Whose Moment is This?

It seems to have become somewhat of a contest among pundits, politicians, and economists to name the most relevant economist for the current crisis. Here are the latest:

  • Greg Ransom points out that Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert is recommending that shareholders read Hayek.
  • A recent Bloomberg article opens, “So long, Milton Friedman. Hello, James Tobin.”

5 responses to “Whose Moment is This?

  1. Hmmm. How close is this.

    Hayek’s _The Road to Serfdom_ is #393 in books at Amazon.

    Tobin’s top book is #1,313,098 in books at Amazon.

  2. Let’s see.

    President Obama subscribes to 1) the Hayek hypothesis; and 2) the Hayek-Friedman Hypothesis.

    In Obama’s own words: “The market is the best mechanism ever invented for efficiently allocating resources to maximize production. And I also think that there is a connection between the freedom of the marketplace and freedom more generally.”

    The only three economists that Obama has ever mentioned who have influenced him as far as I am aware are Hayek, Friedman, and Obama’s own father.

    There may have been others, but I’ve yet to read where Obama mentions them.

    And here’s top Obama economic adviser Larry Summers: “What’s the single most important thing to learn from an economics course today? What I tried to leave my students with is the view that the invisible hand is more powerful than the [un]hidden hand. Things will happen in well-organized efforts without direction, controls, plans. That’s the consensus among economists. That’s the Hayek legacy.”

    So “Hayekians” are right at the top of the food chain in the America government, according to these folks themselves. Believe them or not as you choose.

  3. Greg,

    If Obamah’s economic inspiration is FA Hayak what explains the massive bail-out + expansionary monetary standpoing which is the fundamental difference between Hayak/austrian economics and James Tobin/Keynesian economics?

    In Obamah’s own words , paraphrasing, he has stated that the Free market works great but spins out of control and needs to be forced back on track. This is a chicago/keynesian view and is opposite of anything Hayak has ever advocated?

    Including to this, every major government employeed economist is a hardcore keynesian supporter. They have to be, if they advocated Hayak they may be justifying the non-existence of their own job.

  4. Summers was asked on CNBC, I believe, about economists and said flat out I’m a Keynsian, so I don’t know what Mr. Ransom is talking about.

    Now do I doubt whether Obama or Summers or Romer would mention Hayek or Freidman, no. Do they adhere to that “school” of economic thought, not for one second.

  5. Greg – Obama has also cited Jane Jacobs as a major influence on his thinking.

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