Before I write about how I (a non-economist) came to defending the Nobel Prize winning Milton Friedman on Wikipedia, let me say that I have been a big fan of Wikipedia for sometime and I often link to its entries to help explain things. And , once in a while, I try to contribute to it by adding things (including new entries) and fixing things.
Here is the story. When I was doing some quick research on Milton Friedman for a previous entry, I noticed a passage from Paul Krugman’s “Who was Milton Friedman?” was quoted in the criticism section of this version of Milton Friedman’s Wikipedia entry. Paul Krugman may be a respected trade theorist, but Krugman is no Milton Friedman nor monetary economics expert as stated by this Edward Nelson & Anna J. Schwartz authored NBER working paper “The Impact of Milton Friedman on Modern Monetary Economics: Setting the Record Straight on Paul Krugman’s “Who Was Milton Friedman?””. (note: I referenced the NBER paper here because I can’t find a link to the Journal of Monetary Economics final version plus I don’t know if that version is more freely accessible online than the NBER version.)
So I ended up adding a quote from the conclusion in the Nelson Schwartz NBER working paper into this version of the Friedman Wikipedia entry. Now, that was not the end of the story because a Wikipedia discussion was started between another editor and myself which I was still responding to this morning. (note: anyone can edit a Wikipedia entry, so we are all “editors”)
I hope I have not mis-characterized Krugman’s critique or Edward Nelson & Anna J. Schwartz‘s defense, but I hope my free market economist friends will help me set the record straight or improve on what I wrote in a neutral and encyclopedic manner.
P.S. I guess because I am no expert (in free market economics or anything), I did feel a little bit of “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” In this case here, I read/scanned/enjoyed the N&S paper and did what I can to defend Friedman a little. I would rather see other experts doing a proper job, until then, I can only do what I can with my limited understanding.
P.P.S. Who am I to defend Milton Friedman? Well, in Wikipedia, any idiot can edit an entry. And the fact that I am defending Milton Friedman just proves that this idiot can edit an entry as well. (big smile)