ITAs an economist, David Meiselman made a mark early, collaborating at the University of Chicago with eventual Nobel laureate Milton Friedman. His dissertation, The Term Structure of Interest Rates, was published by Prentice-Hall in 1962 and won a Ford Foundation award. David knew everyone and anyone in the circles of liberal-market thinkers, including Friedrich Hayek, who held the chair at the Committee on Social Thought at Chicago. Among friends he was extraordinarily good-natured. Toward socialists, he was contemptuous—though I never saw him in their company, so I don’t know whether the scorn became personal. I wondered once that statists could get around Hayek’s insight on the epistemic deficit of planners, and David replied coldly, “They ignore it.”
When I complained about feckless Republicans and shilly-shallying think tanks (he was involved with both the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute), he said we have to live in the world we’re given, not the one I might like.
We both liked the business of markets. Through David and Winnie I met Henry Manne, scathing and cheerful critic of all things regulatory. For several years David and his wife brightened our winters in Sanibel. Either Win or my wife snapped the shot above, David as an expansive Tevye, at Purim twenty years ago.
August 7 2019