Economic Principals is not exactly a model of modern online journalism. It is instead a simulacrum of what went on at the old Boston Globe (for a real-time jolt, see It must have been moonglow, by Mark Feeney, the newspaper’s chief arts critic.) As an early immigrant from print to bits and pixels, EP was too well habituated to writing newspaper columns during the week and books on the weekends to want to do anything else. As the world changed around it, the way EP allocates its time has gradually reversed, but little else is different.
EP adopted a public broadcasting business model, gave advertising a good leaving alone, proudly stated that it was not a blog, and ignored nascent Twitter in favor of RSS subscriptions as a means of getting around to readers. (The last turns out to have been a mistake.)
The enterprise depended on the goodwill of a series of web developers to stay abreast of rapidly-changing technology: Richard Harrington, Mandy Harris, and, after a hack via the comments channel, Jennifer Teichman and Roy Huck, who gave the site a modern look. But much of the old structure remains. This week we have begun a campaign to refurbish it.
The sideboard in EP’s offices in Somerville’s Ball Square has been stacked high with books, but, as proprietor, I have neglected to keep the web page’s bookshelf up to date. More than anything else, EP’s reading list describes the parameters of the column.
So this week I am adding a baker’s dozen to the page; I promise to add titles of interest as they arrive, and to notify bulldog subscribers as I do, at the bottom of the email edition. Think of it as a glimpse of coming attractions. I expect to have something to say about each of these over the summer.
Putin’s World: Russia against the West and with the Rest, by Angela Stent (Twelve, 2019)
China’s Crisis of Success, by William Overholt (Cambridge, 2017)
Bagehot: The Life and Times of the Greatest Victorian, by James Grant (Norton, 2019)
Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies, by César Hidalgo (Basic, 2015)
Starving the Beast: Ronald Reagan and the Tax Cut Revolution, by Monica Prasad (Russell Sage, 2018)
Where Economics Went Wrong: Chicago’s Abandonment of Classical Liberalism, by David Colander and Craig Freedman (Princeton, 2019)
The Knowledge Economy, by Roberto Mangabeira Unger (Verso, 2019)
Losing Earth: A Recent History, by Nathaniel Rich (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2019)
A Crisis Wasted: Barack Obama’s Defining Decisions, by Reed Hundt (Rosetta, 2019)
Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral & Drive Major Economic Events, by Robert Shiller (Princeton, 2019)
The Economists’ Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society, by Binyamin Appelbaum (Little Brown, 2019)
Facing Up to Low Productivity Growth, Adam Pozen and Jeromin Zettlemeyer, editors (Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2019)
Our Great Purpose: Adam Smith on Living a Better Life, by Ryan Patrick Hanley (Princeton, 2019)