I just finished reading this long and boring book by Heilbroner about the West’s great economic thinkers… and I have nothing really to say. Adam Smith was optimistic for his age, Malthus gave us the over-population scare mongering, Marx was somehow revered, and Keynes was weird and brilliant. Keynes is in vogue right now with the Obama stimulus spending, but I don’t think he would be to excited about the government takeover of the car companies.
On to better and more depressing things!
My new book from the libray is Made in Detroit: A South of 8 Mile Memoir I was prompted to read it in light of a good review from Books & Culture . It is a memoir of growing up in the Motor City and witnessing its dreadful decline. The virtue of this book is supposed to be its observation of family-loving working men as the lifeblood of the city–not auto barons and labor unions:
It’s their business. Lurking in there, too, is the sense that taking care of one’s own is enough to ask of any man, and that there is little need for him to look outside this small sphere. My father kept up the mortgage payments, put food on the table, and kept his kids in clothes and Catholic school. The rest of the world was on its own, and insofar as its desires did not conflict with his own needs or those of his young family, he wished it well.
In the age of bailouts and bankruptcies such nostalgia is warranted. I am looking forward to the read.