Higgs on the Economy, Economics, and Economists (by Don Boudreaux)
from Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux
The great economic historian Robert Higgs was interviewed recently on C-SPAN2's "Book tv." The interview is three-hours long; every minute is worth watching.
As regular readers of this blog know, I greatly admire Bob's work (and Bob personally). His 2006 book Depression, War, and Cold War is just out in paperback; this book -- data-rich and well-argued -- effectively challenges the claim that the New Deal helped to improve the American economy during the 1930s, and the claim that war and military spending promote prosperity.
Oh, and his 1987 book Crisis and Leviathan is, justifiably, a classic.
‘Western values’ have officially remained more or less the same since the liberal revolutions of the 17th and 18th centuries, whereas society has since been transformed — first by industrial capitalism and the nation-state, now by corporations running amok in an increasingly integrated world economy. For at least a century western societies have been based [...]
A bureaucratic revolution in the late 19th century led to capitalism being organised by states and large corporations. This stage of 'state capitalism' is still with us and it involves the attempt to manage markets and accumulation through national bureaucracies. Its antithesis was called socialism, but after our experience in the 20th century, it may [...]
Fred Cooper’s Colonialism in Question is mainly about changing fashions among the people who study colonial and post-colonial societies. But its third section, ‘The possibilities of history’, opens up larger questions, particularly in the essay, ‘States, empires and political imagination’ (the longest in the book). Here FC argues persuasively against the tendency to read modern [...]
Death of a Salesman seems to underscore the inhumanity of money–the relentless calculus of debt, disregard for human life and worth, enslavement to branded machines, the impersonality of ‘business’. But Arthur Miller was also concerned in this play with the other side of money–the magic and alchemy of Goethe’s Faust, Benjamin’s idea of capitalism as [...]