Two very recent articles:
The first by David Brooks from the New York Times entitled The Return of History (a dig at Francis Fukuyama’s deeply mistaken The End of History and the Last Man – 1992). He constructs the history of Economics as a play in 5 acts. Act I is about a discipline that studied mythical Man, the “perfectly rational, utility-maximizing autonomous individual”. In Act II economics starts to realise humans are less rational than expected. Act III is the global debt crisis and the fact that traditional economics seemed to have zero predictive power in as far as this crisis was concerned. Act IV and V are the most interesting bits and point the way for a humble new economics more closely allied to the (appropriately humble) intellectual traditions of psychology and history.
Related – and the most interesting piece of writing I have read in some time – is What Does Greece Mean to You? by John Mauldin. It is written as a letter to his children (and I assume it really is what it claims to be because he puts their pictures – they’re a good-looking bunch – right in there and pre-empts a dispute with a supposedly more liberal daughter, red-headed Melissa, by denying his figures are a “Republican research conspiracy”). Mauldin explains to his children that the Greek (and Global) debt crisis must be understood as resulting from inevitably critical states in previously stable complex systems. If that sounds like a mouthful, go to the article, because without oversimplifying or intellectually short-changing in any way, Mauldin is able to explain how our global financial system is shot through with instability – and that until the debt is painfully unwound catastrophe is imminent. Catch it here, I recommend you do – and push through the early bits where he is paying the bills by advertising his “paid for” research products and writing – it’s the right thing to do.
Thanks to collaborator and friend Sandra G. for the heads up.