The University of Chicago appears to be having a debate about ideas and influence. At a university, are all academic departments equal? It would interest me if the President and Provost of that great University anticipated that not all of the faculty on campus view the MFI as a pareto improvement? Do they care? Do you judge a University based on its best departments or its median department? More Milton Friedman Institute Debate .
The non-economists seem to be trying to start the old debate of "what is excellence?" They don't seem to trust the economists to know greatness when they see it. The funny thing about the letter that I cite above is that this smart Professor appears to claim that he knows a lot about economics. This is a recurring problem. Everyone thinks that they are an economist. Reading the Dubner/Levitt blog , it now looks to me that Dubner views himself to be an professional economist. Since everyone and anyone can be an economist, this give you the right to judge Milton Friedman and to ignore our opinion about where he stands as one of the UC's greats.