Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Nobel winner Robert Schiller recommends 5 books - beginning with Adam Smith

An interview with... Robert Shiller on Human Traits Essential to Capitalism

Schiller begins his list with The Theory of Moral Sentiments and includes a book I have long recommended to ASET book club:

Your next book is The Passions and The Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism Before its Triumph, by the great Albert O Hirschman.

This is a great book. It traces the history of an idea – an idea that is central to our whole civilisation today. The idea is that human nature is basically unruly and destructive, or has the potential to become so, but that we’ve designed a society that sets a space for this kind of impulse, where it’s acted out in a civilised manner – and that’s capitalism. So when we reflect on some of the horrors of capitalism, we have to consider that things could have been much worse if we didn’t have this system. Our fights would have been on real battlefields, rather than economic battlefields. That’s a theory, that’s an idea that really led to the adoption of capitalism, or the free enterprise system, around the world.

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