Friday Night Video: Munger, Skidelsky, Epstein, and Roberts
This is an almost 2-hour video of a forum held at Butler University in April. The participants are Mike Munger, Robert Skideslky, Richard Epstein and moderator Russ Roberts.
The transcript is here.
00:08:40: Mike Munger’s “beauty contest for pigs” analogy. It’s reminiscent of the late George Stigler’s line that many people who use market failure as an automatic justification for government intervention are like the judge in the beauty contest who, upon seeing only the first contestant, awards the prize to the second.
00:15:45: Munger’s funny story about inconsistent expectations between him and an older woman in Germany.
00:26:26: Skidelsky’s story about why Keynes liked Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom so much.
00:27:40: Keynes’s (first) big “but” about The Road to Serfdom: Hayek doesn’t give us much guidance about where to draw the line between the market and the state. This was quite good and it points to something I also found unsatisfying about Hayek. It was also reminiscent of Walter Block’s criticism of The Road to Serfdom.
BTW, I enjoyed Skidelsky’s presentation much more than I expected to.
1:05:43: Munger’s parable of the unicorn.
1:17:40: Skidelsky suggests that a possible cause of the decline in the money supply was a collapse in the demand for money. I don’t get it. Did he mean something else?
Overall, what I found interesting is how, in this debate, as in many others between articulate and informed economics debaters, so much of it comes down to how one interprets key historical events. In this case, one of the key ones was the Great Depression. For an article that pulls together a large part of the literature on the Great Depression in a short space and gives its own interpretation, see Gene Smiley, “Great Depression.”