The Worldly Philosophers

Robert L. Heilbroner

Book cover

A great book, even with someone fairly familiar with the theories of most of the economists profiled. Heilbroner does a good job of telling interesting stories about each, and in particular, highlights the way that each was shaped by predecessors and by the events of his own time.

It was a bit sad as well, though, because Heilbroner’s ultimate conclusion is that the era of the worldly philosophers is over, for a variety of reasons, and we should not expect to see any more economists with such broad and far-reaching ideas. (The last one profiled is Schumpeter.) Indeed, the only subsequent economist I can think of who seems to fit reasonably well, in terms of style and scope of argument, is Minsky. I suppose the jury is still out on his ultimate significance.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars