Archive for University of Chicago

Another Student Remembers Gary Becker

beckerDr. Tracy Miller, an economist at Grove City College was a graduate student of Gary Becker at the University of Chicago. Dr. Miller provides a sketch of Becker’s contributions as well as some personal reminiscences of Becker as a professor:

Unlike some other professors I had in graduate school, I never recall Becker using offensive language in the classroom or in private conversation. Although he never said anything to indicate that he was a Christian, some of his students did research on the economics of religion and he appreciated their work and respected their convictions.

I had great respect for Dr. Becker as a teacher and scholar. In the classroom, he would frequently pick a student and call on him to answer a challenging question. The questions he asked often required the student to apply theory in a new way, not just recall something from the reading. His approach was intense and intimidating, but his former students appreciate the way he challenged them.

His passion for applying economics to a wide variety of contemporary issues was contagious. He influenced hundreds of graduate students at the University of Chicago and took a continuing interest in the work of his former students.

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Gary Becker, RIP

6745Walter Block writes in today’s Mises Daily:

Gary Becker passed away on May 4, 2014 at age 83. There will be many obituaries written about this Nobel Prize winning economist, focusing on his numerous and important contributions to the dismal science. Here, instead, I will tell a more personal story, my own private interactions with my first mentor, Gary Becker.

I entered the Columbia University graduate program in economics in 1965. There were about 100 of us, so they assigned the new entrants to three different sections. The top one was taught by Becker, the middle one by William Vickery who also later won the Nobel Prize in economics, and the section for the least prepared of the students was taught by Roger Alcaly. I lucked out and landed in Becker’s microeconomics course. Those were heady days for me. This was the time before I met Murray Rothbard, and became an Austrian economist; I was a staunch follower of Gary’s: a logical positivist, an empiricist, a follower of the Chicago School of thought, as was this teacher of mine.

Ralph Raico’s Early Works and The History of Classical Liberalism

Ralph_raico[A relatively new master’s thesis on Raico’s work is now available from the archives of Buffalo State College.

In this passage, the author explains some of Raico’s early work and the conflicts within the movement that partially led to Raico’s turn toward his work as a historian of classical liberalism and the West:]

By Daniel P. Stanford

The New Individualist Review was initially produced with the sponsorship of the Intercollegiate Society of Individualists (ISI), a non-profit educational organization founded by Frank Chodorov and whose first president was William F. Buckley, Jr. This  sponsor would eventually become problematic for the young editors [Raico and Ronald Hamowy], especially when the  subject of foreign policy arose. Unfortunately, considering the financial requirements of  such an undertaking, and the unpopular positions they were taking, Raico and Hamowy  had very little choice but to appease their sponsors.

Milton Friedman also became increasingly a source for funding. This was not  hard for Friedman, for in the 1950’s he was the most famous free market economist in the  United States. With Friedman becoming more involved, Raico again found that he had to  be careful to tone down certain content. One of the taboo subjects for Friedman was Austrian economics, which was at odds methodologically and epistemologically with the Chicago School’s positivistic approach to economics. Since Hayek was involved, he  did serve somewhat as a safety umbrella under which Raico could publish Austrian  school material.

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