Alex's ridicule of the New York Times piece on economists who "oppose the hegemony of free-market economics" is spot-on. Basic fact-checking would have exposed the silliness of this story, which was decisively refuted by Dan Klein and Charlotta Stern a couple years ago.
Dan Klein is one of the world's greatest intellectual entrepreneurs. I hope he figures out the perfect way to take advantage of this opportunity. It wouldn't surprise me if he's hard at work already...
Agreed. When I was a grad student at UC Irvine (mid 90s) studying computer science, Dan had weekly seminars he called the Liberty Society of Irvine. No course credit, no assigned readings or tests, but some very interesting people and ideas shared.
There are two things I have no doubt about. (1) His former colleagues at UCI will kick themselves one day for not keeping him around. (2) Someday, he'll be on the TV and I'll tell someone nearby that I used to attend his seminars and it'll be an impressive claim.
This seems to contradict Bryan's claim that contrary to the American public, economists are in general agreement on much of the folly of government intervention; i.e. protectionism, inflation, minimum wage.
Would it be fair to say that although economists are greater supporters of the market system than are the populists, they are not the Milton Friedmans they are made out to be by the NYT article?
Libertarianism has little to offer the narcissist personality. Its very premise revolves around the idea that people generally can handle their own affairs; the so-called elites need to stay out of the way and mind their own business. Needless to add, these arrogant fools prefer to embrace ideologies rewarding them with enormous power. I am not sure, for instance, whether Milton Friedman was right concerning shutting down the Federal Reserve. Still, the elites instinctively recoil from such a suggestion. If nothing else, many of them would have to find new jobs. A command economy is much kinder towards the elites. It is in their self-interest to shun the libertarian message. We have little to offer them.
Caplan seems to put a great emphasis on how expert opinion is almost always right. Yet he seems to be much more redical than most economists. Is the expert's consensus wrong?