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Monday, July 24, 2006

Rose Friedman takes on Milton Friedman

The subject is Iraq, and you can read about it at the end of this charming feature by Tunku Varadarajan in the Wall Street Journal.

It's a good interview of Friedman, and the point I found most interesting was the one where Friedman says that he believes in "completely open immigration," but not if we're talking about a welfate state. "If there were no welfare state," he says, "you could have open immigration, because everybody would be responsible for himself."

I also like the bit where Tunku tells him that he [Tunku] isn't an economist, and Friedman replies:
You mean you're not a trained economist. I have found, over a long time, that some people are natural economists. They don't take a course, but they understand--the principles seem obvious to them. Other people may have Ph.D.s in economics, but they're not economists. They don't think like an economist. Strange, but true.
In our times, of course, more and more people who are "natural economists" are discovering that fact because of books like Freakonomics and The Undercover Economist, and blogs like Marginal Revolution, Cafe Hayek, and so on, which demonstrate the value of the tools of economics in understanding just about any subject. (I'd written about that here once.)

That doesn't stop Rose and Milton squabbling, of course, but the day couples stop arguing, there'll be no fun in the world. (Peace, yes; fun, no.)
amit varma, 4:01 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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