Ejcarter's Reviews > Against Thrift: Why Consumer Culture is Good for the Economy, the Environment, and Your Soul

Against Thrift by James  Livingston
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Jan 01, 2012

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I thought "Pragmatism and the Political Economy of Cultural Revolution" was a great book and was expecting to think the same of this one. But the economics, as far as I could tell, is just straight-up Keynesianism; I couldn't see what was new in his argument. (Other than the empirical claim that investment has been declining over the course of the 20th century, while economic growth was rapid). His account of the intellectual history of anti-consumerism was interesting, but even to a person who has trouble buying things without feeling guilty those arguments seem irrelevant and old-fashioned.
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message 1: by Tony (new)

Tony The Keynes model is still working pretty well today, my friend. Don't knock it out of hand. It's holding up better than most models these days. Just because you lived in Chicago for a bit, don't believe the propaganda that the freshwater economists are feeding you.

Ejcarter Oh, don't get me wrong, I agree with him completely. I just didn't see what was revolutionary about his argument.

What's a freshwater economist?

message 3: by Tony (new)

Tony Ah, sorry. There's a big rift among economists, creating two camps: the freshwater economists and the saltwater economists. In essence, the freshwater economists are at the University of Chicago and the salt water economists are at Princeton and Berkeley (hence the names for the camps).

What's the difference? The freshies make fun of Keynes and are advocating for supply-side strategies right now. The salties have modified Keynes and are advocating for demand-side strategies.

It's fun to see them go at each other. (Paul Krugman, Princeton economist, is great. You should subscribe to his blog.)

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