In memory of Ronald H. Coase
Has died the British Economist, US nationalized, Ronald Harry Coase (Willesden, near London, 12/29/1910 – Chicago, 09/02/2013 / Nobel Prize 1991), at the age of 102. Contemporary of Paul A. Samuelson (1915-2009 / Nobel Prize 1970), said: “in this age of specialization, sometimes I think of myself as the last generalist in economics”.
The work of Coase seems to give reason. If Einstein unveiled his theory of relativity in a brief 30-page article, Coase is distinguished by its earliness and explained his theories in two articles that are among the most cited in the academic literature. The first – the nature of the company–was outlined at age 21 and published in 1937, by 27, the second – the problem of social cost – in 1961, at the age of 50. His very chiseled prose, prodigy of synthesis, precision and clarity is commendable.
Coase published the nature of the company (1937) a year from being published the general theory of occupation, interest and money (1936), by Keynes. I point out this fact because Coase is a theorist that confirms his liberalism in a third article entitled The Lighthouse in Economics (1974). In it he addresses “the false belief that for the functioning of society it is necessary and good, the contribution of public resources,” sophism rather rooted in our country. Enough would be that the Government guarantees private property, protects the free initiative and would allow, also – through efficiency credits and licensing mechanisms, and the operation of the private companies, free from extortion and taxes, rather than overload in my long existence, laws that are met – I have not seen in Bolivia, including the stage of Governments called neo-Liberals.
Liberal of pure strain, in the work of Coase paradoxically there is a mole of Keynesian dye. In his book of essays on economics and economists (1994 / Madrid-Buenos Aires, edit. Marcial Pons, 2009) is the Conference entitled the property market and the market of ideas (1974), criticized harshly by the American press. In that text, Coase confused ‘property market’ (material, tangible, disposable) with freedom of expression and religious freedom that he arbitrarily called ‘market of ideas’. Here I just end. I will only add that Coase published, last year, how China became capitalist, I’ve not yet read. / / Madrid, 13.09.2013
A great economist has left us, thank you Pedro for reminding us of Coase’s work!