Archive for November, 2006

Milton Friedman’s Last Laugh

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/29/2006

And much more.

“All great economists are tall. There are two exceptions: John Kenneth Galbraith and Milton Friedman.” –George J. Stigler

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Staph “superbug” blindsides NFL

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/29/2006

This is a story that’s not going away.

UPDATE: “Drug-Resistant Staph Infections Move Beyond Hospitals”.

Posted in Nature | Leave a Comment »

Leftists Are The Least Charitable of All Americans

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/28/2006

These must be the compassionate moral giants I’ve constantly run into at college. From Thomas Sowell:

“This study [“Who Really Cares” by Arthur C. Brooks] found young [leftists] to make the least charitable contributions of all [Americans], whether in money, time or blood.”

And this:

“If [leftists] and moderates gave blood at the same rate as conservatives, the blood supply of the United States would jump about 45 percent.”


People who identify themselves as conservatives donate money to charity more often than people who identify themselves as [left wingers]. They donate more money and a higher percentage of their incomes. It is not that conservatives have more money. [Left wing] families average 6 percent higher incomes than conservative families .. Conservatives not only donate more money to charity than [leftists] do, conservatives volunteer more time as well ..

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Last Email from Milton Friedman

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/26/2006

Sent to Peter Robinson:

Dear Peter:

Of course, it is not presumptuous [to say a prayer for me]. I am grateful for the sentiment, whether I believe it can affect the results or not.

I remain an optimist and I certainly have nothing to complain about. God, nature, chance — something has treated me very well.


Posted in Economics, Liberty | Comments Off on Last Email from Milton Friedman

Friedman vs Hayek vs Keynes

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/25/2006

And the winner is ..

Friedman, Keynes and Hayek all identify the problem. It is in their prescriptions of what should be done that they part company.

Here, Keynes and Friedman are bedfellows. Both believed that suitably empowered clever chaps could work out rules of behaviour that would smooth the fluctuations of the business cycle. Friedman came up with the rule of an independent central bank controlling the expansion of money at a fixed rate. Keynes essentially thought that if he and other old Etonians were put in charge, everything would be fine. At the end of the General Theory, he writes, “I conclude that the duty of ordering the current volume of investment cannot safely be left in private hands.” But Hayek sharply disagreed. He believed that there are inherent limits to knowledge in human social and economic systems which no amount of intellect can overcome.

Developments in economics are taking the subject in the direction of Hayek rather than Friedman and Keynes. The burgeoning areas of behavioural and experimental economics confirm that, for the most part, decision-makers reason poorly and act intuitively rather than rationally. Theoretical models in which actors have very limited, or even zero, understanding of how their environment operates are having striking success in explaining a wide range of phenomena.

Friedman was a brilliant polemicist. He had several highly original ideas about how economies work. Most have proved to be wrong, but at least he had them. And in the one area where he was proved correct, he exercised great influence on policymakers. But even in this area, Hayek’s insights go much deeper and offer a better framework for the research programmes of the 21st century.

Roger Garrison takes a closer look at the Friedman / Keynes relationship in his essay, “Is Milton Friedman a Keynesian?”

A good account of Hayekian macroeconomics can be found here.

Posted in Economics | 2 Comments »

A New Friedman PBS Special

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/24/2006

A retrospective of the life and thought of Milton Friedman will be broadcast in January, produced by the same folks who gave us the original “Free to Choose” broadcasts. The new special is titled The Power of Choice and you can preview a clip of the show here.

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More Friedman Memories & Appreciations

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/21/2006

– William F. Buckley grieves the death of his friend.

– Alan Meltzer offers an appreciation of Milton Friedman.

– Brian Doherty says what Milton Friedman did was based on his belief in us.

– Jacob Sullum asks conservatives to let Friedman be Friedman.

– Looks like Michael Kinsley doesn’t know his Milton Friedman. More here.

– Linda Chavez sips tea with the Friedmans.

– Milton Friedman the answer man.

I’ll add more here later. See also my three earlier lists of Milton Friedman tributes.

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David Friedman on his father

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/20/2006

and the role his father and the Mont Pelerin Society played in spreading liberty’s message around the globe.

In the comments section of a previous post David writes this:

Dean’s comment about the things that couldn’t fit in the tributes reminded me of something I was thinking of today—the accomplishments outside of the ones he is known for.

My first post to this blog, at:

described the superiority of the Chicago style workshop, where the participants are expected to read the paper in advance and the presenter to talk about it for not very long, rather than presenting it, over the more conventional approach. As best I can tell the Chicago style workshop was an invention of my father’s.

Long ago I happened to be doing some statistical work, and discovered that my father had a statistical test named after him, a way of doing statistics on ordinal rather than cardinal values—just what, in that project, I needed.

I gather that he was in part responsible for a much more important statistical breakthrough, the idea of using the results of the first N tests to decide whether to do test N+1, instead of selecting the number of tests in advance.

And, of course, he was an extraordinary person, in more ways that I can describe.

The verse I posted here is from Havamal, as one responder noted. It is also the end of the final chapter of my novel. My protagonist was not literally patterned on anyone, but I think his personality owes more to my father than to anyone else.

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San Francisco should honor Milton Friedman

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/20/2006

So says the the San Francisco Examiner which calls Milton Friedman it’s most influential citizen — ever.The Examiner suggests renaming Market street “Free Market Street”.

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Friedman Tributes Continue to Roll In

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/20/2006

I’m starting here my third list of commentaries and tributes in the wake of the passing of Milton Friedman. [List #1 can be found here, list #2 can be found here.]

– Gary Becker on his first day of class with Milton Friedman and much else.

– Robert Samuelson explains how Milton Friedman changed the world.

– More trash talk from the Guardian which insists that central bankers are praising Friedman but following Keynes.

– Doug Bandow recalls sharing a copying machine with Milton Friedman.

– Milton Friedman lets the class out early on the first day of school.

– Robert Barro on Milton Friedman and monetary policy. (pdf file)

– Among Oxford economists in the 1980s Friedman’s name was dirt.

– William Rees-Mogg says we are all Friedmen now.

– Arnold Kling has the crazy idea that Milton Friedman won arguments because he had stronger arguments. Could it be?

Friedman and Hayek get slimed by the webzine Counterpunch.

– Experts weigh in on how Milton Friedman changed Latin America.

– Poland’s Leszek Balcerowicz explains the two things that made Milton Friedman a giant.

– Konstantin Sonin offers a note of caution on Friedman’s lessons for Russia.

– Galbraith was right and Friedman was wrong about corporate capitalism says Michael Kinsley.

– The Huffington Post hopes Milton Friedman is burning in hell.

– Do they give prizes for this, because Milton Friedman helped millions escape poverty.

– David Altig say that reports of the demise of Friedman’s contribution to contemporary monetary theory are greatly exaggerated.

– The Milton Friedman thing? For Tim Worstall it’s personal.

– Paul Craig Roberts on how Milton Friedman saved the economics profession from Keynesian dogma.

– David Brooks remembers what it was like to be a young socialist debating Milton Friedman.

– Claudia Rosett remembers dinner with a man who loved life.

– Personal memories of Milton Friedman from a U. of Chicago libertarian. [recommended]

I’ll be updating this list throughout the day.

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