Dollars and Jens
Thursday, November 16, 2006
There were two or three twentieth century economists who towered over the rest, and one or two have been dead for over sixty years. Less than 24 hours ago we lost the other one.
When an important figure dies, significant accomplishments are listed in obituaries. When an epic figure dies, significant accomplishments are left out of the obituaries; Milton Friedman made notable contributions to econometrics fifty years ago, but spent the rest of his career overshadowing himself, to the point that most obituaries haven't even mentioned them, getting hung up on how he and his ideas made the world better for billions of people instead. Much of the very epistemology underlying sophisticated discussions of economic issues today was actually laid by him, things so fundamental that we forget the world could ever have been otherwise.
And he will be missed.