Subject: Re: Recommendations for Basic Economics Guide.
From: "Jerry Dwyer" <>
Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2002 09:36:04 -0400

Friedman calls the period 1929-33 "The Great Contraction."

Jerry Dwyer

---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2002 21:15:37 +0900

>>>>>> "xela" == xela  <Alex> writes:
>    xela> Both are by Prof. Timothy Taylor of Macalaster College, (a
>    xela> first-tier liberal arts school in Minnesota).  He must be a
>    xela> hell of a lecturer in person to come through so well on tape
>    xela> while I'm driving in Boston traffic.  They're "Economics"
>    xela> and "Legacies of Great Economists" (personally, I found that
>    xela> I could make a lot more sense out of economics by
>    xela> understanding the historical context in which economic ideas
>    xela> developed, and if I were doing it again, I'd listen to
>    xela> "Legacies" first);
>If that's the Tim Taylor I think it is, I wonder if he got his PhD
>yet?  The guy I'm thinking of _was_ one hell of a lecturer, got the
>Stanford U. GTA award once, and was always too busy communicating
>economics to write his dissertation.  (Didn't stop him from publishing
>a half-dozen articles I know of, but that doesn't make a dissertation.)
>In other words, the fact that he took a while to get the sheepskin[1]
>should be considered in his favor :-) and I highly recommend Alex's
>idea of doing the "Legacies" first.  Unfortunately I don't really know
>of a good "Economics in Plain English" book; most people who try to
>write them have a political axe to grind, and when you add in the
>incompetents, you've covered the field that I know of.
>The closest I know of is Fisher et al "Folded, Spindled and Mutilated:
>US v. IBM."  It's rather specialized, but it is specialized
>(fortunately so, in this audience) to the IT industry.  It's also so
>dry as to qualify for Dave Lettermans "Top Ten Deserts" list.
>"Information Rules" is a must for this crowd.  I'd rather you didn't
>read Lessig (like most lawyers, his economics is terrible), but on the
>other hand you can't not read Lessig....  Just remember that a lot of
>things he says about the economics Just Ain't So.  The information
>economy is not as different from everything that came before as many
>people (including Alan Greenspan, not normally known for flights of
>fancy, but who is undoubtedly regretting every word he said about the
>New Economy) would like to believe.
>"Strategically Thinking" by Nalebuff and Dixit is pretty good,
>although it's more game theory than market microeconomics.  Still,
>it's oriented toward MBAs, not professional economists.  Practical.
>If you can stomach his politics[2], Friedman's "Capitalism and Freedom"
>and "Free to Choose" give lots of examples of economic thinking in
>E. F. Schumacher's "Small Is Beautiful" and (can't remember the
>author) "Ecotopia" are excellent correctives to Friedmania and
>astiglermatism[3].  Not economics texts as such, but many of the
>themes should resonate especially well with the "lifestyle
>businessmen."  Not as interesting to the strategic FSBs.
>The Economist magazine has a long running series of School Briefs
>which are excellent.  But I don't think they're collected anywhere.
>If you're interested in the technical issues of the industry, Oz Shy's
>"Economics of Network Industries" or some such is pretty good.  I feed
>it to my non-technical MBA students.
>[1]  Not to mention that the Chair of the Dept when Tim entered the
>PhD program didn't have _his_ sheepskin yet.  Just following in the
>Master's footsteps.  :-)
>[2]  It's one thing to be a liberal, it's another to claim that the
>period 1929-1939 should be labelled "The Great Vacation."
>[3]  ObRef George Stigler, also a very conservative Nobel Prizewinner
>from U. Chicago.
>Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
>University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
> My nostalgia for Icon makes me forget about any of the bad things.  I don't
>have much nostalgia for Perl, so its faults I remember.  Scott Gilbert