Reading Group

Category: Reading Group

Reading Break

As per usual when winter break hits week three, my phone is ringing off the hook* from students asking me for my reading suggestions.   So, here you go:

Charlie Calomiris and Steven Haber in Foreign Affairs, “Why Banking Systems Succeed — And Fail.”   It’s worth it for this gem alone: 

As George Bernard Shaw wrote, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” Meaningful banking reform in a democracy depends on informed and stubborn unreasonableness.

Mike Veseth “Deconstructing and Disentangling the Disintermediation of the Wine Business.”  Professor Finkler turned me on to this nice piece on cutting out the middleman from The Wine Economist himself.   I should really read Wine Wars, which looks rather fascinating.   My grossly under-informed musings on the coming “wine shortage” here.

I just received William Nordhaus’ The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World in the mail and it seems like I should take a look at (though the audience seems to be the informed general audience rather than for academic economists).   It seems probable that I will adopt chunks of this for ECON 280 this Spring.  Nordhaus is the incoming president of the American Economics Association (!), so he has plenty of street cred among economics types.  Among the environmental crowd he is famous for his DICE and RICE models, and is certainly one of the most influential economists working  on matters of thinking about global climate change.  Paul Krugman was Nordhaus’ RA back in the day!  There is a high probability that I will offer this as a reading group option next term.

Speaking of Reading Groups, don’t sleep on The Great Leap Forward: 1930s Depression and US Economic Growth, the principal source material for this year’s Senior Experience read.    

And, last for this installment, I finally started making my way through Science Mart: Privatizing American Science.  Wow, this is an experience. If this looks good to you, let me know and we can talk.

*Well, maybe not “off the hook,” but I did get one email.

Keynes, Cowen, & Capitalism Update

The first session rolled along pretty well, I thought, with 14 students and four faculty participating.  I was pleased that everyone had something to say, and I hope you will make an effort to talk about this outside of the group. Our next meeting is February 16 at 3:30, and I am still looking for a regular room to meet.

For next time we will continue our discussion of The Great Stagnation, and in particular we will talk about whether we believe the central thesis.  One synopsis of the thesis is that there are three pieces of bad news: there are fewer innovations, the yield on innovations has declined, and innovations are not resulting in high-quality employment gains. We talked a little bit about this idea of raising the status of scientists and what that might look like.  In that vein, we might take a look at one of Cowen’s recent blog posts:  a simple theory of why so many smart young people end up in finance and law. I’m not sure how to square one with the other.

On this point, I might add, Schumpter was optimistic that norms could change:

the prestige motive, more than any other, can be molded by simple reconditioning: successful performers may conceivably be satisfied nearly as well with the privilege—if granted with judicious economy—of being allowed to stick a penny stamp on their trousers as they are by receiving a million a year (CS&D, p. 208).

The discussion of science inevitably got at the nature of American higher education, an area that moves at a glacial pace, but might be amidst a revolution (who are you going to believe?). On this topic, Larry Summers’ offers his take on the future of education. I have been thinking about this for a while in terms of how we can do better down here on Briggs 2nd, and am wondering what the take of our new president will be.

We will also forge ahead with Cowen’s “The Inequality that Matters,” from The American Interest. It’s hard to think about the future of capitalism without thinking a bit about what inequality is and why it is (and isn’t) important.  We read this in Econ 275 last term and I think it went over quite well.

Economics Department Read, Winter 2012

We have been sponsoring a reading group (DS-391) in the economics department over the past four terms, and we will continue that with two books during the winter term. If you have some spare time in the next five weeks, you might try getting a jump on these.

The first is Roger Backhouse and Brad Bateman’s Capitalist Revolutionary: John Maynard Keynes. The authors’ names might sound familiar from a couple of posts ago where I briefly discuss their op-ed in the New York Times about the need for economist as “worldly philosopher” rather than “dentists” (Keynes’ term) honing in on the intricacies of the little picture.  Indeed, the book portrays Keynes both as a deep thinker and an accomplished technical theorist.

The second is Tyler Cowen’s brief yet epic e-book, The Great Stagnation:  How America Ate All The Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better.   This is one of the most thoroughly reviewed pieces I have ever seen, with scholars and bloggers and otherwise lining up to weigh in.  There is plenty to talk about with this one.

