Hayek on Friedman’s ‘Dangerous’ Book

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The recent discussion of Milton Friedman and F. A. Hayek reminds me of their deep methodological differences. Friedman, of course, was a harsh critic of Mises’s praxeology, which he viewed as a sort of pathology, a manifestation of Mises’s alleged “intolerance.” Friedman’s view of Mises has been discussed many times on this blog and elsewhere. But Hayek’s opinion of Friedman’s positivism is less well known, though quite startling. Here’s Hayek, speaking to Bill Bartley in the mid-1980s (Hayek on Hayek, p. 145):

Friedman has this magnificent expository power. He is on most things, general market problems, sound. I want him on my side. You know, one of the things I often have publicly said is that one of the things I most regret is not having returned to a criticism of Keynes’s treatise, but it is as much true of not having criticized Milton’s [Essays in] Positive Economics, which in a way is quite as dangerous a book.

1:51 pm on August 2, 2011
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