Must-Read: David Leonhardt: ‘Chicagonomics’ and ‘Economics Rules’

Must-Read: David Leonhardt: ‘Chicagonomics’ and ‘Economics Rules’: “Adam Smith’s modern reputation is a caricature…

…He was a giant of the Enlightenment in large part because he was a careful and nuanced thinker. He certainly believed that a market economy was a powerful force for good…. Yet he did not have a religious faith in the market…. Lanny Ebenstein’s mission, in ‘Chicagonomics,’ is to rescue not only Smith from his caricature but also some of Smith’s modern-day acolytes: the economists who built the so-called Chicago school of economics…. Ebenstein argues that the message of the Chicago school has nonetheless been perverted in recent years. Many members of the Chicago school subscribed to ‘classical liberalism,’ in Ebenstein’s preferred term, rather than ‘contemporary libertarianism.’…

Dani Rodrik… has written a much less political book than Ebenstein has, titled ‘Economics Rules,’ in which he sets out to explain the discipline to outsiders (and does a nice job)…. Rodrik has diagnosed the central mistake… [of] contemporary libertarians have made… conflat[ing] ideas that often make sense with those that always make sense. Some of this confusion is deliberate… act[ing] as a kind of lobbyist working on behalf of the affluent…

November 23, 2015


Brad DeLong
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