*Chicagonomics: The Evolution of Chicago Free Market Economics*

That is the new book from Lanny Ebenstein, I found it well-written and useful.  You can read about Henry Simons, the Cowles Commission, Hayek, Jacob Marschak, of course Milton Friedman, and much mmore.  Friedman, by the way, originally had intended to become an actuary.

Here is Friedman on Hayek from an Ebenstein interview from 1995:

Q: How would you describe Hayek personally?

A: In terms of his personal characteristics, Hayek was a very complicated personality.  He was by no means a simple person.  He was very outgoing in one sense but at the same time very private.  He did not like criticism, but he never showed that he didn’t like criticism.  His attitude under criticism, as I found, was to say: “Well, that’s a very interesting thing. At the moment, I am busy, but I’ll write to you about it more later.”  And then he never would!

Friedman is extremely frank about Hayek in this interview, and repeatedly mentions that he objected to how Hayek treated his first wife.  I have never seen Friedman be so negative, or for that matter so emotionally involved, and when it comes to The Fatal Conceit he simply avers: “It’s not up to Hayek at his best.”

You can then turn to two pages of Paul Samuelson, in a letter to Ebenstein, criticizing Milton Friedman.  Ebenstein, by the way, argues that Friedman is essentially a left-wing, utilitarian thinker.

Comments

is it more about Chicago economists and their relations and lesser on the development of Chicago economics and conceptual development?

I do not remember the author's earlier book on Hayek very well, but I think it dealt more with his personal life, not so much with his thinking. I am trying to be polite.

Hayek did not have a tranquil domestic life? But Schumpeter did orgies I think...now that's a heterodox economist!

Well, he said he got two of his three goals, right?

What always struck me about Friedman's rhetorical style was how little appeal he made to pure ideology. Contrary to the stereotyping as a rabid right-wing nut. Much more an appeal to pragmatism.

His typical argument would begin with "this policy has good intentions BUT" then he would work through the logic of how it would actually work out. Regulatory capture. Infant industry tariffs that would up protecting very much grown up powerful incumbents. Rigid nominal domestic prices suggesting that flexible exchange rates were better than fixed rates.

And how about that minimum income idea?

'Friedman is essentially a left-wing, utilitarian thinker'

Whose ideas made their greatest impact on American society after being instituted under a left-wing utilitarian president (airline and freight deregulation), with continuing influence under the following right-wing utilitarian president (well, right wing for the time - these days, Reagan seems like a flaming liberal in many areas).

It took me a while to realize that I have read a book about Hayek by the same author. Why would an established author suddenly change his name to "Lanny"? I am sure there is some interesting story there.

"I am sure there is some interesting story there."
+1

My legal name is "Alan," but I have been known as "Lanny" throughout my life by everyone who knows me. So, I decided to change my nom de plume to "Lanny" as well.

Pay no attention to the trolls my friend, and that includes me. I was just about to post that as of October 2014--though looks can be deceiving as I found when living in Thailand--that Dr. Ebenstein looks like a man, not that it matters, as per this link: http://www.edhat.com/site/tidbit.cfm?nid=142545

Your readers aren't your pals or your big brother.

"Alan" is a stupid name anyway. "Lanny", if I am pronouncing it right, is much more euphonic.

Oh my, counter-revolutionaries! That's the thing about extremists: no amount of evidence will change their minds because their minds are as tightly shut as a submerged submarine. Just as today's Republicans punish heretics, so too do the ideologues of the Chicago School. Angry men (they are mostly men) determined to punish heresy. That's their problem with Friedman: he was too nice.

@rayward - au contraire, I think Friedman flamed with the best of them. Today's Angry White Man is Scott Sumner; I battle with him on his blog and he is polite enough to answer all his readers!

Go get them windmills, boss.

This is a very good book. I hope people will give it a read and fair hearing.

‘Friedman is essentially a left-wing, utilitarian thinker’

Was he, or was he simply presenting his arguments in the default mode of the time, back when Democrats were in the middle of their 40+ year dominance in the House and Senate?

I'd argue that back then, the default view about government was liberal (what programs should the government do), whereas now it is conservative (what programs can we cut?).

>the default view about government was liberal (what programs should the government do), whereas now it is conservative (what programs can we cut?)

Both positions are utilitarian. The Coolidge budget of under 3% of GDP (half of that for the military) was probably too little. We needed more government. The Obama budget, whatever the numbers are, is probably too big, so we are right in asking for less government.

"I’d argue that back then, the default view about government was liberal (what programs should the government do), whereas now it is conservative (what programs can we cut?)"

Interesting. I believe that you are sincere, but I'm not seeing the same default view you are.

Of all the people named, Hayek is surely by far the biggest figure.

I wouldn't say Friedman was left-wing or right-wing, Friedman believed in the power of freedom. All he wanted was a world ruled by institutions that respected individuals rights, particularly the "holy right" to freely make choices.

Friedman should have written a book called "Free to Choose", if your thesis is right (or left).

Ebenstein, by the way, argues that Friedman is essentially a left-wing, utilitarian thinker.

Ebenstein's jonesing for attention or he fancies that someone with such a lively intelligence could not possibly be 'right wing'.

I expect that kind of thought process at Fox News... but really?

Why beat up on Fox? They present both sides of an argument better than the left leaning outlets.

1. I'm taking the moderator at his word in his summary of Ebenstein. The evaluation is absurd, and there are not too many explanations for it other than those offered. Perhaps Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity might think of others.

2. You're not in a position to evaluate anyone else's 'thought process'. You do not know that, though, and you likely never will.

Forthcoming from Verso Books: "Philosophical Actuaries: The Rise of the Neoliberal Intelligentsia and the Soullessness of Late Capitalism."

My husband, Jack Hirshleifer, used to marvel at Friedman' ability to take an opponent's argument, restate it better than the critic could and then show how it was flawed. He was neither right wing nor left wing. He was simply a thinker who approached every question honestly.

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