Christopher Caldwell

Model Thinkers

The Assumptions Economists Make


Harvard University Press/Belknap Press 356pp £21.95 order from our bookshop

Economists have earned our distrust. They oversimplify things, presenting normal elements of an economy – such as strikes, tariffs and corruption – as aberrations. They overcomplicate things, too, smuggling ideological agendas into objective-looking newspaper columns. And they do it all in the name of ‘science’, even as their spectacularly unscientific recent failures have done nothing to moderate their arrogance. Well into his career as an editor at MIT’s Technology Review, Jonathan Schlefer armed himself with a doctorate in political science so that he might talk back to economic theorists in their own idiom. One of the results is The Assumptions Economists Make, a knowledgeable but uneven broadside against neoclassical economics. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,