.  Cf Pirsig, Zen and the Art
of Motorcycle Maintenance---it's no accident that these guys are all
prominent Chicago scholars of that generation.


-- 
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