Benjamin M. Friedman is the William Joseph Maier Professor of Political Economy at Harvard and the author of The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth.

 He is currently finishing a book on the historical influence of religious thinking on economic thinking.(October 2017)

IN THE REVIEW

Born to Be Free

Workers at TravelKhana, an Indian startup that books food orders for train passengers, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, September 2016

Basic Income: A Radical Proposal for a Free Society and a Sane Economy

by Philippe Van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght
The loss of jobs in a high-technology society—and, more than that, the downgrading of skills required and therefore of the wages paid for many of the jobs that remain—are likely to be the primary economic and social challenges facing the United States over the coming generation. The question is not …

On the Election—III

Donald Trump at the first presidential debate, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, September 26, 2016
This year’s election is not about economics. The paramount question is whether a person exhibiting no qualification for the office—neither experience, nor preparation, nor personal character—is nonetheless to become president. Yet economics is at the heart of the matter.

The Joys of Innovation: For Profit Only

Edmund Phelps, Amartya Sen, and Joseph Stiglitz at a conference on the future of capitalism, Paris, January 2009

Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change

by Edmund Phelps
In his inaugural address on March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to reassure his fellow citizens that he would devote full effort to putting them back to work and lifting them out of the widespread poverty and destitution into which the Depression of the past three years had sunk …

The Pathology of Europe’s Debt

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble before a vote on financial help for Greece, Bundestag, Berlin, November 2012
Today Europe is living through a difficult time. Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, has called the recent elections for the European Parliament “a disaster,” going on to conclude that “all of us in Europe have to ask ourselves what we can do better…we have to improve Europe.” But what is …

The Oligarchy in America Today

Robert Redford in The Great Gatsby, 1974

Who Stole the American Dream?

by Hedrick Smith
Alexis de Tocqueville began his classic description of democracy in America by remarking that what struck him most about the strange new country he visited in the early 1830s was “the general equality of condition among the people.” Much of the rest of what he wrote was an elaboration of …

Whither China?

The skyline of Shanghai, looking from the Haitong Securities Building toward the Pudong financial district, 2007

The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World

by Michael Spence
Westerners have perceived a potential economic threat from China for a very long time. Their chief protection, they thought, was the distance. In 1750 David Hume wrote that “a Chinese works for three-halfpence a day, and is very industrious. Were he as near us as France or Spain, every thing …