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The Wisdom and Wit of Warren Nutter

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

It’s very good that you (with help from my colleagues Bryan Caplan and David Levy) draw readers’ attention to the late University of Virginia economist and Defense Department official Warren Nutter (“Notable & Quotable,” Nov. 17).  Nutter was a fountain of profound insight and wisdom before his early death in 1979; sadly, today he is largely forgotten.

My favorite example of Nutter’s acumen – and of his wit – is his observation that “in the academic world, you think now and decide never; and in the government, it’s just exactly the other way around.”*

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

* Quoted on page 51 of William R. Allen, “Economics, Economists, and Economic Policy: Modern American Experiences,” History of Political Economy (Spring 1977), Vol. 9, pp. 48-88; reprinted here at Econ Journal Watch.