Here is the audio, video, and transcript. Here is the episode description: Jennifer Burns is a professor history at Stanford who works at the intersection of intellectual, political, and cultural history. She’s written two biographies Tyler highly recommends: her 2009 book, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right and her latest, Milton Friedman: The
The post My Conversation with the excellent Jennifer Burns appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.
Here is the audio, video, and transcript. Here is the episode description:
Jennifer Burns is a professor history at Stanford who works at the intersection of intellectual, political, and cultural history. She’s written two biographies Tyler highly recommends: her 2009 book, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right and her latest, Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative, provides a nuanced look into the influential economist and public intellectual.
Tyler and Jennifer start by discussing how her new portrait of Friedman caused her to reassess him, his lasting impact in statistics, whether he was too dogmatic, his shift from academic to public intellectual, the problem with Two Lucky People, what Friedman’s courtship of Rose Friedman was like, how Milton’s family influenced him, why Friedman opposed Hayek’s courtesy appointment at the University of Chicago, Friedman’s attitudes toward friendship, his relationship to fiction and the arts, and the prospects for his intellectual legacy. Next, they discuss Jennifer’s previous work on Ayn Rand, including whether Rand was a good screenwriter, which is the best of her novels, what to make of the sex scenes in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, how Rand and Mises got along, and why there’s so few successful businesswomen depicted in American fiction. They also delve into why fiction seems so much more important for the American left than it is for the right, what’s driving the decline of the American conservative intellectual condition, what she will do next, and more.
Here is one excerpt:
COWEN: What’s the future of Milton Friedman, say, 30, 40 years from now? Where will the reputation be? University of Chicago is no longer Friedmanite, right? We know that. There are fewer outposts of Friedmanite-thinking than there had been. Will he be underrated or somehow reinvented or what?
BURNS: Let me look into my crystal ball. I don’t think the name will have faded. I think there are still names that people read. People still read Keynes and Mill and figures like that to see what did they say in their day that was so influential. I think that Friedman has got into the water and into the air a bit. I do some work on tracing out his influence.
Within economics, no one’s going to say, “Oh, I’m a Friedmanite,” or fewer people are, but this is someone whose major work was done half a century or more ago, so I don’t think that’s surprising. It would be surprising if economics had been at a standstill as Friedman still called the tune. When you think about the way we accord importance to the modern Federal Reserve, of course, there were things that happened in the world, but Friedman’s ideas did so much to shape that understanding.
He’s still in policymakers’ minds. He’s still in the monetary policy establishment’s minds, even if they’re not fully following him. I think we’re in the middle of a big reckoning now. You saw all the debate about M2 and the pandemic and monetary spending. I don’t know where it’s all going to settle out. It’s a more complicated world than the one that Friedman looked at. I tend to think he is an essential thinker, that the basics of what he talked about are going to be known 50 years from now, for sure.
COWEN: Did Milton Friedman have friends?
Definitely recommended, and Jennifer’s new book Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative is one of my favorite books of the year. It will likely stand as the definitive biography of Friedman.
Books, Economics, History, Uncategorized