Peddling Prosperity

I have been accused of having a man-crush on Paul Krugman.  So sue me.  He just writes so darned clearly.

I backtracked chronologically to read Peddling Prosperity because I wanted to understand the differences amongst Keynesians, Monetarists, Supply-Siders and others.  Check.  This book was written at the beginning of the first Clinton administration and covers the rise of conservative economic ideology, the record of conservatism in power and then the revival of Keynesianism.  In addition to describing Keynesianism and Monetarism, Krugman’s goal is to differentiate between actual economists and mere policy entrepreneurs.  So the reader learns about the economic definitions and histories of Keynesianism and Monetarists, and then about the rise of Supply-Siders and later their liberal counterparts, the Strategic Traders.  As an economics hobbyist trying to get my arms around the subject in general, I found the book very eye-opening.  I wish I had read it earlier in the stream of economics titles I’m reading, both for the historical descriptions of schools of thought and because I think it may have improved my ability to discern the values and motivations of some other writers (Krugman included).

Here’s a positive review with more details on the content, a critical review from a member of the Democratic Study Group, and a longer critique of Krugman’s critiques of Policy Entrepreneurs over the course of several books.

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Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets

Don’t judge this book by its cover (or by its title for that matter).  I picked this book from an old summer reading list from Greg Mankiw (still searching for the best criteria for selection of economics books) without seeing the cover, thank goodness.  Reinventing the Bazaar:  A Natural History of Markets, by John McMillan […]

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Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

I read Stephen Batchelor‘s Buddhism Without Beliefs (BWB) in the summer of ’09 during my last foray into non-religious Buddhism and it was my favorite of the several Buddhism books I read during that period.  The case for reading Confession of a Buddhist Atheist (CBA) was strengthened earlier this summer when I heard Christopher […]

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Collusion

I read and enjoyed Stuart Neville’s debut novel, The Ghosts of Belfast, while on home leave this January.  I was happy to see that he has a new novel out, and pleasantly surprised that it turns out to be a sequel. Collusion picks up a few months after Ghosts.  Jerry Fegan and Bull O’Kane […]

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Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future

I picked Robert B. Reich’s Aftershock because lately I’ve been wanting to read Reich and because I thought it might make a good follow-up to Krugman’s Depression Economics.  This time the criteria were good.  The book explains The Great Depression, The Great Prosperity (1947-1975), the bad years since 1975, the recent Global Financial Crisis, and […]

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