Both books should be accessible to economics students at any level.

A brief stint for homo faber

The latest issue of The Economist looks at technocrats in charge:

EVEN before Plato conceived the philosopher-king, people yearned for clever, dispassionate and principled government. When the usual run of rulers proves cowardly, indecisive or discredited, turning to the wisdom and expertise of a technocrat, as both Italy and Greece have done in recent days, is particularly tempting.

Those of us who just finished reading The Road to Serfdom read those words and sense the cozy comfort of an argument close to our hearts. When the article goes on to say: “Crankishness aside, technocracy and autocracy have long been natural bedfellows,” we expect HAYEK to jump off the page any moment—he is lurking between the lines no more. But, curiously, this venerable British weekly ran an article on technocracy and autocracy without mentioning that most famous economist to stroll the halls of the London School of Economics.

Their conclusion? “History suggests that technocrats do best when blitzing the mess made by incompetent and squabbling politicians.” Perhaps the reason for the omission of Mr. Hayek was not so much a conscious decision as unfamiliarity. If a few others throw in a buck, I’m happy to do my part in sending The Economist a copy of TRtS. The Reader’s Digest version.

Discovering Kirzner, Week 1

We had a pretty good discussion today, especially on the distinction between the Schumpeterian and Kirznerian entrepreneurs (perhaps too much on Christiansen).  Ladies and gentlemen, the Kirznerian entrepreneur (emphasis his):

For me the function of the entrepreneur consists not of shifting the curves of cost or of revenues which face him, but of noticing that they have in fact shifted — Kirzner, Competition & Entrepreneurship, p. 81.

For further explication of the differences between Schumpeter and Kirzner (beyond what’s on pp. 79-81), see this piece by Don Boudreaux.

Civil(?) Servants, and a handbook for aliens

I recently picked up again one of my favorite books, How to be an Alien by George Mikes. (It’s online, without the wonderful illustrations, here. If you look for it online, don’t be fooled by the inferior “Penguin Readers” version, which is… well, for aliens.)

Mikes was a Hungarian writer who moved to England in 1938. One of the chapters, on Civil Servants, immediately reminded me of some of our discussions in the Schumpeter Roundtable. In Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (CSD), Schumpeter sometimes idolizes those experts who know how to run things rationally. Contrast that with these words from Mikes: Continue reading Civil(?) Servants, and a handbook for aliens

Cheap! Cheap! Cheap!

Cheap is the title of the “community read” that dozens of students and over a dozen faculty members will be discussing weekly during the first half of next term. Here is the semi-official course advertisement:

A 'Cheap' Shot

Registration is open for the 2011 Community Read! This year we’ll be reading Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture, by Ellen Ruppel Shell.  It’s a deep look at the environmental, social, political, economic and human costs of consumerism in the US.  There are nine different sections available, each led by two faculty members from different departments.  The sections are listed as Environmental Studies (ENST) 320 – SEM: CHEAP, which is a 1-unit S/U-only course that will meet for the first half of Spring term.  These are discussion sections, so there are no exams or writing assignments – only lively conversation!***

Professor Gerard is partnering with Professor Maryuri Roca (Chemistry) for a section at 2:30 on Thursdays, and I (Galambos) am co-leading a section at 8:30 on Fridays with Professor Beth De Stasio (Biology). We’d love to have you in our sections.

Based on some book reviews (here’s one), I will have a lot to say about this book, but I promise I’ll try to shut up most of the time. I know one chapter beats up on IKEA pretty badly, and I’m just not sure how I will handle that… Let me just say that other than a couple of chairs, perhaps, all our furniture comes from that wonderful, CHEAP, tastefully Northern European design paradise.

***An earlier version of this post said the book would be available at the Gift Shop.   It turns out that this is not true.  We sincerely apologize for the mix-up.

Porter, Reich on the Future of Capitalism

One thing about capitalism that’s pretty certain is that it’s changing. Capitalism a hundred years ago looked very different from capitalism today, and capitalism looks different in different countries. The field of comparative economic systems was born out of the socialism vs. capitalism debate, and, for that reason, those of us interested in that field should be thankful for that debate. At the same time, the socialism vs. capitalism debate has done and is doing much harm to intelligent discussion of economic systems. Those of us reading Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy this term know that Schumpeter thought socialism could follow capitalism naturally, in Marxian fashion, but it really wouldn’t look very different from the super-big-business capitalism that would exist at that time.

