Saturday , September 19 2020
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EconTalk with Bob Chitester

Summary:
The latest EconTalk interview is with one of my favorite people, Bob Chitester. It’s well worth listening to, especially his story about how he, a manager of a small-city PBS station, decided to make the series that made him famous and made Milton Friedman even more famous than he was: Free to Choose. He talks briefly, by the way, about the students who spend a week at Capitaf at Vermont working through Milton’s Capitalism and Freedom. I was the discussion leader the first time they did this, and afterwards I recommended that the next time, we drop a few chapters of Capitalism and Freedom and add a few chapters of Milton and Rose Friedman’s Free to Choose. We did that the next summer. Each book is special in its own way, something that Russ Roberts and Bob agree

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The latest EconTalk interview is with one of my favorite people, Bob Chitester. It’s well worth listening to, especially his story about how he, a manager of a small-city PBS station, decided to make the series that made him famous and made Milton Friedman even more famous than he was: Free to Choose.

He talks briefly, by the way, about the students who spend a week at Capitaf at Vermont working through Milton’s Capitalism and Freedom. I was the discussion leader the first time they did this, and afterwards I recommended that the next time, we drop a few chapters of Capitalism and Freedom and add a few chapters of Milton and Rose Friedman’s Free to Choose. We did that the next summer. Each book is special in its own way, something that Russ Roberts and Bob agree with each other on.

Both Russ and Bob talk about the importance of Friedman’s smile. I agree. The word I would use to explain it is “warmth.” Milton Friedman was a warm man and thus the smile.

Near the end Bob talks about the power of poetry and then recites a poem. I agree about its power. Here’s one of my favorites, which I read aloud at an event on war at California State University, Monterey Bay about 10 years ago.

Hate
by James Stephens

My enemy came nigh,
And I
Stared fiercely in his face.
My lips went writhing back in a grimace,
And stern I watched him with a narrow eye.
Then, as I turned away, my enemy,
That bitter heart and savage, said to me:
“Some day, when this is past,
When all the arrows that we have are cast,
We may ask one another why we hate,
And fail to find a story to relate.
It may seem then to us a mystery
That we should hate each other.”

Thus said he,
And did not turn away,
Waiting to hear what I might have to say,
But I fled quickly, fearing had I stayed
I might have kissed him as I would a maid.

David Henderson
David Henderson is a British economist. He was the Head of the Economics and Statistics Department at the OECD in 1984–1992. Before that he worked as an academic economist in Britain, first at Oxford (Fellow of Lincoln College) and later at University College London (Professor of Economics, 1975–1983); as a British civil servant (first as an Economic Advisor in HM Treasury, and later as Chief Economist in the Ministry of Aviation); and as a staff member of the World Bank (1969–1975). In 1985 he gave the BBC Reith Lectures, which were published in the book Innocence and Design: The Influence of Economic Ideas on Policy (Blackwell, 1986).

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