An EconTalk Podcast Listening Guide

Larry White on the Clash of Economic Ideas

Listen to the EconTalk podcast Larry White on the Clash of Economic Ideas and consider these questions.

1. The conversation begins as Roberts notes that White’s book offers a revisionist take on two common claims. What are these two claims, and how does White refute them?

2. In discussing the Great Depression, Roberts notes an article by Paul Krugman criticizing Milton Friedman’s interpretation of the Depression. On what grounds was Krugman criticizing Friedman, and what is White’s interpretation of Friedman’s analysis?

3. White describes three heroic German economists in The Clash of Economic Ideas. Who are they, and why does he find them heroic?

4. Roberts opines that it is “hard not to see the role of economists through rent-seeking eyes.” What does he mean by this, and how does White respond?

5. Roberts asks White if Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom is a warning or a prediction. Describe White’s response.

6. Roberts and White discuss the famous letter Keynes wrote to Hayek responding to The Road to Serfdom. What did Keynes “miss” in Hayek’s book, and why does White suggest he missed it?

7. White and Roberts discuss the changing Indian economy, and Roberts asks whether “it wasn’t so much that India’s economists got free market, but that India got more free market and the economists came along.” What does he mean by this? How does White respond, and what does he suggest about the role of ideas generally?

8. The episode ends with a discussion of current U.S. monetary policy. What sort of reform does White suggest for the Federal Reserve system?