Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Interesting fact of the day...

Irving Fisher, of debt-deflation theory fame, apparently invented the rolodex.

I did not know that.

I'm reading some of Fisher's old work from the 1890s... very interesting stuff.


  1. Would you accept the idea that Fisher was Keynes before Keynes?

    Some say he deserved a higher status than Keynes, because he was more consistent throughout his life, and because he had already advanced theories about business cycles far beyond what Keynes had in 1937.

    Henry Hazlitt complained that Keynes believed he was damaging the orthodoxy, but wilfully ignoring that recent advances in economic thought were already there.

  2. I am withholding judgement for now because I'm not that familiar with him, but I have been shocked by some of his earlier work. He stopped short of Keynes, though, and went down the standard loanable funds markert path. Still evaluating, but the man was obviously a giant.

  3. I'm pretty sure he fits in within the neoclassical framework. He was more of a precursor to Friedman than Keynes, for example, his Quantity Theory. This was challenged by Wicksell.


  4. Anonymous - definitely, definitely.

    He flirts with a non-loanable-funds theory of the interest rate in the 1890s, but then jumps solidly in the loanable funds/neoclassical camp by the turn of the century. It's just interesting that he ever mentioned another possibility - I had not realized that.

    Keynes and Friedman both cite him as an influence, but clearly the ties to Friedman are more obvious.

  5. His early theory of interest was actually astonishingly close to that of the Austrians - the time preference theory of interest. But, I mean, it's not too surprising, since the time preference theory of interest generally stated is not "Austrian".


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