Ugens mest afdøde venstreorienterede økonom skrev i 1984 følgende om Sovjetunionens daværende økonomiske styrke:
“That the Soviet economy has made great material progress in recent years is evident both from the statistics … and from the general urban scene … One sees it in the appearance of solid well-being of the people on the streets, the close-to-murderous traffic, the incredible exfoliation of apartment houses, and the general aspect of restaurants, theaters, and shops … Partly, the Russian system succeeds, because, in contrast with the Western industrial economies, it makes full use of its manpower.”
Den canadisk-amerikanske økonom John Kenneth Galbraith oplevede i weekenden, hvad hans store idol, John Maynard Keynes, i sin tid associerede med “the long run”. Galbraith blev 93 97 år. En hurtig nekrolog fra Reuters er her, og New York Times‘ hyldest er her, mens jeg vil overlade det til økonomerne her på stedet at foretage en evaluering af manden og hans arbejder.
“Mr Galbraith has been famously (and correctly) described as the “foremost economist for non-economists”, a man whose writings saw great popular success, but who had much less stature within the profession.
That was partly because Mr Galbraith never played by the rules. He eschewed the mathematical rigour that came to define modern economics and his self-consciously activist political agenda was disconcerting to academics who prided themselves on the scientific nature of the subject. But it was also because many of Mr Galbraith’s ideas turned out to be wrong.”
Det lyder ganske meget som Lord Skidelsky … Pete Boettke skriver blandt meget andet, som nærværende Punditokrat i den grad kan tilslutte sig (og som en del af denne blogs åndsfæller måske skulle skrive sig bag øret):
“On a personal note, I met Galbraith and shared dinner with him one night in the early 1990s. I was prepared to hate the evening only to be completely charmed by the man and his stories of JFK and India, of battles with Milton Friedman and William F. Buckley, or a profession which has succumbed to too much formalism, disrespect for history, and an inability to address the institutional contingencies of our age. It was an amazing evening and it was one of the important moments which taught me that you cannot divide the world neatly into those who are stupid, those who are evil, and those who agree with me. Instead the world is full of charming, brilliant, and good hearted individuals who just happen to hold opinions opposite of the ones I do. Understanding results from delving into those reasons for differing opinions without succumbing to the cheap tricks of attributing disagreement to bad motives and to lack of intelligence among opponents.”.