Economic Thinkers

Starting with Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations, continuing to Malthus, Ricardo, Keynes, Hayek, Friedman, Sen and others, the timeless ideas of economic thinkers provide understanding of the contemporary economy.

Deficit D

2010Facing a $1.6 trillion deficit, President Obama creates the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. 1993:Facing a $260 billion deficit, President Clinton appoints a Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform.The commission’s recommendations (which were not implemented):http://retirement.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v58n2/v58n2p74.pdf 1992From the…

Hayek vs. Keynes

Good enough to watch, this youtube performance between Hayak and Keynes is similar to a recent Planet Money “boxing match” between the classical perspective and Keynes which I also recommend. Both are helpful when deciding whether you prefer government assistance…

Adam Smith and a Physician’s Pay

Pondering healthcare reform again, I came across this comment from Adam Smith, 1776, WEALTH OF NATIONS: 22] We trust our health to the physician: our fortune and sometimes our life and reputation to the lawyer and attorney. Such confidence could…

Pleasing Ricardo

During the 1990s, ignoring the protests of horrified Italian cheesemakers, the US placed a tariff on Pecorino cheese. The reason was bananas. Favoring their former colonies, the EU taxed bananas coming from all other Latin American countries that were grown…

Con and Pro Thoughts of Paul Samuelson

in this week’s Barron’s, commentator Gene Epstein shares a rather different view of Paul Samuelson from most who eulogized his life. Epstein perceived the economist who has been elevated for bringing math to his discipline as the scholar who needed…

Adam Smith and Wine

Known for his absentmindedness, Adam Smith seemed always to be pondering economic issues. According to The Economist, not always. In their December 17 issue, Smith is quoted in an article on the history of wine. He seemed to be alluding…

Are We All Keynesians?

According to the Yardeni newsletter, in 1965, A Time Magazine cover story was titled, “The Economy, We Are All Keynesians Now”. Even Milton Friedman was quoted as saying, “We are all Keynesians now.” (which he later corrected as having been,…

Milton Friedman’s Philosophy

On Milton Friedman… “At a conference 34 years ago, celebrating Friedman’s 60th birthday, I presented a paper questioning that dictum by noting that the vast part of apparently nonprofit-oriented behavior by corporate managers was really — and necessarily — a…