Michael Porter

Today’s OnPoint on NPR featured two distinguished guests who were discussing the future of capitalism. Business guru and Harvard professor Michael Porter (remember the 5-forces analysis?) talked about his recent article in the Harvard Business Review on the new capitalism, based on Shared Value, in which firms recognize that the way to be truly profitable is to align their goals with societies and to do good while doing well. But not in that outdated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) way, relegating to a CSR department the task of undoing the harm done by the core business, but by integrating the doing good part into the core business mission. Porter argued that the best companies are doing this already, and that capitalism will be made better not through more regulation and more government, but, au contraire, by businesses moving to the “shared value” model.

Reich on the future of capitalism

Robert Reich, author of Supercapitalism, was the other guest, and he was not buying any of that feel-good talk. He couldn’t help but remember the many examples he personally saw of companies investing a lot into what was clearly bad for society but good for profit. His book on the future of capitalism, Supercapitalism, agrees with Porter in finding the CSR model wanting, but thinks that the future lies in separating capitalism from democracy as much as possible. These were questions Schumpeter struggled with in his book. It is easy (apparently, for some) to dismiss those musings from 1942 as idle speculation, but these contemporary contributions and debates remind us that we still know little about how economic and political systems work, that knowing more would still be extremely important, and that capitalism is changing in perhaps fundamental ways even as we continue to talk about a model of a market economy that never really existed. Porter’s view seems to be going in the direction of moving government and business closer to each other. Reich thinks the way to progress is through separating those two as much as possible.

Stuck in The Mudd

Looking to pick up some reading recommendations for the upcoming Reading Period?  My pick is Tyler Cowen’s e-book, The Great Stagnation, which has been something of a sensation since its release (if by sensation you mean, which I do, a bunch of economists and policy wonks have been reading and reviewing it).  Plenty of buzz about this one, and at $4, it is about the price of a magazine.

Just not that into Stagnation? We’ve got more.  Professor Finkler also just recommended a slew of books to me, including these:

Most of these are stocked over on the shelves of The Mudd (subject to availability, of course), along with a constant stream of tasty new releases.  Just scanning that RSS feed, I see Michael Lewis’ breezy The Big Short as an appetizer(library info; more on Lewis here).  And the fascinating-looking title LinkEntrepreneurship, innovation, and the growth mechanism of the free-enterprise economies edited by Sheshimski, Strom, and Baumol could be a very enticing main course. I might just go run that one down.

You might consider adding to that list Branko Milanovic’s new book, The Haves and the Have-Nots (discussed here), that I plan to order presently.

For those of you who only do things for credit, there is a rumor floating around the department that as a follow up to the Schumpeter Roundtable, we will be Discovering Kirzner by reading Israel Kirzner’s Competition and Entreprenuership this Spring term. It was also recently announced that the Spring Lawrence community read will be Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture. Professor Galambos and I are both signed up for that one.

Finally, I am right in the middle of Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From, which my colleagues mostly seem to like.  Something you can probably read in the car, if it wasn’t for the 6-point font footnotes.


Book on Inequality Makes The Economist Sick

In response to my post on The Spirit Level, Oscar Koberling pointed out in an email that the most recent issue (pronounce that with an “s”, not “ishue”) of The Economist includes a Special Report on “The Few” (not the proud, but the rich). One article in that Report beats up pretty effectively on The Spirit Level. Thanks for the tip!

Several articles in the Report are interesting. One of them is on higher education, and it points out that “[i]n some of the hardest disciplines most postgrads at American universities are foreign: 65% in computing and economics, 56% in physics and 55% in maths…”

