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Paul Samuelson Is Very Much Not Dead

A couple months ago, I embarrassingly noted, in an offhand comment on my blog, that the great economist Paul Samuelson was dead. I based this conclusion off the fact that the work I was looking at was published in 1938, and fairly few people who were prominent in the 30s are still around today. But Paul Samuelson is one of them! (And he's not alone. Economists in general appear to be a pretty long-lived group.) Worse for my credibility, not only is he distinctly, stubbornly alive, but he's giving sharp, interesting interviews to The Atlantic's Conor Clark! This, for instance, is some pretty entertaining economist-on-economist action:

Milton Friedman. Friedman had a solid MV = PQ doctrine from which he deviated very little all his life. By the way, he's about as smart a guy as you'll meet. He's as persuasive as you hope not to meet. And to be candid, I should tell you that I stayed on good terms with Milton for more than 60 years. But I didn't do it by telling him exactly everything I thought about him. He was a libertarian to the point of nuttiness. People thought he was joking, but he was against licensing surgeons and so forth. And when I went quarterly to the Federal Reserve meetings, and he was there, we agreed only twice in the course of the business cycle.

Read the whole thing.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 18, 2009; 3:12 PM ET
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I'm rooting for Paul Samuelson to outlive Robert J. ("not Paul, not even an economist, but writes about economics anyway") Samuelson.

Posted by: rt42 | June 18, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

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