This lengthy article on economics in The New Republic is, to put it charitably, bizarre. I don't know anything about the author, Alan Wolfe, but he's definitely not qualified to write an article on economics. For instance, he writes:
[T]here is no denying that just as Levitt brought behavioral economics to the best-seller lists, Thaler and Sunstein are bringing it to the think tanks and maybe even to the West Wing.I actually feel pretty comfortable denying it, since Steven Levitt is most assuredly not a behavioral economist. In fact, Levitt is an open critic of behavioral economics:
I am not a huge fan of what people call “behavioral economics.” ... I don’t deny that the insights that emerge from behavioral economics can be important, it just seems that most often they are not — especially when subjected to the discipline of the market.But Wolfe really makes himself look foolish when says that "Milton Friedman [has] always seemed to me to be [a] marginal and somewhat bizarre thinker." Now, I'm not what you'd call a "Friedmanite," but Milton Friedman was a true giant in the field. Friedman and Keynes were two of the greatest intellectuals of the twentieth century, and to my mind, were the top two economists of the twentieth century. Disagree with Friedman if you like (and lord knows I do sometimes), but if Wolfe thinks he was a "marginal and somewhat bizarre thinker," then the only explanation is that Wolfe doesn't understand Friedman's ideas.