What did two great 20th century economists have to say to each other?

Coase: “I can tell you– I was helping when Britain was trying to get a loan from the United States immediately after the war, and I was talking to one of Keynes’s assistants. And Keynes came in the room and walked over to us and the man I was talking to us said, ‘This is Coase, who is helping us with the statistics. I don’t think you know him.’ And Keynes said, ‘No, I don’t.’ And walked off. And that’s my life with Keynes.

Not a lot really.

5 thoughts on “What did two great 20th century economists have to say to each other?”

  1. You say “two” great 20th C economists: who was the other?
    What’s rather sadder is Coase’s relationship with Hayek. Although they were colleagues at the LSE, they never discussed his essay “The nature of the firm.” This is odd, as it argued that markets were (sometimes) inferior to centrally organized economic activity – a contradiction of Hayek’s thinking.

  2. Chris: Coase had this to say about his relationship with Hayek.

    ” Yes. I was very friendly with Hayek. I liked him, and he liked me. But we didn’t have great contact. He tended to deal with these big questions, and I’m always interested in how the actual system operates. Therefore, in much smaller matters than Hayek.”

    Actually the relationship between Hayek’s work and that of Coase is an interesting issue. I’m not sure how they fit together.

  3. The context is that Keynes suffered a series of heart attacks during the negotiations, and died before the loan deal was completed. I think he can be forgiven for being less than charming at times.

  4. @ Paul Walker – you’re not sure how they fit together because they don’t. One flatly contradicts the other. The qn is: under which circumstances is Coase right, and under which is Hayek right? If they’d ever discussed this, we might be more enlightened.

  5. Surprisingly bad manners for an Etonian – perhaps a consequence of spending so much time with the Bloomsbuggers?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *