Tim Harford interviews Gary Becker

Here is the link, Becker joked only once, and Tim reports:

Becker wants a clear head for tennis that afternoon. He is 75 and looks
it, with fine white hair and translucent, heavily lined skin, but he
moves like a younger man. When I arrived at his home to take him up on
his offer of a lift to the restaurant, I could see his silhouette
coming down the stairs at a fair clip. He drives confidently. In the
summer, he moves his work to Cape Cod and often swims in the ocean.
Becker has always loved sport, but that, and his family, seem to be his
only distraction from work. "I don’t like small talk too much, so I
don’t try to get involved in that." It is clear from even a few minutes
conversation that what really motivates Becker is the world of ideas.


Sigh. Gary Becker. My adoration for him borders on idolatry. I asked my wife if we could name our next kid Becker, but she said it would almost certainly condemn him to grade school hell since Becker rhymes with Pecker. (I also tried to get my kid named Ebert, but she didn't go for that one either).

IOW, a great economist must also be a massive bore.

- Josh

Economics would better have stuck with it's original name political economy or adopted something like incentology (see why they went with economics :) ).

Economics is the study of incentives and human behavior under differing incentive sets. That the most frequently described incentive is money leads to a considerable amount of confusion, but that doesn't negate the usefulness of any other incentives (after all most of us do not pursue money for money's sake rather because it's easy to convert it into the things we really want. Oftentimes what people say they want and what they actually want are different, which is why economists look at money (and to some extent actions) to better asses the actual internal decision.

Finance is the study of money, wealth, and investments. They are sometimes related but not always. I liken the relationship between Econ and Finance to that of Math and Physics (or Electrical Engineering). In both cases the former is much broader than the latter, and in both cases full comprehension of the specialized field requires more than a cursory understanding of the parent field. However, they remain exceedingly distinct entities with highly successful practitioners in each regularly falling on their face in the other.

An interview with Becker is fine, but what I am really looking forward to
is the biograph about Milton Friedman that I heard about that is
being written.

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