Books: Inside the Economist's Mind (I.T.E.M.) and Getting It Wrong

This Blog hosts discussion of issues relevant to the book, Inside the Economist's Mind, coedited by Nobel Laureate Paul A. Samuelson and William A. Barnett, published by Wiley/Blackwell, and the newer book by William A. Barnett, Getting It Wrong, published by MIT Press.

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William A. Barnett is Oswald Distinguished Professor of Macroeconomics at the University of Kansas and Director of the Center for Financial Stability in New York City. He was previously Research Economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, DC; Stuart Centennial Professor of Economics at the University of Texas at Austin; and Professor of Economics at Washington University in St. Louis. William Barnett has been a leading researcher in macroeconomics and econometrics. He is one of the pioneers in the study of chaos and nonlinearity in socioeconomic contexts, as well as a major figure in the study of the aggregation problem. He is Editor of the Emerald Press monograph series International Symposia in Economic Theory and Econometrics, and Editor of the journal Macroeconomic Dynamics, published by Cambridge University Press. He received his B.S. degree from M.I.T., his M.B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. He has published 20 books (as either author or editor) and over 140 articles in professional journals. His research has been published in 7 languages.


The book, Inside the Economist's Mind, is coedited by Paul A. Samuelson and William A. Barnett. Although this Blog is hosted solely by the latter coeditor, the following is the information in the book's front matter about Paul Samuelson:

Paul A. Samuelson was the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Economics. He is Professor Emeritus of Economics and Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute Professor is the highest rank awarded by MIT. His landmark 1947 book, Foundations of Economic Analysis, based upon his Ph.D. dissertation at Harvard University, established him as "the economists' economist" by raising the standards of the entire profession. Paul Samuelson's classic textbook, Economics, first published in 1948, is among the most successful textbooks ever published in the field. The book's 16 editions have sold over four million copies and have been translated into 41 languages. He received his B.A. degree from the University of Chicago and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. As one of the profession's most productive scholars for over a half-century, he remains an intellectual force of towering stature.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Best Review Yet

The leading financial newspaper in Brazil is Valor Economico (which means "Economic Value"). A major cover story about the book just appeared today (February 9, 2007) in that newspaper. It includes original artwork produced by the newspaper and photographs acquired by the newspaper. The article includes a cover story by the newspaper's editor and commentaries by five Brazilian economists. I shall try to acquire an English translation of all six parts to put online, but at present I only have a translation of the editor's cover story. The color photographs alone are worth seeing, even without availability of the full translation. Here is an excerpt from the newspaper editor's cover story:

"In frank conversations, unburdened by the formalizations found in academic papers, 16 eminent American and European economists posit their philosophies, explain theories and methodologies, and offer their personal experiences. The end result is a picture of the profession that is in constant flux ... ITEM, which was recently launched in Europe and the U.S., is already a best seller on the Financial Times list and offers great help ... The book which is edited by William A. Barnett, macroeconomics professor at the University of Kansas, and Paul Samuelson, 1970 Nobel Laureate, is really a map into the minds of 16 American and European important economists, who are well-known for their major contributions to economic study. The book regales us with personal anecdotes of these economists, their memories, choices made, and landmark moments in their careers ... This book is about unfiltered ideas, not in the tradition found in the usual academic avenues of censored personal views in lieu of purely technical models, theories, or insights. Both interviewers and interviewees successfully rally around the book's central focus on the importance of intellectual exchange ... it is useful to learn about the experiences of these economists and what drives them to their pursuit. This book provides a coherent vision of modern economics and its connection with the lifetime experiences of famous economists, whose work was seminal for the discipline ... It's important to know (or remember) that Janos Kornai's defense in Budapest on the eve of the revolution of 1956 attracted an audience of hundreds. When he published it in book form with a title that spoke of the "excess of centralization", he lost his job, and a close friend was executed ... ITEM is a valuable work, and it succeeds in the need to contextualize the advances of the field's theories with a sense of its implicit history."


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