Tag Archives: Milton Friedman

The Inflation Fallacy and central banking debates in the US

Among my favorite contemporary academic economists is N. Gregory Mankiw. I have always found his academic writings very lucid and to the point. I was once again reminded of this today, when I stumbled over some debates about abolishing the Federal Reserve System. Opponents of central banking, mostly self-proclaimed followers of the “Austrian school”, view central banks as monopoly powers that undermine free markets and are inherently inflationary – implying a government-supported devaluation of the population’s wealth. In the United States, these opponents are having golden days, as they can blame the Fed for having not only caused the financial crisis, but also for engaging in irresponsible quantitative easing that … Continue reading

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Dead economists can’t analyze the present

Of course they can’t. Yet, many pick up some dead economist and speculate what he or she would have thought about some current economic incident or policy. For example, even though a whole industry is still devoted to try figuring out what Keynes actually meant when he wrote The General Theory three quarters of a century ago, many discuss Keynes’ “advice” for policy in the present times of economic slump. While interesting from the perspective of the History of Economic Thought, it sometimes seem as a lot of wasted intellectual resources. Never mind about what Keynes would or would not have thought. Read him and learn, but don’t bestow him … Continue reading

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Krugman on Friedman in 2007

I recently stumbled over Paul Krugman’s 2007 article “Who was Milton Friedman?” from the New York Review of Books. In his otherwise very appreciative and balanced biography (not according to all), Krugman writes the following when commenting on Friedman the-free-market-advocate-rather-than-academic-economist: “What’s odd about Friedman’s absolutism on the virtues of markets and the vices of government is that in his work as an economist’s economist he was actually a model of restraint. As I pointed out earlier, he made great contributions to economic theory by emphasizing the role of individual rationality—but unlike some of his colleagues, he knew where to stop. Why didn’t he exhibit the same restraint in his role … Continue reading

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