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Although Friedman's letter is almost entirely limited to economic advice, there is this one paragraph which might be interpreted as support for Pinochet's social policy insofar as it thwarted the trend toward socialism.

"This problem is not of recent origin. It arises from trends toward socialism that started forty years ago, and reached their logical--and terrible--climax in the Allende regime. You have been extremely wise in adopting the many measures you have already taken to reverse this trend."

The relevant question, I guess, is "what are the measures to which Friedman is referring?"

The relevant question, I guess, is "what are the measures to which Friedman is referring?"

I would guess he is referring to the Chicago Boys.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Boys

Rodrik was very hard on himself on his blog in warning that the advice he gave to Qaddafi's son could make him somehow give him "dirty hands".

http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/rodrik55/English

I totally disagreed with this view he took. I couldn't help but think of Friedman with Pinochet as I read it...as well as wonder if knowing the cheap jabs that Friedman took somehow motivated him to write what he wrote.

Did you mean Guantanamo when you said Gitanomo?

I don't understand the Friedman bashing on Chile either. Here is an interesting interview with Friedman that addresses the issue:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/commandingheights/shared/minitextlo/int_miltonfriedman.html

Friedman points out that the he had similar visits to Yugoslavia and China, but no one howled about them, only the Chile visit. He also points out that while there he gave an anti-authoritarian speech! Keynes was a eugenicist, Wittgenstein worshipped the Soviet Union for a period, and, of course, Heidegger was a Nazi. But Friedman gets hell for telling the Chilean dictator that inflation is bad and free enterprise good. It really doesn't make a lot of sense.

Reminds me of how Western entertainers who went to the USSR during the 1980s were admired while Queen was reviled for going to South Africa.

It is always better to be fashionable than thoughtful.

I liked Friedman's reply to his critics in his autobiography. He wrote that he didn't understand why the left didn't criticize him for going to China. I don't know if he advised the Chinese gov't, but if they had asked, I'm sure there would have been some overlap of the advice he gave Pinochet! The hypocrisy of the left is breathtaking sometimes.

I think we should hold Friedman morally responsible for holding private meetings with the Premier of communist China.

Klein has been posting disgusting lies about Hayek on Twitter, pretending as if Hayek advised Thatcher imitate the same sort of mass murders, internments and other repressive measures as Pinochet, and other such fraudulent slanders and misrepresentations.

She's a reprehensible and irresponsible human specimen.

Engage at your own risk.

As Andrew Klavan points out, "gotcha" always works in one direction, and its always leftists using it to shut up their rivals.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zn06gL8UQqc

When is racism, abuse of the handicap, infidelity, etc. not a "gotcha"? When the gotcha touches a lefty.

This is a phenomena widely noted by everyone. Welcome to the party if you've just noticed it for the first time.

I am in complete agreement that there is hypocrisy on the left when it comes to murderous regimes, but c'mon. Pete, if you were advising the federal government on (say) how to privatize its assets, and you wrote a letter to Obama saying, "We appreciate the hospitality your staff showed us. I know you were in a tough spot when you took over, dealing with the weak economy and the global war on terror, but I think you have handled yourself very wisely thus far," then yeah I would raise an eyebrow.

Bob,

This is what I want to discuss. First, don't you think in the context Friedman is referring to the _economic policies_ to fight back against the socialist direction the country was going in. Second, could you imagine yourself saying to a President Ron Paul that I know you inherited a tough situation but your move to get the Fed under control has been wise so far?

I honestly don't know what the right answer is.

What was reported in the Chicago Tribune in the period 1973-1975 about what was going on in Chile?

Does anyone know?

Pete,

See http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2007/apr/12/milton-friedman-in-china/

This letter says that in his meetings with the Chinese leaders when he first visited China in 1980, Friedman strongly emphasised the importance of unfettered markets, pointing to China’s neighbour, Hong Kong, as a model to be followed by mainland China.

