Thursday, September 13, 2018

George H. Blackford — Economists Should Stop Defending Milton Friedman’s Pseudo-science

Recommended reading on the history and philosophy of science, the philosophy of economics, and Milton Friedman's instrumentalism.

Economists Should Stop Defending Milton Friedman’s Pseudo-science
George H. Blackford | former Chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Michigan-Flint


Ed Zimmer said...

This is an article I wish every economist would read, understand and take to heart.

Konrad said...

In 1973 the CIA overthrew Chile’s democratically elected president Salvador Allende, and installed Augusto Pinochet, who murdered tens of thousands, and tortured and imprisoned many more during his 16-year dictatorship.

An excited Milton Friedman went to Chile, praised Pinochet for his atrocities, and advised Pinochet on how to make Chile’s economy 100% neoliberal under Pinochet’s heel.

Friedman gave speeches in many nations, always advocating for neoliberal “reforms.” This earned him the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1976.

(Paul Krugman’s neoliberalism earned him a Nobel Prize in 2008. Since almost all U.S. economists are neoliberals, they have the world’s highest number of Nobel Prizes in Economics. And since the University of Chicago has long championed neoliberalism, it has the highest number of affiliated Nobel Prizes in Economics. No one from Cuba has ever received a prize, since Cuba opposes neoliberalism.)

Friedman’s economics are not “pseudo-science.”

They are sewage.

John said...

Konrad, don't forget Hayek. Hitler's fellow countryman went gaga over Pinochet's fascism, seeing no doubt the rise of a new fuhrer to salivate over. You have to wonder how many rightwing "libertarians" are frauds and apologists for fascism like Hayek? I have this sneaking suspicion that inside many "libertarians" is a fascist dying to get out. Why else would libertarians write and talk about legal slavery and anti-discrimination laws being authoritarian?

Milton Friedman's most famous book "A Monetary History of the United States", almost universally hailed as a masterpiece, was debunked by two leading econometricians. When an economics book is universally hailed as a masterpiece, you can be sure that it's textual Rohypnol. Not that anyone seems to care, but the two econometricians essentially said that the book was little more than a fraud and that the statistics used were figments of the authors imaginations.

Bob Roddis said...

Rothbard destroys Friedman:

Bob Roddis said...

But those on the right are also foolish to defend Pinochet with such vehemence and knee-jerk loyalty such as he has received in the years since the coup. One ultra-conservative magazine ridiculously ran an article in 1999 on Pinochet under the heading "20th Century Heroes," and mere mention of the topic in undergraduate classrooms sends mini-cons into fits expounding the many virtues of Pinochet and his regime.

This is nonsense. Upon his exit as executive, Pinochet’s regime wrote legal privileges for military personnel into the Chilean constitutions that the American Founding Fathers would have found tyrannical at best. Today, Chilean presidents still lack the power to fire key military personnel. To imagine an American equivalent, picture a permanent Donald Rumsfeld.

But in reality, like all his fellow socialist dreamers Allende was the enemy of order, rationality, liberty, and prosperity. Had Allende’s agenda come to pass, Chile would have joined the list of all the other socialist successes like Russia, Cambodia, and Cuba.

Mass slaughter and grinding poverty would have been the long term legacy of Allende.

Matt Franko said...

“This is an article I wish every economist would read, understand”

They can’t do this they’re not trained in science methodology.... neither is this guy he is an Economist himself...

This guy is oblivious to bank regulatory processes... he assumes it’s a “free market!” when in fact it’s regulated.... and you need training in Accounting Science to understand this regulatory process which none of them have either...

All of this analogies to Newtonian physics is reification leading to hypostatization.... ie fallacious...

They all have under developed cognitive ability to abstract... never trained....

John said...

Bob: "Mass slaughter and grinding poverty would have been the long term legacy of Allende."

And the reason for that is what exactly? Er, none. It's the type of mendacious assertion made by supporters of Pinochet while pretending to be hostile to his regime. Allende was not a Marxist, nor was the party and the coalition he led. He was little more than a New Deal Democrat. That was his crime. When the U.S. bails out its economy, dishes out gigantic subsidies and runs a gargantuan policy of state socialism for the rich, libertarians tut-tut, but don't make excuses for other states to terrorise and torture the populace so as to overthrow this vastly more socialistic economic regime.

Allende wanted no more than to replicate the same state socialism that Washington has instituted for the narrow economic interests it keeps in luxury and floating on a sea of cash but instead for the overwhelmingly poor majority. The writer of the execrable piece at makes the same lame excuses and lies for Washington's terrorism that Friedman and Hayek made: Allende was a demagogue, a liar, had little regard for the rule of law (all of which while untrue could be levelled with justification against all U.S. presidents), and that it is ludicrous to elevate democracy as an end in itself. Moreover, the "on the other hand" writer who can't help but praise Pinochet's economic policies, opening up the country to "foreign investment" and farcically "restored a legal system founded on the protection of persons and property". Protection via state assassination and torture. Freedom through death is the rallying cry of all maniacs.

The writer could have simply written, as some of the more honest and principled libertarians have and still do, that it was Chile's affair, nothing can excuse Pinochet and his mendacious achievements, and what Washington did was one of the worst terrorist acts in modern history, and all those involved should serve life sentences in a Chilean prison or, if the Chileans so decide, executed in Santiago. With respect to Kissinger, there is still time for him to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Or Chile could just send a drone. If hundreds of people die, it can be written off as collateral damage, or a good thing because who else other than a "militant" and a "terrorist" would choose to be in his vicinity. Or are other countries not allowed to use the same ludicrous excuses that Washington spits out?

Tom Hickey said...

are other countries not allowed to use the same ludicrous excuses that Washington spits out?

Of course other countries are not allowed the same behavior and rationale as the US since the US is a special case because American exceptionalism. This justifies American playing god and creating empire that benefits the oligarchy, you see.