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

Powered by WPeMatico

Visualising the careers of musicians-turned-actors

THE news of Harry Styles’s casting in “Dunkirk” (2017) was met with bemusement. It was hard to imagine the boyband heartthrob, with his Mick Jagger-esque locks and floral suits, under siege on the beaches of northern France (rather than under siege from hordes of teenage girls). Did a short comic …

Britain could become basketball’s latest global outpost

FOR ONE night a year the O2 Arena, London’s biggest indoor stadium, belongs to basketball. On January 11th the 20,000-seat venue hosted its eighth regular-season fixture since 2011, between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, the former of whom are genuine championship contenders this season in the National Basketball …

Is art-connoisseur yet another job threatened by technology?

THE patient is carefully positioned on a pristine rectangular table. A signal is given, and from behind a glass wall, a technician directs an X-ray machine overhead. Zapping begins. This is not a hospital. It is the conservation laboratory of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Visits here were part of the …