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YeagerConocí a Leland Yeager unos días antes de la graduación de la Maestría en ESEADE. Fue invitado por Martín Krause y ESEADE para disertar precisamente el día de la entrega de diplomas. Martín me invitó a un almuerzo previo donde también estuvieron Juan Carlos De Pablo y otros economistas que lo admiraban. Aproveché en aquella ocasión a conversar bastante con él y después de su partida mantuvimos durante algún tiempo muchos intercambios por mail.

Apenas inicié el contacto con el primer mail, me pidió que le escribiera en español, porque lo veía como una oportunidad de practicar lo que había aprendido hace tiempo.

Le empecé a enviar entonces lo que fueron mis primeras investigaciones, incluida mi tesis de Maestría. Siempre recordaré su devolución con reflexiones precisas sobre distintos párrafos. Una de las discusiones surgió en torno a la neutralidad del dinero, referenciando un trabajo de Thomas Humphrey. Leí aquel artículo con mucha atención, y le escribí al Dr. Yeagar con mis impresiones. No creo haberlo convencido, pero aquello me permitió escribir este artículo precisamente como una respuesta a Humphrey y a Yeager, a la vez que me permitió formar mi opinión sobre un tema clave de la macroeconomía comparada.

La no neutralidad del dinero en el largo plazo. Un debate entre Chicago y Viena. Cuadernos de Economía, Vol. XXIX, No. 52, Primer Semestre de 2010, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá.

The principle of the non-neutrality of money. A response to Dr. Humphrey, Procesos de Mercado, Revista Europea de Economía Política, Volumen VIII, No. 2, Otoño de 2011, pp. 263-284.

Ese punto fue clave en mi tesis doctoral, y también en el resto de las investigaciones que fui publicando.

En el blog de Free banking están publicándose diversos posts de prestigiosos economistas que manifiestan su admiración por el profesor Yeagar, y también su agradecimiento. Quería aquí, simplemente, sumarme a este homenaje.

Leland Yeager turns 90, by Kurt Schuler

Leland B. Yeager turns 90 years old today. He has done notable work in monetary theory—most important for this blog, laissez faire monetary systems—international monetary economics, trade, ethics, and languages.

After high school he served in the U.S. Army during World War II, translating Japanese coded messages. He earned his A.B. from Oberlin College and his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University. Following a brief stint at the University of Maryland, he taught for nearly three decades at the University of Virginia, where he was part of the economics dream team that included James Buchanan, Ronald Coase, Gordon Tullock, and G. Warren Nutter. Yeager finished his career at Auburn University, where he was Ludwig von Mises Distinguished Professor of Economics. He is now an emeritus professor of that institution.

Prof. Yeager has many talents. One is for languages. He knows languages as diverse as Japanese, Norwegian, Russian, and Sanskrit, as well as the usual major Western European languages that American economists sometimes knew before academic economics became largely monolingual. Another of his talents is for writing. Deidre McCloskey has cited Yeager as one of the best living stylists of economics—a low bar, but one that Yeager clears with plenty of room. Still another, as will be evident from some of the testimonials below, is for teaching. As one who saw him in action wrote, “This stuff was dynamite. Students quickly realized that Yeager had it all and anyone with half a brain knew that they had a once in a lifetime chance to wrap up the whole damn subject—if they could just get every word he uttered written down.” (Remember, it was decades before the iPad and other digital recording devices.)

Prof. Yeager’s magnum opus is his book International Monetary Relations: Theory, History and Policy. It looks like a textbook, but is actually an exceptionally lucid treatise that wrapped up the whole damn subject for its time (1969, second edition in 1976). Although nearly 40 years old, the book remains unequaled for the skill with which it weaves together the strands of theory, history and policy. I am pleased to announce that the Center for Financial Stability is working to make it available electronically later in Prof. Yeager’s 90th year.

George Selgin collected the essays by Prof. Yeager likely to be of most interest to readers of this blog in The Fluttering Veil: Essays on Monetary Disequilibrium. Roger Koppl edited a festschrift called Money and Markets: Essays in Honor of Leland B. Yeager. It reprints the most delightful portrait I know of any economist, “The Yeager Mystique,” by his former students William Breit, Kenneth Elzinga, and Thomas D. Willett. For those who want to dig deeper, there is plentymore.

Appreciations of Prof. Yeager written especially for this blog follow below. Later I will post links above to appreciations elsewhere.

Leland Yeager, by Robert Greenfield

Leland Yeager, by Thomas D. Willett

Leland Yeager, by David Tuerck

Leland Yeager, by Roger Koppl

Leland Yeager, by Warren Coates

Leland Yeager, by Kenneth Elzinga

Leland Yeager, by Jim Dorn

Leland Yeager, by Bill Woolsey [Monetary Freedom blog]