A self-proclaimed nonconformist combines compliments and criticism to encourage his peers to take a more progressive approach.
By Angus Deaton ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 3, 2023
Nobel laureate Angus Deaton has compiled a collection of essays he wrote for the Royal Economic Society over the past 25 years, which are now published in his book Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism. These essays cover a range of topics, from health care policy to inflation and its measurement, global poverty, pensions, wealth and income inequality, and class and generational social disparities. Deaton questions the effectiveness of the “free” market and argues that economic thinking is not enough to make a difference in policy decisions. He also examines the economic discipline, including professional organizations, journals, core disagreements, and the Nobel Prize. Deaton expresses his disappointment in the lack of progress in reducing inequalities and attributes this to internal disagreements among economists, a failure to recognize the political nature of advice-giving, the reluctance of elected officials to address inequality, and the preference for capital over labor in economic theory. He criticizes American capitalism for its “government-enabled rent seeking and the destruction supported by the ideology of market fundamentalism.” However, he does not give up on mainstream economics, believing that it can be used to benefit the middle and working classes. He suggests that the discipline should be focused on “the study of human welfare.” The book is written for non-economists to help them understand the profession, but it does not take into account the differences between the academic, policy, and business realms.
Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2023
Page Count: 280
Publisher: Princeton Univ.
Review Posted Online: June 29, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023