Wednesday, January 1, 2014

How Walter Block Met Murray Rothbard

From the Hayek List Email Series, I discussed earlier. At one point, Walter Block wrote to the list:
Two quick relevant stories about my experience as a phd student at Columbia U in the 1960s.

Hayek, in the intro to Road to Serfdom, says something to the effect that he hated to take time out from his technical economic research to write this political screed, but he feels he must. I asked a very famous Columbia economist, Should I be reading Hayek's technical works? He grimaced, and said, "Certainly not." Were it not for the fortuitous occurence that Larry Moss was a classmate of mine at Columbia, and sensed in me from the questions I asked in class that I might benefit from meeting Murray Rothbard, I might never has strayed from the neoclassical reservation.

One more. I once got into a slight disagreement with another very, very famous Columbia economist, who later was awarded the Nobel prize. I said to him after class, we ought to repeal the minimum wage law. He replied, "No, no, let's just keep it where it is, and allow inflation to reduce the real value of it." My reply, we gotta get rid of it, and inprison the people responsible for passing it in the first place." He looked at me with real dismay, as if I had taken total leave of my senses. (You can see why Larry thought I was ready to meet Murray).

Those guys are DIFFERENT from us.

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