Inequality makes everyone sick

Last time we met for the Schumpeter Roundtable tutorial, we discussed Schumpeter’s point that perhaps the greatest strength of capitalism is that it provides precise, prompt, exact and effective incentives in the promise of great riches and the threat of great destitution. He would know, having been on both ends of that spectrum (well, almost). That sort of system has inequality built into it—inequality that serves an important purpose, some would say. A discussion on inequality and progress ensued, with spiritual, moral, economic, and technological dimensions, eventually leading one participant to remark that “going to Best Buy is a spiritual journey!” But there is, of course, a serious question: Is inequality good for a society (in the long run)? Or, to put it in terms of a trade-off, how much inequality is best? Tonight Tom Ashbrook on NPR spoke with UK Professors Pickett and Wilkinson, authors of The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger. The book is based on research that shows, the authors claim, that more equal societies always do better in a number of ways, including overall population health. They argue that more equal societies are even more innovative, contrary to what Schumpeter might say about the importance of incentives in driving progress. As Professor Gerard has pointed out, economists do think about inequality and its consequences, and this book may add evidence to one or both sides. One member of the Schumpeter Roundtable argued that there is so much inequality in the US today, that most people are too discouraged to try hard to reach the top. This book seems to support that argument. Contrast that with Adam Smith’s view that the great driving force of economic development is the extraordinary effort of “[t]he poor man’s son, whom heaven in its anger has visited with ambition,” struggling to attain riches in the (erroneous) belief that money can buy happiness.

Class Struggle is Intensifying

I have finally started reading Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy by Joseph Schumpeter. And now I simply can’t put it down. This has not happened to me with an economics book since I read The Road to Serfdom by Hayek. Schumpeter’s work is pure gold, prescient, wise, analytically crystal clear, and beautifully written (yes, every so often one must reread a paragraph-long sentence). I can’t wait to discuss the details in our CS&D reading groups.

The second part of the book is on capitalism, and Schumpeter make some arguments that seem decidedly Marxian, resembling conclusions that Marx “reached.” Which is probably why Schumpeter found it important to start the book with a first part on Marx’s work. Schumpeter’s critique of Marx is balanced, even generous, but penetrating. I have read before that Schumpeter succeeded best by far in putting Marx’s work in perspective, and now I can see how. (Not that I have much expertise on Marx.)  Yes, Schumpeter says, I reach some similar conclusions, but make no mistake, dear reader: there is a world of difference between how Marx got there and how Schumpeter did. And there is a world of difference between the implications of Marx’s “analysis” and Schumpeter’s.

I particularly enjoyed Schumpeter’s analogy between Marxism and religion. I have read others who make the same point, but Schumpeter makes it so much better. Marxism is not just a theory of economic change, but a theory of the world. And so it gives followers a lens through which they can see and interpret everything. The Witness is a Hungarian cult movie from the sixties on the Soviet system. In one scene, the head of the state secret police says, “whether you eat baked potatoes or pork roast, the class struggle is intensifying!” People quoted this phrase for decades to come in an ironical voice in comments on the political and economic situation. Yes, it is possible to see everything as a manifestation of class struggle. And once you see everything that way, it is difficult to think outside that system. Though I grew up in the last stages of goulash communism, I was to some extent exposed to that world view, partly in a very personal way. My great-uncle was a true believer in Marxism well before it was fashionable in Hungary. In fact, his own father was in and out of jail in the 1920s for being a communist. (At that time, right-wing Hungary’s police stations had copies of a thick black book—a list of undesirable, suspicious people to watch out for. My great-uncle’s father was listed as guilty of being a Communist and a Jew.) My uncle, after he came back from Auschwitz, got to work in helping build the communist future. He taught Marxism in evening classes to those who needed to be “educated.” And even though he lived through the many failures of that system, he remained a believer to some extent till the end of his life. Yes, Marxism offers a theory of why things are bad, who’s to blame, and hope for inevitable salvation.

Capitalism, Socialism, & Democracy Group Read

For those of you interested in an extra unit or two, next term we are offering an independent study / tutorial reading Joseph Schumpeter’s classic, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. For those of you unfamiliar with the book, here is a review by Schumpeter biographer, Thomas McCraw.

This is a thick book, so if you are interested, I would recommend that you pick up a copy and start in on it over break. The likely trajectory for this is for us to set up a weekly discussion time, and for each student to provide a review essay.   See Professor Gerard or Galambos for details.

Is Major League Baseball Competitive?

A couple of final words on the summer I&E Reading Group selection, Moneyball.   As was argued by Michael Lewis, Billy Beane capitalized by exploiting what appeared to be a market inefficiency.  Indeed, economists Jahn Hakes and Skip Sauer found empirical support for this proposition .

