Practically everyone has a cure-all for the American economy that is supposed to be new, but isn't. Zevin, vice president...

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A GREATER GOOD: Potentials for an Intelligent Economy

Practically everyone has a cure-all for the American economy that is supposed to be new, but isn't. Zevin, vice president for investments of the US Trust Company, traces most of our economic woes to inflation--a phenomenon that he ties to future expectations and various processes by which people spend more than they earn (or government prints more money to get things done), to the relative inflexibility of prices and wages, and other familiar causes. The inflation that resulted from the economic boom of the post-WW II period proved to be unresponsive to Keynesian-type solutions--increased taxation, public spending cuts, increased interest rates--because of the inflexibility of prices; so Zevin is not surprised that Keynesian measures resulted in both inflation and unemployment (unemployment is the logical outcome of such measures if prices cannot fall). As his way out, Zevin endorses the concept of ""indicative planning,"" which sets productivity growth goals, keys them to wage increases, and aims at full employment. This kind of planning should be geared to a relatively slow disinflation (Reagan's program shows the results of precipitous disinflation), and to the use of unused educational capacity for the reeducation of workers. At one point Zevin notes that this sounds too simple to be a plan, which it both is and isn't. It's too bad the text was finished before the French system of indicative planning ran into so much trouble. Zevin's run-up to his solution is long and time consuming, and the whole thing is less than startling. One more old new idea--and less useful, in book form, than Michael Evans' cure-all-cum-history, The Truth About Supply-Side Economics (above).

Pub Date: June 6, 1983

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1983