Sunday, September 30, 2007

Reviewer's revealing remark

I have no plans to read Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism but the review in today's NY Times by Joseph Stiglitz and the title of the review ("Bleakonomics: Namoi Klein tracks 50 years of global capitalism, spotting ruthless opportunism at every turn") could not be passed up.

Stiglitz's review offered nothing to get me to order the book but perhaps the review is an artifact all by itself. He suggests that the common ground between himself and Klein is that, "Market fundamentalists never really appreciated the institutions required to make an economy function well, let alone the broader social fabric that civilizations require to prosper and flourish."

I do not know who "market fundamentalists" are but the conclusion suggests a limited perspective. A short list of my favorite recent reads is on the booklist attached to this blog and it includes many books by bright economists who are not as blinkered as Stiglitz suggests. My list is short but over a half-million Google Scholar "hits" come up when the words "economics" and "institituions" are entered together. I did not click through all of them but just the first couple of pages bring up Douglass North, Armen Alchian, Oliver Williamson, Avner Greif, Bruno Frey, Barry Weingast, Dani Rodrik, etc., etc., etc.