Was advising the leaders of a totalitarian dictatorship to become a capitalist country a guilty act? China was a totalitarian dictatorship in 1980. It is now a tin-pot one.

Friedman has a long history of advising socialist governments – see http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/Notes/friedman.htm for A Memorandum to the Government of India 1955

Hayek was equally guilty of advising socialists – he dedicated the road to serfdom to the socialists in all parties.

I was following the discussion on the History of Economics discussion list, discussion that took a pretty nasty turn. But, to come back to the question at hand, I do think Steven Horwitz raised a good point during the discussion: you can advocate for a set of economic policies while ignoring or opposing another set of political policies. Friedman was supporting the economic policies adopted by Pinochet but didn't express any opinion and most likely the other policies that PInochet used by oppressing politically his opponents. Unfortunately, I don't think that's what people care about. I honestly think people believe that political freedom is more important than economic freedom. The people on the discussion list clearly seemed not to care about the socialist economic policies adopted by Allende. The fact that Allende was elected democratically and promoted political freedom is more important in the eyes of most critics of Friedman than promoting economic freedom.
In short, it doesn't matter whether Friedman didn't address or opposed PInochet regime from a political viewpoint ,the simple fact that he supported his economic policies is enough to make him morally wrong. What matters in the eyes of Friedman's critics is political freedom.

How would Friedman work towards freedom when surrounding by evil men in power?

Robert Caro’s great biography of LBJ gives an example of a seeding strategy.

As senate majority leader, Johnson was lobbying southern democrats to not filibuster the 1957 civil rights bill. This bill was a small step that started voting rights reform.

The southern senators were racists all, but in their hearts, dark as they were, they had to admit albeit it with gritted teeth, that everyone has the right to vote. Johnson spotted this opening.

Johnson knew that as soon as Black Americans in the southern states could vote, all their other rights and equality before the law would soon be respected. Ambitious politicians will soon court their votes individually and as a bloc. LBJ was an intuitive constitutional economist.

Friedman knew that a move towards capitalism also would seed more political freedom. What is your alternative that is better?

As has been mentioned, there are several reasons to believe that Friedman was only referring to the economic measures Pinochet had taken. First, the rest of the letter is primarily concerned with economic measures (aside from the Rose-and-I-had-a-good-time pleasantries). Second, Friedman allegedly spoke out against authoritarianism on that visit. Third, Friedman--in other writings--generally decried authoritarian regimes.

However, there is at least one reason to believe that Friedman was speaking more broadly: he was a consequentialist. Perhaps he believed that the benefits (in terms of human flourishing) from economic freedom for decades would outweigh the upfront costs (in terms of human lives). It is at least conceivable. Compare this interpretation with his view on colonialism in Africa (that it was, on net, good for Africans).

In other words, it is not an open and shut case. And those of us who believe he was only referring to the economic measures need to do a better job of articulating and evidencing this position. (I'm afraid calling Klein "a reprehensible and irresponsible human specimen" isn't going to cut it.)

I've tweeted before that irony is someone in a Che Guevara t-shirt denouncing Milton Friedman for the crimes of Augusto Pinochet. I thought the HET discussion was pretty interesting (and frustrating, as I just joined the list). Bob Lawson and I have a paper on part of the Klein thesis, and I wrote a review essay on The Shock Doctrine in 2009. Arnold Harberger sent me this note after I sent him a copy of my paper with Bob.

Responsibility is a curious thing. As I understand it, Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz have dined with Barack Obama. Are they responsible for his foreign policy? Suppose they wrote a joint letter that read

"This problem is not of recent origin. It arises from trends toward crony capitalism that started forty years ago, and reached their logical--and terrible--climax in the Bush regime. You have been extremely wise in adopting the many measures you have already taken to reverse this trend."

Would it be most reasonable to read this as a statement on Obama's economic policies or as a statement on Guantanamo? Is Greg Mankiw responsible for the Bush administration's excesses in the War on Terror? Further, when people claim that "war is good for the economy," do we think they are speaking in favor of things like the mistreatment of POWs or the use of torture? Or do we make the more reasonable assumption that they are talking about the macroeconomic consequences of an increase in government spending?

