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John Gray: Keynes, 19 November 2009

Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism 
by George Akerlof and Robert Shiller.
Princeton, 230 pp., £16.95, February 2009, 978 0 691 14233 3
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... this. Apart from a brief postscript to one of the chapters and a few remarks in the preface, George Akerlof and Robert Shiller’s Animal Spirits was written before the current crisis. Yet, based on research undertaken over many years, it can be read as prefiguring the current disillusionment with economics. The trouble with prevailing theories, in ...

From Old Adam to New Eve

Peter Pulzer, 6 June 1985

The Conservative Party from Peel to Thatcher 
by Robert Blake.
Methuen/Fontana, 401 pp., £19.95, May 1985, 0 413 58140 3
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Westminster Blues 
by Julian Critchley.
Hamish Hamilton, 134 pp., £7.95, May 1985, 0 241 11387 3
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... who left as lasting a stamp on the political landscape as Peel, Joseph Chamberlain or Lloyd George. Lord Blake treads warily. Indeed, one of the disappointments of the later, added chapters is that he feels obliged to be indiscriminately polite to anyone not yet quite dead. Qui trop embrasse, mal étreint. His tribute to the organisational genius of ...

Informed Sources

Antony Jay: The literature behind ‘Yes, Minister’, 22 May 1980

... were writing the first script of Yes, Minister at the time that I was deeply involved with Milton Friedman in developing his series Free to Choose, which my company was producing. In the course of an editorial meeting, he observed that in fact the central practical issue of the next decade was whether the political systems of the free nations could regain ...

That Disturbing Devil

Ferdinand Mount: Land Ownership, 8 May 2014

Owning the Earth: The Transforming History of Land Ownership 
by Andro Linklater.
Bloomsbury, 482 pp., £20, January 2014, 978 1 4088 1574 8
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... Certainly that is the reputation which has stuck to his best-known predecessor, Henry George. In his 1879 bestseller, Progress and Poverty, George set out the same thumping principle which inspires Linklater: ‘The ownership of land is the great fundamental fact which ultimately determines the social, the ...

Holocaust History

Geoff Eley, 3 March 1983

... a capital ‘h’, and without the stronger proprietorial claims now well-established. Philip Friedman, pioneer of Jewish history under the Nazis, used it: but only as a descriptive equivalent with several others, and he seems to have preferred the expression ‘the Jewish Catastrophe’. At this stage ‘holocaust’ may have been more commonly attached ...

Palestinians under Siege

Edward Said: Putting Palestine on the map, 14 December 2000

... whose influential drummer-boy has been the New York Times columnist and Middle East expert Thomas Friedman. Last October, after seven years of writing columns in praise of the Oslo peace process, Friedman found himself in Ramallah, under siege by the Israeli Army (and under fire). ‘Israeli propaganda that the Palestinians ...

Ideologues

Peter Pulzer, 20 February 1986

The Redefinition of Conservatism: Politics and Doctrine 
by Charles Covell.
Macmillan, 267 pp., £27.50, January 1986, 0 333 38463 6
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Thinkers of the New Left 
by Roger Scruton.
Longman, 227 pp., £9.95, January 1986, 0 582 90273 8
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The Idea of Liberalism: Studies for a New Map of Politics 
by George Watson.
Macmillan, 172 pp., £22.50, November 1985, 0 333 38754 6
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Socialism and Freedom 
by Bryan Gould.
Macmillan, 109 pp., £25, November 1985, 0 333 40580 3
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... of redistributive intervention. But the flexibility of liberalism is also its strength. It is, as George Watson argues, a way of making choices, something that is not possible in either Marxist or Hegelian utopias. It prescribes a set of institutions, a framework for action to ensure what Rawls calls ‘justice as regularity’. But there is one respect, as ...

Good New Idea

John Lanchester: Universal Basic Income, 18 July 2019

... a floor below which nobody need fall even when he is unable to provide for himself’. Milton Friedman took on this idea in the form of a Negative Income Tax (NIT), one of the many subspecies of UBI. The government sets a minimum income figure: over that number, you pay taxes to the state; below it, the state tops up your income, gradually tapering the ...

Oh God, what have we done?

Jackson Lears: The Strange Career of Robert Oppenheimer, 20 December 2012

Inside the Centre: The Life of J. Robert Oppenheimer 
by Ray Monk.
Cape, 818 pp., £30, November 2012, 978 0 224 06262 6
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... a late-life role as a prophetic outsider.He was born in 1904, the first child of Julius and Ella Friedman Oppenheimer. His father was a successful cloak manufacturer, his mother a patron of the arts who adorned their apartment with her collection – which included a Rembrandt etching, paintings by Renoir and Van Gogh, and a Blue Period Picasso. She was ...

