Surgery Center of Oklahoma Blog

October 31, 2011

Michael Brecker, Mises and a Role Model

Filed under: Uncategorized — surgerycenterok @ 7:53 am

Some random thoughts:

My youngest son played a song for me today from his iTunes account featuring the late, great Michael Brecker.  You can listen to it here.  I think that Brecker was the greatest sax player ever….period.  I trained as a classical musician in my younger days and always marveled at the technique that Brecker brought to the stage.  Brecker’s technique brought a prestige to jazz that had been lacking until his arrival in my humble opinion.  Until his arrival a classically trained musician might have said that while some jazzers had talent they lacked the technique required to perform the more challenging repertoire.  If you are looking for a more mellow sound listen to him here.  Talent and technique to burn.

Most economists study and adhere to economic “modeling.”  Those apostles of what is called the Austrian school reject modeling, as they subscribe to the subjective theory of value.  What that means, simply, is that something is worth what someone will pay for it and everyone is different.  A buddhist monk will place a different value on a Range Rover than a Wall Street banker.  To project future trends on the sale of Range Rovers without acknowledging this incredibly significant variable seems a waste of time to the “Austrian.”  Traditional economists will often times make fun of those of the Austrian ilk as math dunces, as their rejection of economic modeling must mean that they are not skilled in mathematics.  Right?  Wrong.  At an Austrian scholar’s conference I attended one year, the invited speaker (a brilliant, erudite Brit, if I recall correctly)  was making his pitch for modeling’s place in economics when young Guido Hulsmann (an apostle of the Austrian school and later author of an exhaustive biography of the brilliant Ludwig von Mises) pointed out a mathematical error in the Brit’s calculations on the Power Point slide.  Talent and technique to burn.

Physicians in academic centers often times look down their noses at the folks out in private practice as “adequate” but “greedy.”  Because academicians are salaried and aren’t paid for each patient they see, they “aren’t in it for the money like those greedy private practice guys.”  Somehow brilliance can only be found in an academic center, if you were to ask many of them.  I will not embarass the infectious disease doctor, or the pulmonologist, or the anesthesiologists or the surgeons or the emergency room doctor or the radiologist that I have known in private practice whose brilliance and dedication can only be described as….well…talent to burn.  I will name Dr. Jim Porter, though.

G. Keith Smith, M.D.


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  1. Thanks for not sparing me the embarassment?

    Comment by Jim Porter — October 31, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

  2. You had such an impact on me and I know many others that would say the same. Every time I think “why are you about to do that” in the operating room, I think of you. Thanks for making me think. Hope you are well. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been trained by you.
    Keith Smith

    Comment by surgerycenterok — October 31, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

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