They curse. They dish on their colleagues. They give the inside scoop.
Insights from the world's top economists are revealed in an upcoming book, "Inside the Economist's Mind: The History of Modern Economic Thought, as Explained by Those Who Produced it."
"I was very surprised by the candor," said William Barnett, Oswald distinguished professor of macroeconomics at Kansas University, who co-edited the book with Nobel Laureate Paul Samuelson.
The book contains interviews with numerous Nobel laureates, including Robert Lucas, James Tobin and Milton Friedman, plus conversations with former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker and others.
The interviews were printed previously in the journal Macroeconomic Dynamics, which Barnett founded and edits. "I want the world's greatest economists to have the opportunity to speak their minds to their peers without intervention of the editor or the publisher," Barnett said, during an e-mail interview Tuesday.
Here's a preview: Friedman, who won the 1976 Nobel Prize for Economics, offered this regarding the "Great Inflation" in the 1970s:
"I had a session with Nixon sometime in 1970, I think it was 1970, might have been 1971, in which he wanted me to urge (Fed Chairman) Arthur (Burns) to increase the money supply more rapidly (laughter) and I said to the president, 'Do you really want to do that? The only effect of that will be to leave you with a larger inflation if you do get re-elected.' And he said, 'Well, we'll worry about that after we get re-elected.'
"Typical. So there's no doubt what Nixon's pleasure was."
The book is expected to be released in the fall.