An interesting question, then, is why other teams didn’t innovate via these quantitative techniques sooner? In an archived EconTalk interview with Professor Sauer, Russ Roberts suggests that Major League Baseball may well not be a competitive industry. That is, owners are “playing a different game” and that the costs of having a bad team aren’t really that high.  In fact, Roberts argues (at about 28:00), the absence of competition would allow owners can indulge stupid management practices without a significant hit to the bottom line.  It would also allow teams to do things like discriminate on the basis of race, or simply not aggressively try to win, where the costs would not be that high. When is the last time a team went bankrupt? Or sold at a steep discount?

That’s an interesting point because a standard economics argument is that competitive markets are quick to punish firms that fail to adopt best practices. Firm that adopt racist or sexist hiring or compensatory practices will loses out to those that don’t.  And the larger point, of course, is that robust competition pushes firms to innovate, or at least to adopt practices once others have done so.  In the context of baseball this is transparent.  When there was a color line and African Americans were excluded, then teams didn’t suffer for their racist practices.  However, once teams started to sign the best African Americans players, then racist policies had a price; that is, teams that didn’t discriminate on the basis of race had access to the best African-American ballplayers — refusing to sign Willie Mays doesn’t help your chances of winning.

Sauer also addresses Steve Levitt’s criticisms (which I share) about the source of the A’s dominance was actually their dominant starting pitchers (at about 38:00).  Sauer responds that, regardless of the reason for the A’s success, the numbers seem to show an inefficiency on the offensive side.

You can also catch Roberts interviewing Michael Lewis on the topic of Moneyball.

Moneyball at The Academy

It’s the middle of the summer, and it’s time to check in with the I&E Reading Group. This summer, we have Michael Lewis’ Moneyball and Louis Menand’s Marketplace of Ideas. If you need a copy of either, I know we have them at The Mudd.

For our first book, Lewis provides us with a look at the world of baseball management. I would suggest that the money point of Moneyball has to do with the tension between quantitative tools and “experts” watching and assessing potential. In the context of evaluating talent, for example, should teams look at the numbers or listen to the scouts? But that isn’t quite right, either, because there is a long, entrenched history of listening to the scouts, so putting too much stock in the college on base percentage is anathema to the whole process.  The scouts don’t believe the numbers, and management trusts the scouts.  So the conventional wisdom is that the numbers lie.

It doesn’t end there, either.  The type of quantitative analysis used for player evaluation has been extended to on-the-field strategy, again exposing a tension between what the numbers guys say and what various experts (i.e., managers, sportswriters, fans) think. (For a similar example in the context of American football, see here).

Continue reading Moneyball at The Academy

Coming to an HBS Case Near You

A few months ago I had a series of posts on the Amazon-Macmillian-Apple fracas, related to publishing and sale of e-books.  A recent New Yorker piece provides a very nice discussion of the role of technological innovation and competition in reordering the publishing business, with Apple, Amazon, and Google all playing major roles.  One of the more interesting aspects is the blurring of the lines as firms integrate, disintegrate, or just try to make money.  My favorite line in the piece is this:

In (Amazon’s Russ) Grandinetti’s view, book publishers—like executives in other media—are making the same mistake the railroad companies made more than a century ago: thinking they were in the train business rather than the transportation business.

I’m not sure I have much to add to the article at this point, except to say that I recommend it.  And that you will probably be reading some version of this story as a business school case if you happen down the MBA route.

In fact, you will probably be discussing this in an Industrial Organizations course if you aren’t careful.

Who Takes the Summers Off? I&E Reading Group Announces Its Summer Selections

Given the dwindling attendance in my courses, either the weather has become appreciably better, Midwestern style, or Professor Finkler is giving another macro exam. Both are sure signs that summer is just around the corner.  That means it’s time to unveil the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Reading Group‘s summer books.

The first book comes recommended from Professor Garth Bond, who offers us Moneyball: The Art of Winning and Unfair Game.  I’ll let him tell you about it:

It’s a bit off the beaten path, but it is a great  read and certainly raises questions about innovation in a decidedly different context: Michael Lewis’s Moneyball.  If you’re not familiar  with it, it’s basically a book about the sabermetric revolution in  baseball, focusing on Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s in the early 2000s.  It is decidedly about the difficulties involved in introducing  innovation into baseball, exploring where and how new ideas arose and  how they actually came to be implemented (and ultimately copied).  I  think it might be particularly interesting because many of us have a  hard time thinking of sports as just another industry, so that it can  challenge our abstract theories by applying them to matters of the  heart.  The other nice thing about the book is that it is extremely  approachable and short.