It isn't clear where you draw the line between "acceptable" and "unacceptable" advice to politicians. I had lunch recently with the county trustee, who contacted me because he is interested in Austrian economics. He is in charge of collecting property taxes, and he might be the only tax collector in the world who has read Menger's Principles of Economics as well as Mises, Rothbard, and Hayek (independently, I might add). Am I now blameworthy because we broke bread and because I gave him reading suggestions rather than a stern lecture on how taxation is theft? Should I have refused to meet with him because he is a government official, and a tax collector at that? Or should I see it as I did--an opportunity to make a difference at the margin and maybe-just maybe-improve the quality of economic policy in Shelby County? I realize that property taxes collected by the County Trustee aren't disappearances and executions overseen by a military dictator, but I'm also not Milton Friedman.

I think if a dictatorial government invites you to advise them about what to do about the economy, you have a moral obligation to advise them -- especially if they demonstrate, after that first meeting, that they are in fact taking your advice seriously. To whatever extent you can introduce liberty into a dictatorship, you should. I am responsible only for the outcome of the specific advice I give to a particular person. I am not responsible for any of their actions outside of that advice. Along those line, I think we need to hold more people responsible for the outcomes of their bad advice. "That's not what I intended" doesn't cut it. Especially once we know that x leads to y, and you advise x anyway.

Men must act to improve things on the margin. If you can improve the economy of a country cooperating with a dictator, and this improvement does not make things worse for what concerns liberty in general, it's a net marginal improvement.

The world is full with dictators, only one as far as I know has not destroyed the economy. This is a great marginal improvement. The cost was nil, unless one says that Pinochet wouldn't have existed without advice on good economic policies.

I consider morally doubtful to cooperate with governments: I consider it immoral to exploit force to feed parasites, either autocratic or democratic. But if a friend of mine goes into politics to improve things, I don't say "well, you are legitimizing oppression", but "try to improve things if you can".

My favorite example is Oskar Schlinder: a moralist could say that Schlinder cooperated with Nazi Germany to exploit Jew slaves in his corporation. In reality, it improved the lives of people who could have been killed otherwise.

Springtime for Hitler

I'm siding with Pete on this...

I may not agree with all of Friedman's economics (or his politics), but I'd venture that he was clearly attempting to woo Pinochet - in as subtle fashion as he could - into fully adopting the said market reforms. It takes the most uncharitable reading to jump from providing economic advice to endorsing mass killings.

Of course, whether appeasement (even if only implied) is the correct path to take is another issue... But I don't think that any honest person can call this an endorsement of despotic murder.

This article is very interesting for me, and very helpfull

My understanding is that much that Allende had done in Argentina didn't become widely known until years later -- it took investigations for what happened to become known.

The same is true of what happened in China and what happened in the Soviet Union. It took decades for _part_ of the truth to come out.

And we can't ever know all of what happened.

Does anyone here know the history of the news reporting on Chile 1973-1985 -- I mean someone honest and reliable who isn't utterly corrupted by their twisted leftist emotions and politics.

Alexandre: “I honestly think people believe that political freedom is more important than economic freedom.”

Exactly! The goal of the left is to tarnish free market economics by any means possible and they employ the entire armory of the sophists. There is nothing new in that. Socialists have used the tools of sophistry from their beginning.

Any person who used sophistry to win arguments doesn’t care about the truth, but why not? Because they don’t think truth exists, parroting their master, Marx. There is no truth, only ideology. Defeating enemy ideologies by any means necessary is the only goal.

Advisors are responsible to the advisee, but not for the consequences of the advisee's decisions. If advisors were responsible, then they would actually be directors -- not advisors at all. Sometimes we make this explicit by saying things like, "take it or leave it; it is just my advice; I am not responsible for your decision."

