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This review is from: Why Government Is the Problem (Essays in Public Policy) (Paperback)
The message is of course clear concise and right on point. However I mistakenly thought I was buying a larger novel ful of essays not a pamphlet of one essay. Be sure you understand this before plunking down your five dollars.
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Initial post: Dec 30, 2012 2:34:50 PM PST
Mark T. Bates says:
As usual, Friedman is more notable for assertion than argument. He pronounces conclusions, rather than ever seeks to do the hard and difficult work necessary to "prove" them. His work--and this brief essay no more nor less than his longer works--appeals to those readers ideologically predisposed to value the kinds of things he cherishes, but never anywhere in his oeuvre bothers to define with any great rigor: the "individual," "the market," "competition," "freedom," and so on. All terms--always--in Friedman's "arguments" resistant to pinning down (while at the same time his whole "pitch" relies on them, circular and tautological as they become in his constructions). This is--and has been--perfect for those conservatives who revere him, most of whom prefer the platitudinous to the intellectually rigorous. When it is claimed that this kind of thing is scholarly, we have a prime facie case of intellectual dishonest; but, rhetorically, this high-sounding nonsense is of course a very good strategy for political conservatives, whether in politics proper or in the business schools: Having to be clear opens one up to serious challenge. The alternative has been the kind of "mathematical" economics that is so abstruse that one must wonder whether those who engage in it--and secure reputations by it--have themselves any clear idea what it is they are trying to say, or prove. In fact, one does not need to wonder: they don't. Equations in economics--and we must be thankful, I suppose, Friedman spares us those--have their place; but they also have a tendency to blow up in our faces (as we have much cause to rue: to wit, all those engineering and physics "quants" on Wall Street who turned out not only to be venal but, ultimately, stupid).
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