April 21, 2014


There’s a persistent tension between the limits of the data he presents and the grandiosity of the conclusions he draws. At times this borders on schizophrenia. In introducing each set of data, he’s all caution and modesty, as he should be, because measurement problems arise at every stage. Almost in the next paragraph, he states a conclusion that goes beyond what the data would support even if it were unimpeachable.

This tendency is apparent all through the book, but most marked at the end, when he sums up his findings about “the central contradiction of capitalism.”

When people start talking about contradictions of capitalism, I can’t help but think that the biggest contradiction is how many people have gotten rich spouting warmed-over failed economic doctrines from the 19th Century.

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