As a rule of thumb, give advice that you think will do the least harm. Friedman would have achieved nothing for the people of Chile by antagonising Pinochet.

Expressing moral outrage in that letter might have satisfied his colleagues on the left, but it would have done nothing for the people of Chile.

Progressives have troube wrapping their heads around this kind of mindset. Friedman missed a great opportunity for self-aggrandizement; it was an opportunity to "make a statement." Friedman could have signalled his own moral superiority and wisdom to the entire world, but he didn't. He instead offered mundane advice about debt and inflation. No progressive would pass up this kind of chance to score status points with their peers.

The issue of how, when and what to advise to an authoritarian or dictatorial government is probably a delicate, case-by-case matter.

But what is not unclear is "the left's" motive for tarnishing either Friedrich Hayek or Milton Friedman for their "advice" on economic policy to the Chilean or another non-left-wing (dictatorial) government during the 1970s and 1980s.

Their agenda is, precisely, to "demonstrate" that any advocates of the free market -- "capitalism" -- are really the ideological "dupes" or the "paid apologists" for an "exploiting class," the most aggressive form of which is the "fascist" stage of brutal political governing.

It is the same propaganda game that the political "left" (and the old Soviet Union) has been playing since the 1920s and 1930s, during which it was first argued that "fascism" is the "final stage" of the attempt of the capitalist class to retain its power when they can no longer
"rule" under the illusion of democracy ("false bourgeois freedoms").

It is their only way to "show" that intellectuals on "the right" are really "enemies of the people" who cannot and should be given no public legitimacy.

(Just think of the recent attacks on the Koch Brothers by columnists on the "left" that they are spending their money to "buy" the minds and words of intellectuals to rationalize and defend their wealth and property among the public. It is all part of the same agenda.)

And by attacking "motives" or "hidden agendas," they free themselves from having to deal with the ideas of classical liberals and free market advocates, in general, at the level of reason, logic, and historical evidence.

Richard Ebeling

Related point- I had an exchange recently with someone who told me that Hayek "worshiped" Pinochet and gave Hayek's "El Mercurio" interviews and one of Ebenstein's books for evidence. I don't know what El Mercurio is and I'm under the impression that Ebenstien's "scholarship" is often apocryphal, but does anyone know what this is all about?

I think it's important to add that while the focus of the discussion was on Friedman's advising of Pinochet, it was not really the main topic. The actual topic was really on economists from top school advising foreign government that might not as democratic as the US. I remember that at some point, one list member talked about Andrei Shleifer and his involvement with fthe Russian government and how corrupt the Harvard economics department is. The author pointed to one blog post (http://www.newappsblog.com/2011/03/how-corrupt-is-the-harvard-economics-department-anyway-and-why-are-we-philosophers-so-quiet.html).
The point the author made is somewhat related to Pete's question as to whether the economics profession needs a deontology code like the medical and lawyer professions have.
In graduate school, I had a course in Economics & Ethics and part of it was dedicated to deontology. Jacques Garello and Jean-Yves Naudet were coteaching that course. Jean-Yves Naudet is also the director of the Research Center of Ethics & Economics.

It's bullshit spread by Klein & other hard left hacks.

Read Harry Frankfurt "On Bullshit" for what we are up against.

Ryan writes,

"I had an exchange recently with someone who told me that Hayek "worshiped" Pinochet and gave Hayek's "El Mercurio" interviews and one of Ebenstein's books for evidence. I don't know what El Mercurio is and I'm under the impression that Ebenstien's "scholarship" is often apocryphal, but does anyone know what this is all about?"

Are you off your meds?

http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2011/05/bizarre-equivalence-watch-of-the-day.html#more

Appearing to imply moral equivalence (immoral eqivalence) between Clinton's cigar insertion into intern cavities (presumably, but open to challenge, willing intern) and insertion of nastier (baby rodents, electrodes, take your pic) stuff into same of Pinochet regime female political prisoners (not that I accept that Milton ever said 'way to go dude'!) is grotesque.

