Earl Thompson has passed away at 71

Scott Sumner offers a tribute.  Earl Thompson was one of the most genuinely creative economic minds of his generation.  In my view he was often wrong, such as when he argued that markets would overproduce (excludable) public goods.  Nonetheless his work always inspired fruitful thought, even if one did not accept his conclusions.  Here is his famous paper on taxation and national defense.  He used "national defense" arguments to try to explain the pattern of government subsidies and taxes.  His paper on monetary theory will make your head spin.  Here is his paper on the economics of charity.

Here is Earl offering advice to Obama and sounding like Scott Sumner.  He attributed excessively tight monetary policy to banker (i.e., creditor) control of the Fed.  Read this too; he disliked the Bernanke reappointment.

Here is my review of Earl's book; read the first six lines.

Here is his home page, with many more links to articles.  Here is a UCLA obituary:

Earl Thompson was an eccentric in an age of conformity. He kept odd hours: he was alone in his office in Bunche Hall at 4:31 AM on January 17, 1994 when the Northridge earthquake hit, where he found himself unharmed but covered with fallen books. He loved muscle cars, dressed as if the 1950s were just yesterday, and always had a sneaky grin on his face. He will be missed by his colleagues, his students, his friends and his family.

Earl Thompson was an American original.


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