by Edward Chancellor* Once upon a time, there was a factory in the Soviet Union that made nails. Moscow set quotas on nail production. When the quotas involved quantity, the factory churned out many small, useless nails. When Moscow realised its error and set a quota by weight instead, the factory produced big, equally useless … Continue reading THE TYRANNY OF METRICS, Jerry Muller, Princeton, 220 pp.
by Edward Chancellor* China’s economy has long defied the doom-mongers. In place of their ominous critique, a more constructive view of economic management in the People’s Republic has surfaced. Beijing, we are told, has found the right balance between state and market forces, and is best positioned to exploit exciting new technologies, such as big … Continue reading China’s Great Wall of Debt, Dinny McMahon, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 288 pp.
by Stefan Kolev* For a better understanding of the turbulences of our time, studying those earlier politico-economic debates which focused on fragile orders of economy and society can certainly prove insightful. In The Viennese Students of Civilization, Erwin Dekker addresses such an age and interprets the works and impact of economists often labeled as the … Continue reading The Viennese culture of conversation: Understanding and defending fragile orders
by Gerald P. O’Driscoll, Jr. I have been reading Central Bank Governance & Oversight Reform, edited by John H. Cochrane and John B. Taylor. It is a conference volume of unusually high quality with all the discussions of presentations included. I plan to write more about the book later, but to highlight one chapter here. … Continue reading The Fed’s Institutional Design
by Chidem Kurdas A nice thing about Paul Krugman, he does not mince his words. Thus his new book, End This Depression Now!, repeats as boldly as possible the central point he’s repeatedly made in his New York Times columns and blogs for years. Namely, governments have to spend a lot more. They have to … Continue reading Krugman Redistribution or Ponzi Scheme
by Chidem Kurdas A trustee of the New York Public Library, Robert Darnton, defends in the New York Review of Books the controversial plan to revamp the library’s Fifth Avenue building. The issue goes beyond one building – however iconic – and one institution. Any book lover will sympathize with the plight of libraries. Despite the … Continue reading Libraries Linking Past to Future
by Mario Rizzo A new book has been published, Institutional Economics and National Competitiveness, edited by long-time colloquium member -- Professor Young Back Choi of St. John's University. Here is the publisher's description. Please ask your library to order it. This book offers a strong contribution to the growing field of institutional economics, going beyond the question … Continue reading “National Competitiveness”
by Mario Rizzo This is the time of the year that various publications recommend Christmas books or the best books of 2010. (I have never known what a Christmas -- or summer -- book is. Are they supposed to be light reading? I don't believe in reading "light." When I am in the mood for that, I watch TV.) … Continue reading Predictably Rational: A Brilliant Book by Richard B. McKenzie