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The Clash of Economic Ideas
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Book description

The Clash of Economic Ideas interweaves the economic history of the last hundred years with the history of economic doctrines to understand how contrasting economic ideas have originated and developed over time to take their present forms. It traces the connections running from historical events to debates among economists, and from the ideas of academic writers to major experiments in economic policy. The treatment offers fresh perspectives on laissez faire, socialism and fascism; the Roaring Twenties, business cycle theories and the Great Depression; Institutionalism and the New Deal; the Keynesian Revolution; and war, nationalization and central planning. After 1945, the work explores the postwar revival of invisible-hand ideas; economic development and growth, with special attention to contrasting policies and thought in Germany and India; the gold standard, the interwar gold-exchange standard, the postwar Bretton Woods system and the Great Inflation; public goods and public choice; free trade versus protectionism; and finally fiscal policy and public debt.


‘Larry White provides a fascinating look at the debate among economists about the ‘big ideas’ of the twentieth century - a great read for all students of economics!’

Douglas Irwin - Dartmouth College

‘The Clash of Economic Ideas is one of those rare books that makes the history of economic thought an intellectual adventure while remaining highly relevant to the issues and controversies of the present day. I have already used parts of the book in manuscript form and found it to be an excellent teaching tool. It captures the student's imagination and opens new vistas for exploration.’

Mario J. Rizzo - New York University

‘This clear, crisp, and comprehensive account of the clash over the role of government in the economy during the last century is most welcome. By spinning his tale around the many richly colorful characters that drive the argument, Lawrence H. White has made the pivotal clash of economic views that continues to shape the political debate to this day both accessible and engaging.’

Nicholas Wapshott - author of Keynes Hayek: The Clash that Defined Modern Economics

'For all of White's evident Austrian commitment, he steadily tenders to his adversaries a Hayekian courtesy. He is widely read, and the book's references constitute a stimulating reading list. And he writes well: each chapter opens with an engaging incident that beckons the reader to read on.'

Source: Economic Record

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