Friday, April 20, 2012

REVEALED: The Men who Blocked Hayek from Getting into the University of Chicago Economics Department

As a follow up to my post, where I point out that Nobel Prize winning economist Friedrich Hayek was blocked from gainning a post in the University of Chicago economics department, Ralph Raico has emailed me.

Professor Raico received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago, Committee on Social Thought, where the head of his dissertation committee was Hayek. I have read much speculation as to who blocked Hayek from joinning the department. Raico's close up observation post makes his comment on the matter very significant:
It should be noted that Hayek was turned down for a position in the Chicago economics department by [Milton] Friedman and [George] Stigler, because they deemed him not scientific enough, that is, not a positivist.

23 comments:

  1. I was present in the room (last Summer at the Mises University in Auburn), when Ronald Hamowy told us that it was Milton Friedman personally who blocked Hayek's appointment at the Department of Economics in Chicago. He was asked by somebody "is it correct that some people at the Economics department in Chicago blocked Hayek because he was not a positivist". His answer was: "Not some people, but Milton Friedman personally".

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  2. P.S. Ronald Hamowy studied in Chicago with Hayek, in the same time Raico did.

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  3. I thought this was long known.

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  4. It's interesting that Milton Friedman thought Hayek "not scientific enough," when MF never could justify his preferred inflation rate of 2 or 3 percent with any more justification than hand-waving argumentation.

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  5. Question:

    How did Friedman justify his ideas as positivistic (which I guess means empirical), when there's no empirical evidence to support his notions about inflation and central banking?

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  6. Amazing how Friedman is this big hero to so many on the right like Rush and various other fools, yet the same ones quote Hayek's "Road to Serfdom."

    Hayek is getting the last laugh though because the views he advocated are now mainstream thanks to Ron Paul popularizing "competing currencies" among many other things. Hayek, Mises, Rothbard, etc are going to end up the intellectual winners of the debate, they just had to wait a few decades for the internet to level out the playing field with easy access to information from the average person.

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  7. Oh and Wenzel, this would be yet another strike against George Selgin, who you handled previously. That guy is the same one who called Rothbard fans part of a "cult" and said that Milton was a much better economist and all around good guy. Really? The guy who blocked one of the greatest all time economists in Hayek from a position????

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    1. If Selgin actually said that then he's got his head up inside a smelly place.

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    2. I'd like to see a source. That doesn't sound like a sane Selgin.

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    3. Anonymous,

      1. George Selgin considers Milton Friedman a better monetary economist than Rothbard.

      2. That he accused "Rothbard fans" of cultism is unfortunate, but he did not imply that Rothbard is a cultist or that Rothbard is a bad academic.

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    4. How can you leave such an absurd statement dangling? Do you think Friedman is a better monetary economist than Rothbard?

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    5. Jonathan Catalan,

      I would suggest reading this link, since Selgin stated the cult involvement was more than just Rothbard's fans:

      http://www.freebanking.org/2011/07/28/me-murray-and-milton/


      "Rothbard, on the other hand, was only too determined to identify himself with the Austrian School and, more than that, to both take part in a personality cult, built around von Mises, and attract such a cult himself. One sign of the presence of such a cult is precisely the scorn its members heap on potential rivals to the cult figure."

      And

      "He then went on to conjure up an equally false history of banking and of bank contracts designed to square his theory of the cycle, with its implied condemnation of fractional reserve banking, with his libertarian ethics."

      That sure doesn't sound like Selgin is endorsing Rothbard as an academic! Reading the follow up responses here by Selgin showed exactly how bad his logic is, and how he wasn't exactly in a great position to defend his statements when taken to task over them. Selgin seems like a pretty good guy at articulating certain ideas, but debating and defending his argument against people who know what they are talking about is definitely not a strength of his.

      One of the best examples was Selgin's statement that Friedman took several decades longer to call for abolishing the Fed, but that it doesn't mean Friedman wasn't better than Rothbard just because he was decades behind him or Friedman is the reason why the government withholds taxes. That was a very cultish sounding statement, and I am sure the irony was lost on Selgin, but I will leave with you links to the rest of his comments here:

      http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2011/07/george-selgins-sandbox.html

      http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2011/07/george-selgin-logic.html

      http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2011/07/few-comments-for-george-selgin.html

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    6. You are wrong, Jonathan Catalan. Selgin indeed said Rothbard is a cultist.

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    7. It is pretty obvious to almost everyone outside of the Rothbard cult that it is one!

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    8. How does coming to the conclusion that the Fed should be abolished a representative of one's monetary theory and abilities as a monetary economist?

      That Selgin (correctly) calls Rothbard out in this case doesn't imply anything with regards to anything else Rothbard my have said or written as an academic.

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    9. I will ignore the attention whore and failed author Callahan and respond to the only serious person.

      Catalan, you said earlier that Selgin did not say Rothbard was a bad academic and that he did not charge Rothbard himself as being cultish, but just his fans. Would you at least now admit after reading the quotes from his Selgin's article that you were wrong and he did both of those?

      Selgin stated that Rothbard simply made a lot of stuff up to justify his own theories, and rated Rothbard as a "mediocre to poor" monetary economist! He also said that Rothbard wanted to be in a cult of personality.

      Do you agree with those two things?

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    10. I guess Catalan does agree that Friedman was a better monetary economist, Rothbard was a poor monetary economist, and that Rothbard wanted to be part of a cult of personality.

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    11. None of you idiots have noticed that George *Stigler* is cited in the original post, not Selgin? Or am I missing something?

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  8. So I am part of this Anarchocapitalist facebook group in NYC who are irreverent to Austrians such as Rothbard/Hoppe and have become cult members of Friedman's son David who has bamboozled them with pseudoscientific mathematical formalisms/equations ... He is the quintessential naïve empiricist econometrician.

    I bring this up as Austrians need to watch out for these type of people who at the surface are tolerant of Austrians but are a lot like elevator talking David Boaz in their dugouts. I have stopped going to their meetups.

    Robert, I hope you can take down Friedman's son one of these days and his entire approach of modeling for liberty - I feel they are a bigger threat to libertarians than even Democratic Socialists as the former can hurt the entire movement due to weak arguments on freedom.

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  9. This seems to be an example where academics in fields outside of physics, chemistry, biology, etc., want to be seen as "scientific", and so want to emulate the approaches of science (especially of physics), but they seem unaware that positivism in physics died about 100 years ago.

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  10. There is absolutely no archival evidence to support this. Please see David Mitch's work on the question.

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  11. Thinking about this more and reexamining Mitch's archival work (do contact him for the latest draft), there is in fact strong evidence that this is entirely incorrect.

    First of all, Stigler did not arrive at Chicago until 1958. This information is available on Wikipedia. How he could've blocked Hayek from getting an appointment in the economics department before 1950 is a complete mystery.

    Secondly, Friedman did not arrive at Chicago until 1946. According to Mitch's account, which relies on minutes from the Department of Economics' faculty meetings, Hayek was considered for a position in 1946 and ruled out of final contention before Friedman ever even arrived at Chicago. An interesting fact revealed is that Friedman was about the Department's 5th choice for the appointment, after both Stigler and Samuelson.

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  12. Friedman was a walking contradiction. He preached "Free to Choose" but wouldn't allow me to choose which money I want to exchange in. He rallied against bureaucracy but made it possible for the State to steal money from the wages I haven't earned yet every payday. He cried against the State making the poor dependent while he touted a negative income tax AKA Earned Income Tax Credit. He urged Fed Chairman Burns to inflate after he urged Nixon to drop us from gold. I don't understand how that little gremlin gets so much adoration.

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