The Candidates

Chris Lehmann: Scott, Rick, Ted, Marco and Jeb, 18 June 2015

... to advertise their humble beginnings and unstinting ascent in the face of adversity. Even George W. Bush, with his Andover and Skull-and-Bones East Coast Brahmin pedigree, offered up his own version of the log cabin myth, alluding to his drunken youth and subsequent soul-saving entry into the evangelical fold, and taking self-deprecating potshots at ...

Rise of the Rest

Pankaj Mishra: After America, 6 November 2008

The Post-American World 
by Fareed Zakaria.
Allen Lane, 292 pp., £20, July 2008, 978 1 84614 153 9
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The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order 
by Parag Khanna.
Allen Lane, 466 pp., £25, April 2008, 978 0 7139 9937 2
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... In 1946, George Kennan, then the deputy head of the US mission in Moscow, sent a 5300-word telegram to Washington, hoping to alert his superiors to the threat of Soviet expansionism. Kennan had complained repeatedly and fruitlessly about what he saw as America’s indulgent attitude towards the Soviet Union, but for a crucial moment in 1946 his idea that the US should strike an alliance with Western Europe in order to contain Soviet Communism found listeners in Washington ...

Between centuries

Frank Kermode, 11 January 1990

In the Nineties 
by John Stokes.
Harvester, 199 pp., £17.50, September 1989, 0 7450 0604 3
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Olivia Shakespear and W.B. Yeats 
by John Harwood.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £35, January 1990, 0 333 42518 9
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Letters to the New Island 
by W.B. Yeats, edited by George Bornstein and Hugh Witemeyer.
Macmillan, 200 pp., £45, November 1989, 0 333 43878 7
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The Letters of Ezra Pound to Margaret Anderson: The ‘Little Review’ Correspondence 
edited by Thomas Scott, Melvin Friedman and Jackson Bryer.
Faber, 368 pp., £30, July 1989, 0 571 14099 8
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Ezra Pound and Margaret Cravens: A Tragic Friendship, 1910-1912 
edited by Omar Pound and Robert Spoo.
Duke, 181 pp., £20.75, January 1989, 0 8223 0862 2
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Postcards from the End of the World: An Investigation into the Mind of Fin-de-Siècle Vienna 
by Larry Wolff.
Collins, 275 pp., £15, January 1990, 0 00 215171 5
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Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age 
by Modris Eksteins.
Bantam, 396 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 593 01862 1
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Esprit de Corps: The Art of the Parisian Avant-Garde and the First World War, 1916-1925 
by Kenneth Silver.
Thames and Hudson, 506 pp., £32, October 1989, 0 500 23567 8
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... To live in the Nineties is to have first-hand experience of l’entre-siècle, a useful word I picked up from Kenneth Silver. Expect to see signs of what Henri Focillon in his book on the year 1000 identified as ‘centurial mysticism’, an affliction even more likely to be endemic when the century that is ending is also ending a millennium. These chronological divisions are meaningless in themselves, but, as Focillon argued, we tend to project onto them aspirations and anxieties which have quite other sources ...

Tocqueville anticipated me

Katrina Forrester: Karl Popper, 26 April 2012

After ‘The Open Society’: Selected Social and Political Writings 
by Karl Popper, edited by Jeremy Shearmur and Piers Norris Turner.
Routledge, 493 pp., £16.99, August 2011, 978 0 415 61023 0
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... In October 2011, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that George Soros had violated insider trading laws more than two decades ago in dealings with the French bank Société Générale. Soros has given billions of his personal wealth to fund liberal political organisations, notably his own Open Society Foundations, which operate on a global scale and have supported anti-totalitarian movements from Poland’s Solidarity to Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change, as well as countless other organisations that promote human rights ...

After-Time

Christopher Hitchens, 19 October 1995

Palimpsest: A Memoir 
by Gore Vidal.
Deutsch, 432 pp., £17.99, October 1995, 0 233 98891 2
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... for the rich and free enterprise for the poor’, which I think pre-empts Milton Friedman as author of that essential line about the way we live now. There is also a pregnant observation borrowed by Vidal from his post-war visits to the monkish cell of George Santayana. He judges the author of Egotism in ...

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