Thank god for the sanity of Dr Horwitz on this site as against the insanity of Dr Boettke of his "meds" and the 'I love Bush' (eg - rancid Ransom 'Horwitz has I love Hitler/Stalin colleagues' commentators above.

You're WAY off, "Hayekian," starting with the fact that Pete in no way equated Clinton and Pinochet. Not remotely.

Your pet troll is smearing me with falsehoods again, guys.

And others as well.

What's up with allowing this?

"Clinton's personal policy with respect to female interns"

Please tell me what this might mean? Why is it relevant?

Seriously Doubt Your Hayekian,

Are you sure you don't need to be on meds? Your last sentence doesn't even make sense. Where has anybody on this blog stated they love Bush? Dr. Boettke was only asking if economists should be held responsible for the action of leaders they advise. There was no attempt at trying to draw moral equivalence between Pinochet's action and Clinton's.

"Your pet troll is smearing me with falsehoods again, guys."

I think you mean I'm smearing you with what you think.

Incidentally, I paid for The Times Hayek letter. I could have saved my $$. Grandin accurately cuts and pastes.
Dr Horwitz is the only one of you folk who merits any respect as far as I am concered (FWIW likely = 0).

"Posted by: nicholas glenn | May 13, 2011 at 07:14 PM"

You were the first American in space right? Gagarin beat you man!

"Where has anybody on this blog stated they love Bush? Dr. Boettke was only asking if economists should be held responsible for the action of leaders they advise."

Well, maybe they could openly say I don't dirty my hands with dirty murdering bastards such as you (insert who you like at this point) and denouce you to any who will listen. Rothbard would be rolling in his grave over this (I hope!).

"Dr Horwitz is the only one of you folk who merits any respect as far as I am concered (FWIW likely = 0)."

Just to clarify, FWIW my opinion likely = 0.

Horwitz is good guy; I love his books; and much kudos to him on all and any margins for not being a right-wing kook (and nor is he the stupidest man alive; the many contestants for that award are down in Auburn and fellow-travellin' environs).

Well Mr. Hayekian, you were doing fine until this thread.

Consider this now a content-related warning. Either take the personal stuff elsewhere or next time you will be banned.

Every body acknowledges that men's life is very expensive, nevertheless people require money for different stuff and not every one gets enough cash. Therefore to receive quick loan or college loan would be a correct solution.

Sincere apologies to Prof Horwitz for any rudeness (intended or otherwise). I shall post one more thing and then keep out of this thread. I would like someone to explain the cigar remark to me if possible. Friedman should not have gone to Chile, China, etc, but stayed home in Chicago at his desk. I assume Austrians here would agree that there is a big difference between advising the govt of Sweden or Norway and advising Pinochet or Hitler or Mao or Stalin or Saddam.

Hayek's letter in defense of Pinochet (copied from Grandin's site but compared with the original and any differences noted in capitals[stuff Grandin missed]). Grandin gets the date wrong. The letter was actually published on 3 August 1978.

Sir,

Though I can scarcely expect you to find space in your columns for the instruction Mr William Wallace evidently needs, I shall appreciate it if you can do so for a brief reply.

I have certainly never contended that generally authoritarian governments are more likely to secure individual liberty than democratic ones, but rather the contrary. This does not mean, however, that in some historical circumstances personal liberty may not have been better protected under an authoritarian than UNDER A democratic government. This has occasionally been true since the beginning of democracy in ancient Athens, where the liberty of the subjects was undoubtedly safer under the ’30 tyrants’ than under the democracy which killed Socrates and sent dozens of its best men into exile by arbitrary decrees.

In modern times there have of course been many instances of authoritarian governments under which personal liberty was safer than under MANY democracies. I have never heard anything to the contrary of the early years of Dr Salazar’s early government in Portugal and I doubt whether there is today in any democracy in Eastern Europe or on the continents of Africa, South America or Asia (with the exception of Israel, Singapore and Hongkong), personal liberty as well secured as it was then in Portugal.