That is a clear winner.

If you are still on the fence after that, consider that Hollywood is (potentially) making a movie version of the book that will star Brad Pitt.  Here is a review — of the book, not the movie — from the San Francisco Chronicle.

The second book is The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Reaction in the American University by Louis Menand.  This is a provocative piece about why although academics tend to be liberal as a bunch, but institutional change within the academy is slow going.

Menand is a brilliant writer, and the book certainly adds much to the discussion of  “how can we at Lawrence be more innovative.”  Here is the review at Slate that tipped me off to the book.

Also a clear winner.

The tentative meeting date for the faculty group will be in late July.  You should be able to find out more right here on this blog, or on our group site on The Moodle. In early July, I will begin “live blogging” and posting some associated content. As was the case with the first book, any students interested in reading should let me know so we can get together to discuss it.

Those of you not interested in the I&E Reading Group might find some of these useful.

Schumpeter and Business Cycles

In the paragraphs below, I attempt to both summarize McGraw’s description of Schumpeter’s contribution to business cycles and add a few comments  as to where his reasoning might help us interpret a post 1950 world.

For many years, Schumpeter focused his scholarly attention on understanding the ups and downs in the economy known as business cycles.  He viewed these ups and downs as part and parcel of the dynamics of capitalism, which could not be understood without paying specific attention to the institutions through which capital flowed.  The two volume 1,095 page magnum opus entitled Business Cycles captures Schumpeter’s look into virtually every nook and cranny of the dynamics of capitalism in the U.S., the U.K. and Germany.  Although he apparently left few stones unturned in this voluminous study, many reviewers concluded that he was not very successful in distinguishing between the forest (of cyclical dynamics) and the trees (of specific institutions in particular countries.)

One Schumpeterian conclusion, however, did come through with incredible clarity: “…theoretical equipment, if uncomplemented by a thorough grounding in the history of the economic process, is worse than no theory at all (254).”  Although Schumpeter would approve of the mathematical precision that modern economics has sought as well as of the empirical confirmation or rejection offered by econometric techniques, he would be aghast at economic analysis without either capitalists or entrepreneurs.  For him, both economic growth and business cycles – which must be closely linked in the study of capitalism – required the entrepreneur as innovator whether it be through new processes (including physical and virtual factories), new forms of organization (such as corporations and partnerships) and new forms of financing (including well developed bond markets, seller financed purchases, and a vibrant market for venture capital.) Continue reading Schumpeter and Business Cycles

The Sage, Part 1

Before I catalog my notes on the last section of the book, The Sage,  I’d like to simply point out some excellent resources that have helped me to put Schumpeter’s work in context.   Indeed, that is one of the main challenges for economists today, I think, is what was genuinely important about Schumpeter’s work and what wasn’t.

Certainly, McCraw is a strong partisan of Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy as being the seminal piece.   Before you tuck that away as Gospel, you might wan to check out Robert Solow’s review of the book for the New Republic.   Solow is a central figure in economic growth and development over the past half century (help me out here, Professor Finkler) and also took courses with Schumpeter at Harvard.   He wasn’t so impressed with Schumpeter’s entrepreneur, and consequently the famous Solow growth model doesn’t draw heavily on these ideas.   What could have been?

Another interesting perspective on the emergence and persistence of managerial capitalism is Deidre McCloskey’s piece, Creative Destruction versus The New Industrial State,” comparing Schumpeter to John Kenneth Galbraith;  Schumpeter being the face of Harvard economics for the first half of the century and Galbraith for the second.  McCloskey is an important thinker and a brilliant writer, and her piece is excellent.

Then, of course, there is the Keynes versus Schumpeter rivalry.   This being a pro-Schumpeter crowd, let’s start with management uber-guru Peter Drucker’s thoughts.   Certainly, this territory is covered in the text.

I’ll post more on The Sage as we move toward our meeting date.