Economist in the Pulpit

"Dosn't thou 'ear my 'erses legs, as they canters awaay
Proputty, pioputty, proputty—that's what I 'ears 'em saay."

—Alfred Tennyson

George Stigler won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1982, the second member of the Chicago School to win that award in less than a decade (the other being Milton Friedman in 1976). These prizes are highly visible evidence of the renewed respectability of neoclassical, freemarket economics following the failures of central planning, regulation, redistribution, and Keynesian fiscal theory. Both Chicago winners are great communicators and gifted essayists. The central concern of these two collections of essays is the state of economics as a scholarly profession. While this may strike many as a concern guaranteed to ratify Carlyle's description of economics as a "dismal science," nothing could be farther from the truth. Stigler's wit and style are as abundant as his knowledge.

The Intellectual and the Marketplace contains 18 essays constructed, as Stigler states in the preface, to "employ the weapon of mirth." The essays are primarily directed at economics as practiced in academe. Whether it is the teaching of economics or economics as an academic career, there is certainly no lack of targets for satire in the Ivory Tower.

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