Standing up for economists


Economics for the Common Good. By Jean Tirole. Translated by Steven Rendall. Princeton University Press; 576 pages; $29.95 and £24.95.

“WINNING a Nobel prize changes your life,” said Jean Tirole, a French economist, from experience. When his work on competition policy and how to adapt regulation for specific industries earned him the gong in 2014, he could have succumbed to “Nobel prize syndrome”, the tendency to opine on all economic matters regardless of expertise. His book “Economics for the Common Good”, published in 2016 and just released in English, attempts something much bolder. He tries to rescue economists’ reputation.

His profession has been attacked for failing to predict the financial crisis, for pushing competition and markets above all else and for ignoring questions of morality. One academic economist will befuddle you with two contradictory opinions, while another will attack you with impenetrable algebra. No wonder…Continue reading

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