Yes, it’s another econ book.
A retro review from March 1, 2013 …
(And, no, I didn’t pay for this one. It was an Amazon Vine title.)
Review: The New Economics of Inequality and Redistribution, Samuel Bowles, 2012.
I came to this book as a layman who suspects that globalization, automation, and an increasing percentage of the population not having the innate intelligence for the jobs of the future will necessitate some sort of new economic order. This book really didn’t go very far in suggesting a new economic system, but it is worth a look.
Or, to be more precise, it’s worth a partial look if, like me, you are not a trained economist. I suspect few laymen will have the time, patience or money to follow up on the bibliographic suggestions to check up on Bowles’ arguments. Those laymen are also going to have to put up with a lot of equations. To be sure, they are simple algebra for the most part, but you can get lost in the thicket of variables. Bowles should have spelled out his variables instead of just designating them with place holding letters. An interested reader could probably just read the “conclusion” of each chapter and backtrack, if interested, to see Bowles’ evidence and math.
Still, there is some stuff of value.
First, Bowles is a behavioral economist meaning he relies on experiments to show how people really make economic decisions and not the classical theory of man as a utility maximizing animal. Second, while economic redistribution is thought of as a liberal or left-wing desire, Bowles does not fall into conventional policy notions of how to do that. There is, I think, material and arguments to vex and please stereotypical liberals and conservatives. Continue reading