Thursday, November 16, 2006

Friedman

Milton Friedman, my favorite economist and longtime hero, has passed away.

I was an apathetic teenager. I did my work for high school, but I dreaded going to college. I remember speaking with a friend at the time who told me that I had a serious problem: I hadn't found anything to be passionate about. I considered going to a few Christian schools, as I am religious enough to be interested in that by default. But I wasn't excited. I was only considering college because I knew I was smart, and it would have been a waste if I didn't go.

My dad gave me a couple books to read around my junior and senior years. One was Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics. It's an excellent read that exposes numerous rhetorical flaws. The other was Friedman's Free To Choose. Where Sowell was clever, Friedman was downright subversive. The best thinkers always relate their work to presuppositionalism, even if they don't realize it. Friedman undermined presuppositions. For instance, watch this interview. Within the first few minutes, Friedman shows his remarkable ability to turn an opponent's argument on its head and choose his own starting point.

I don't really have the words to express how much the man has influenced me. My understanding of the world, even of my own life, is to a large degree a product of reading Milton Friedman in high school. He was a voice of remarkable clarity. We can only hope that other voices will be as clear this generation. We're going to need it. Read more.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Economist Pixel Art

For an IT class I'm taking, I had to make a web page. Since the site is about economics, I've made pixel art of some of my favorite economists to decorate it.

F.A. Hayek:


Frank Knight:


Gordon Tullock:


James Buchanan:


And, of course, Milton Friedman:


Buchanan and Knight are probably the best. Hayek's terrible, but there aren't many good pictures of him to begin with. I like Friedman's eyes, but I messed his fingers up. They're indistinguishable from his face. Tullock's outline is kinda strong, so I darkened the background. Read more.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Right to Work for Less

The sinister headline of this brief pro-union article:

Right to Work—For Less

Because workers’ organizing rights are diminished in states with Right-to-Work laws, an average worker earns about $7,131 a year less than workers in free bargaining states ($30,656 versus $37,787).1 Across the nation, union members earn $9,308 a year more than nonunion members ($41,652 versus $32,344).2 Clearly these laws only provide a right to work for less.
That's exactly correct! Workers who are faced with either unemployment or lower-than-union wages would quite often pick the latter option. They have the right to work with terms that they and their employers agree upon, without the meddling of third parties who proclaim to know what's best. It's a wonderful right. I would not want to live in a country or state where such a basic right is denied. Read more.