More recently I have not been able to find a single person even in much maligned Chile who did not agree that personal freedom was much greater under Pinochet than it had been under Allende. Nor have I heard any sensible person claim that in the principalities of Monaco or Lichtenstein, which I am told are not precisely democratic, personal liberty is smaller than anywhere else!

That a limited democracy is probably the best possible known form of government does not mean that we can have it everywhere, or even that it is itself a supreme value rather than the best means to secure peace, a defensor pacis or instrument of peaceful change of government. Indeed our doctrinaire democrats clearly ought to take more seriously the question when democracy is possible.

Perhaps they can be induced to reflect on this by pointing to the truism that, except in the direct democracy based on an assembly of all citizens, a democracy can never create itself but must always be the product of the authoritarian decision of a few – and be this only the decisions about the questions to be asked and the procedure to be followed in a plebiscite. After all, some democracies have been made possible only by the military power of some generals. And my old doubts whether a democracy can be maintained in a country which has not by different institutions been taught the tradition of the rule of law has certainly been only confirmed by recent history.

Yours faithfully,
F.A Hayek
Urachstrasse 27
D7800 Freiburg (Breisgua),
West Germany
July 26.

PH, what makes you exactly a BULLSHITTER in philosopher Harry Frankfurt's sense, is that you don't care communicate understanding, you don't care to get at the truth underlying things, you have no regard for such things at all.

It's a deep part of a deep strand in the left (and I don't care if Steve Horwitz isn't aware of this, hasn't studied it or that none of this strand of the left exists at his small college, or that he'd rather pretend this isn't a significant issue regarding the great intellectual tradition of the left.)

It's obvious what Hayek is talking about, and it's obvious that he's pointing to something true and significant.

If Hayek is ignorant of particular facts about particular places, that was par for the course for this old man who rather isolated in his ivory tower -- and folks who knew him report.

"It's obvious what Hayek is talking about, and it's obvious that he's pointing to something true and significant."

Please enlighten me. It is far from obvious to me.

The left are just classical liberals who have yet to read much economics.

Bullshitter's aren't interest in "enlightenment" or any other cognitive value connected with the truth.

That's my point.

Those inerested in this important topic need to read Harru Frankurt _On Bullshit_ and the philosophical literature on the topic.

Bullshit.

"The left are just classical liberals who have yet to read much economics."

Harry Frankfurt's important essay on the role of bullshit and bullshitters in the modern intellectual environment is here:

http://www.gwinnettdailyonline.com/articleB5BD6D4417AF444DBD8F9770AA729B26.asp

The essay makes important points that apply to much of what we experience in the realm of contested ideas and contested interests.

Not even a witty troll. How disappointing.

Peter Boettke asks a very interesting question, and like Alexandre Padilla I would be curious to hear Jean-Yves Naudet's insight on these matters.

However, reading this discussion and the previous threads, I think it's a shame that Austrian economics attracts so many people that are only interested in the People magazine stuff, the "who said what about who", the disputes and the crunchy anecdotes...

Anyone ever seen any moral outrage from Grandin, Klein, DeLong or any other lefty over Joan Robinson's many trips to and endorsements of the killer regimes of North Korea or Maoist China?

http://drmatthewashton.com/2011/03/22/political-predictions-they-got-wrong-no13-joan-robinson-praises-communism/

I've never seen any use Joan Robinson's declaration that Kim Il Sung was ‘a messiah rather than a dictator’ as a genetic fallacy argument against Robinson's work on such things as Marshallian / static equilibrium "monopoly competition" theory.

I've never seen anyone use Joan Robinson's declaration that Kim Il Sung was ‘a messiah rather than a dictator’ as a genetic fallacy argument against Robinson's work on such things as Marshallian / static equilibrium "monopoly competition" theory.

