In the fall of 2007, when the U.S. economy first seemed in peril, I began answering reader queries here on the Business Desk. I still do so occasionally, but this page has expanded to include posts from eminent economists, "far-flung correspondents," and a variety of voices that have intriguing and/or useful things to say about economics, broadly defined. Please feel encouraged to respond to any and all of them.
This week, we are running guest posts from some of our favorite economists about the best economics book they've read in recent months.
Dean Baker: Amidst all the tracts on health care written by policy wonks in the last couple of years, people are likely to find Sick and Tired: How America's Health Care System Fails Its Patient (Polipoint Press, 2010) to be a refreshing change of pace. Helene Jorgensen, the author, suffers from chronic lyme disease. She is also an economist (and my wife). She recounts her personal struggles with the health care system while reflecting on the larger systemic problems. The book is less academic than most recent books on health care policy but nonetheless is likely to provide new information even to health care policy wonks.
Simon Johnson and James Kwak's 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown (Pantheon, 2010) is an excellent account of the problems in the financial system that laid the basis for the current economic crisis and have gone largely unaddressed in its aftermath. The book is especially valuable because Johnson, as a former chief economist at the IMF, has had extensive experience dealing with financial crises around the world. The book is written from the perspective of someone who wants to see capitalism work and can point out clearly why the current financial system is an obstacle.
Dean Bakeris co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.