Brad De Long delong at econ.Berkeley.EDU
Thu Jan 27 12:29:58 PST 2000

>>>Are there any good books that discuss the World Economic Forum?
>>Lewis Lapham's _The Agony of Mammon_, which I talk about at
>I dunno, Brad, you seem as obtuse in your book review as Lapham was
>on the scene at Davos.
>In that review, you say: "In previous eras the meetings that were
>of genuine interest were those between princes to decide between war
>and peace, or between churchmen to decide which of their number were
>heretics to be burned at the stake and which districts would suffer
>the fire and sword of the crusade. But in this era people meet to
>talk about monetary policy, productivity, business organization. To
>me at least that is a very hopeful sign--commerce and productivity
>being much more pleasant things to experience than war or
>However, discussions about "monetary policy, productivity, business
>organization" and the like are anything but innocuous and can well
>have war-or-peace implications. Some time ago, I noted here that
>the comment "There are few ways in which a man can be more
>innocently employed than in getting money" was the silliest remark
>Samuel Johnson ever made. Your thinking and Dr. Johnson's seem to
>me quite similar in their complacency.

Well it *was* supposed to be a *deliberate* echo of Dr. Johnson. And I do agree with him: Economic Growth is at least a positive sum game. War and Theology are clearly negative sum games--as the computer said in "War Games," "...interesting. The only way to win is not to play..."

Brad DeLong

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