An original history of ideas, and an unforgettable portrait of power,
THE ECONOMISTS’ HOUR:
The Rise of a Discipline, the Failures of Globalization, and the Road to Nationalism
by Binyamin Appelbaum
Little Brown, September 2019
The story is of how, in the decades that followed World War II, a single academic discipline—Economics, one long seen as a “soft,” imprecise, and inferior science, much to the resentment of its disciples—moved out of the realm of the classroom and peer-reviewed journals and in short order took hold of the levers of power and policy in government, first in the U.S., and then around the world. For the past 40 years or so, most of the world has been living in what amounts to a grand experiment, in which the theories of free-market orthodoxy—lower taxes, low inflation, deregulation, free trade, markets in all things—have been put into practice in the laboratory of our lives.
It turns out most of the subjects don’t much like the results. And that we don’t quite behave in the way the Nobel-winning models and equations predicted we would. The Economists’ Hour is coming to an end, and the world they’ve left us with feels less predictable than when it began.
Binyamin Appelbaum is a Washington correspondent for the New York Times, where he covers the Federal Reserve and other aspects of economic policy. Before joining the Times in 2010, he was a reporter at The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and The Charlotte Observer, where he was part of a team of reporters nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for reporting that uncovered the earliest signs of the subprime mortgage crisis. Binyamin Appelbaum tells the story of the people who sparked four decades of economic revolution.