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Barron's on Tirole and Selgin

Gene Epstein of Barron's is critical of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel awarded to Jean Tirole. His article "This Nobel is No Prize" quotes George Selgin. Here are a couple of paragraphs summarizing Epstein's view:

Say Adam Smith and others had never shed light on the gains that result when one nation freely exchanges goods and services with another. Without a compelling theory of the benefits of free trade, we would no doubt assume that tariffs, duties, and subsidies to domestic exporters were just a case of government doing its job. […]

Happily, we do have a theory of free trade that mainstream economists honor, even if the theory is often honored in the breach. Unhappily, since the mainstream lacks a theory of free banking, Jean Tirole can be given a Nobel for useful formulations that include the optimal regulation of finance.