# Book reviews

Editor: Valentin Cojanu

### Review of François Levrau, Noel Clycq (eds.), Equality. Interdisciplinary Perspectives

François Levrau, Noel Clycq (eds.), Equality. Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Cham, Palgrave Macmillan/Springer Nature, 1st Edition, 2021, 356 pp

### Review of Edward Nelson, Milton Friedman and Economic Debate in the United States, 1932-1972 (volumes 1 and 2)

Edward Nelson, Milton Friedman and Economic Debate in the United States, 1932-1972 (volumes 1 and 2), Chicago and London, The University of Chicago Press, 2020

### Review of Stephen J. Macekura, The Mismeasure of Progress: Economic Growth and Its Critics

Stephen J. Macekura, The Mismeasure of Progress: Economic Growth and Its Critics, Chicago and London, The University of Chicago Press, 2020

### Review of Margaret Schabas and Carl Wennerlind, A Philosopher's Economist: Hume and the Rise of Capitalism

Margaret Schabas and Carl Wennerlind, A Philosopher's Economist: Hume and the Rise of Capitalism, Chicago IL, University of Chicago Press, 316 p., e-book

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### Review essay on David Laibman, Deep History: A Study in Social Evolution and Human Potential

While historical materialism and evolutionism provide similar explanations and ideas regarding the cause of long-term social change, the two theories are rarely used in conjunction with one another. In Deep History, the author David Laibman addresses some of the standard questions of evolutionary social theory and attempts to bridge the two concepts, by showing that historical and materialist explanations are present in both Marxian and evolutionary interpretations of history. His goal: develop a Marxist theory of history from an evolutionist perspective, and surmount the traditional confines of historical materialism, so as to embrace evolutionary conceptions in explaining social change. However, the unbalanced research methodology limits the reach and depth of Laibman's contribution. The two main shortcomings of his work are discussed in the following sections: The Audience Problem and The Evolutionary Problem.

### A Review of Christian Arnsperger, Full Spectrum Economics. Towards an Inclusive and Emancipatory Social Science, Routledge, 2010, 277 pp.

Many brilliant economists today do recognize that economics need to be reformed, but the vast majority of scientific works is still captive into the absolute rigor of the Cartesian paradigm and the finery of the Newtonian models. In this context, Christian Arnsperger's book aims to be a guide in the efforts to conceptually renew economics. As part of this endeavour, he pursues ambitiously to build a new sub-discipline within the economic science-Full Spectrum economics. The writing is mainly constructed on a critical and consistent review of the philosophical principals of scientific materialism and mainstream monism, on which Western Enlightenment was built, and of the current research methodologies applied in economics and founded on these principles. Enlightenment is disregarded as being based on mathematical formalism that looks for "characteristic universalis" (Descartes), absent from real world. The book is also a struggle to holism and transdisciplinarity, being indeed an enriching experience in logics, philosophy, psychology and economics.

### A Review of Jean-François Ponsot and Sergio Rossi (eds), The Political Economy of Monetary Circuits: Tradition and Change in Post-Keynesian Economics, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, 264 pp.

Admittedly, economics first aims at solving empirical problems-for instance, what are the causes of unemployment?-and, to this purpose, it elaborates on the principles of the working of the economy. Now, this book suggests a modern conception of economics, called 'monetary analysis'. According to the latter, the fundamental principles of the working of the economy are inseparable from money, while this primacy of money entails a specific way of solving empirical problems.

### A review of David Colander, The Making of a European Economist, Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar, 2009, 190 pp.

David Colander's book on The Making of a European Economist is somehow a natural continuation of his by now classic studies on economics education in the US and of his book The Making of an Economist, Redux [1]. The book is fascinating to read not only by someone like me who is not really an economist, but has been close to the field and has been teaching students of economics for a long time, but mainly by policy makers both in the field of higher education and in other fields like business where the larger aspects of societal changes are more and more apparent.

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### A Review of Moral Markets: the Critical Role of Values in the Economy, Edited by Paul J. Zak, Princeton/ Oxford, Princeton University Press, 2008, 386 pp

It is well known that economics does not understand values. It turns out, however, that a main reason for this is that it has not understood markets either. This collection of literature reviews, essays, and original research from the fields of primatology, philosophy, law, and economics grapples with the vexed relationship of values and markets but doesn't quite succeed in addressing it. While there is plenty of wisdom scattered across the different contributions, as a book it fails in its interdisciplinary task of integrating these nuggets, and it fails also to include all the disciplines which would seem to be relevant sources of insight.

### A Review of The Genesis of Innovation: Systemic Linkages between Knowledge and the Market, Edited by Blandine Laperche, Dimitri Uzunidis, Nick von Tunzelmann, Cheltenham UK, Edward Elgar, 2008, 285 pp.

Though almost onecentury old, the Schumpeterian statement that innovation is the true driver of welfareenhancing economic development captures the essence of today's knowledge economy. In his acceptation innovation refers to new combinations conducive to new products, new production processes, new markets, new organizational forms, and the discovery of new resources. Currently the fierce global race challenges nationstates and transnational corporations (TNC) to engage in the management of innovation in order to secure competitive advantages, hence their recurrent initiatives in science and technology (S&T)/innovation policies, and regional development. In a bestcase scenario this endeavour produces innovative milieux underpinned by vibrant interactions among major players (companies, research organizations, local communities, regional and central governments, etc.), and integrates them into other networks spawning knowledge externalities.

### A Review of Marshall and Schumpeter on Evolution: Economic Sociology of Capitalist Development, Edited by Yuichi Shionoya and Tamotsu Nishizawa, Cheltenham UK, Edward Elgar, 2008, 285 pp.

Joseph Alois Schumpeter (18831950) and Alfred Marshall (18421924) had more or less successfully delivered to humanity their vision about evolution and made connections between this and other concepts which deserve attention, such as development or capitalism. The volume Marshall and Schumpeter on Evolution: Economic Sociology of Capitalist Development is a tool for starting to understand these connections, and at the same time for observing the differences, if any, between the two.

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### A review of Peter Söderbaum, Understanding Sustainability Economics. Towards Pluralism in Economics, London, Sterling/VA: earthscan, 2008, 158 pages

It is almost impossible to read Söderbaum´s lucid critique of neoclassical economics and neoliberalism without having in mind the recent economic crisis as the background of his attack against the short-sightedness and inhuman corollaries of mainstream economics.

### A review of Ralph Harris in His Own Words, the Selected Writings of Lord Harris, Edited by Colin Robinson, Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar and the Institute of Economic Affairs, 2008, 343 pages

To many people market liberalism may seem a hard sell in our times, looking like a menace rather than an opportunity. It may require an extraordinary personality, shaped by a limitless altruism, to admit that the riches of a few could have been accumulated if more entrepreneurship existed. That was probably the lesson Schumpeter had drawn after leaving behind a bankrupt private bank in 1924, after a four-year stint as its president, and heading for academic recognition. Fact is that, if we count from the 1930s, more than eighty years of dominance of liberal thinking in the discipline of economics have left both ordinary people and scholars with a lingering sense of perplexity. Asking about the resilience of mainstream economics may sound tautological but noted thinkers did not refrain from doing the very same. John Stuart Mill knew that ideas had to wait for "circumstances to conspire in their favour" (p. 208) [1] and J.M. Keynes observed: "The power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas…soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous and for good or evil." Along the way, Hayek thought in his essay on intellectuals and socialism (1949), "it is no exaggeration to say that once the more active part of the intellectuals has been converted to a set of beliefs, the process by which these become generally accepted is almost automatic and irresistible" (p. 40).

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