Great Lines from Bob Lucas
By David Henderson
The first book review I did for Fortune, in 1984, was of Arjo Klamer’s Conversations with Economists. In future posts, I’ll quote some of my favorite quotes from Bob Solow and from others. Here’s my favorite passage from the interview with Bob Lucas.
Klamer: But do you, more or less, agree with Friedman’s ideas in Free to Choose or Capitalism and Freedom?
Lucas: I like Capitalism and Freedom a lot. It’s really written for economists in a way that Free to Choose isn’t. Free to Choose gets careless about a lot of points that Capitalism and Freedom is very careful about. [Henderson’s thought: maybe, but there are some pretty careless passages in Capitalism and Freedom. Maybe I’ll post on that in the future.]
Klamer: Do you think there are ethical problems in a capitalistic system? Do you think there is something like social injustice?
Lucas: Well, sure. Governments involve social injustice.
Klamer: But doesn’t government try to resolve social injustice?
Lucas: That wouldn’t be anything like my view. I can’t think of the pharaohs as being in existence to resolve social injustice in Egypt. I think they perpetrated most of the injustice in Egypt.
[Klamer then quickly changes the subject.]