Saturday, April 16, 2022

A new book that's causing a still in some circles. The disconnect between the two paragraphs makes my head spin. Or at least it did once. The modern First Estate, ignoring the fact that it exists, speaking as if from the aether.  

Markets are taken as the norm in economics and in much of political and media discourse. But if markets are superior why does the public sector remain so large? Avner Offer provides a distinctive new account of the effective temporal limits on private, public, and social activity. Understanding the Private-Public Divide accounts for the division of labour between business and the public sector, how it changes over time, where the boundaries ought to run, and the harm that follows if they are violated. He explains how finance forces markets to focus on short-term objectives and why business requires special privileges in return for long-term commitment. He shows how a private sector policy bias leads to inequality, insecurity, and corruption. Integrity used to be the norm and it can be achieved again. Only governments can manage uncertainty in the long—term interests of society, as shown by the challenge of climate change.

AVNER OFFER is Chichelc Professor Emeritus of Economic History at Oxford University, Fellow of All Souls College and the British Academy. His books include The Challenge of Affluence: Self-Control and Well-Being in the United States and Britain Since 1950 (2006) and the co-authored The Nobel Factor: The Prize in Economics, Social Democracy, and the Market Turn (2016).


Delinking entails rejecting calls to adjust to a country’s comparative advantage and other forms of catering to foreign interests. This is, of course, easier said than done. Amin noted that it would both require strong domestic support for such a national project and strong South-South cooperation as an alternative to the exploitative economic relations between the core and the periphery. Other aspects of delinking would involve investments in long-term projects, such as infrastructure, with the goal of improving the quality of living for most people in the country, rather than maximising short-term consumption or profit.

I should have a tag for comparative advantage, a literature almost as absurd as trolley problems. I have tags for Angus Deaton and Dani Rodrik and that mostly covers it. Rationalists rationalize decadent scholasticism. 

It's not possible to separate structure from culture, language from speech, so you'd better start thinking about both.

I added a tag for comparative advantage about a year later.

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