Greg,

It is unfortunate that there is this terribly politicized debate going on over the roles Friedman and Hayek played in Chile. However, while they have been criticized by many, I am unaware of anybody, Brad DeLong included, who has declared that Friedman's (or Hayek's) economic ideas are wrong because of whatever he did or did not do in connection with Pinochet. Indeed, DeLong in particular has recently been praising Friedman's ideas about economics, arguing that RBC and DSGE modelers are ignoring the economic wisdom of Milton Friedman.

Many people have criticized Joan Robinson's remarks about North Korea and Maoist China, including people who respect her economic ideas, as given by the guy you linked to. She pretty clearly went off some sort of deep end there for awhile, although apparently backing off later with regard to China. It is highly likely that these views of hers played a role in the fact that she never received the Nobel.

However, I am going to insert one correction here. She made ridiculous predictions, and she clearly seriously ignored massive repression and lack of freedom and so on, but with regard to the relative economic positions of North and South Korea in 1964, she was completely correct. North Korea engaged in a massive wave of industrial growth after the end of the Korean War, a wave that began to slow down basically about the time she showed up, becoming very serious and turning into severe stagnation in the 1970s, eventually leading to famine and other disasters later.

OTOH, during the 1950s, South Korea was ruled by the highly corrupt Syngman Rhee, and South Korea experienced very little growth. It fell seriously behind North Korea. Rhee was overthrown in 1960 by the military dictator, Park Chung Hee, who instituted a vigorous plan of fairly forcible indicative planning run through the state-owned banks that directed the investment activities of the chaebols. This led to an acceleration of South Korean growth that would move it ahead of North Korea as of the 1970s, leaving it far in the dust after that.

However, as of 1964, that new growth in South Korea had just gotten going, and the growth in the North was just beginning to slow down. That may well have been the year, or close to it, when the North was the farthest ahead of the South, falling behind very definitely by the early 1970s.

So when Joan Robinson was there and reported on the contrast between the North and the South, finding the North in much better economic shape, she was accurately reporting, even if she did not catch that the relative trends of the previous decade were completely changing. Her predictive powers and political judgments may have been awful, but her ability to observe economic conditions was not clearly off.

Get your facts straight, Greg, before you go shooting off like this again, please.

Greg,

Thanks for the Robinson link.

Joan Robinson gazed on China and North Korea with “starry eyes”, as Geoffrey Harcourt put it, as well as making some utterly devastating criticisms of Marxian economics at earlier points in her long career.

Robinson became more left wing as she aged, and in Economic Management in China (1975), she praised the Cultural Revolution! Her colleagues were quite embarrassed.

Orwell's Proposed Preface to ‘Animal Farm’ is a wonderful dissection of renegade liberal that glorified communist experiments.

Tullock is an interesting writer on South Korea saying that:

• Syngman Rhee was a socialist who knew nothing of capitalism.
• To make his country look capitalist to the Americans, Rhee gave many previously Japanese owned industries to his friends.
• When General Park overthrew Syngman Rhee, he knew no economics, but he knew the bureaucracy was filled with Rhee’s cronies so he fired them all.

Tullock considers that South Korea became an open economy as a by-product of political purge.

Jim Rose,

There is much truth to Tullock's observations on Korea, and it is worth keeping in mind that Tullock served as a diplomat in China for a period of time.

BTW, regarding Joan Robinson and the Nobel, there is an old story that may be worth mentioning at this point. Around 1980 I was told by a student of Milton Friedman who knew Assar Lindbeck, the dominant figure for many years on the Nobel Committee, that there were two people who would only get a Nobel over Lindbeck's "dead body." One was Joan Robinson; the other was James Buchanan.

Needless to say, Robinson died in 1983 without ever receiving it, whereas Buchanan got it in 1985,, with Lindbeck still very much the dominant figure on that committee. I have never heard an account of what got Lindbeck to go along on that without kicking the bucket, although I have heard that the big debate on the committee was whether to give to Richard Musgrave as well or not, with in the end Buchanan getting it by himself.

In my opinion yes

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