In This Review

Openness for Prosperity: Essays in World Economics
Openness for Prosperity: Essays in World Economics
By Herbert Giersch
The MIT Press, 1993, 351 pp.

This volume gathers 20 papers by one of Germany's leading economists, written since 1969. Giersch is an old-fashioned economist, in the sense that he deals with fundamental ideas and he is intelligible to nonspecialists; there is hardly an equation or diagram in the volume.

Giersch is an unabashed liberal, in the European sense of the term: he wants government to play its necessary roles in society, but he does not want government to stifle individual initiative and entrepreneurship, which he sees as the well-spring of modern prosperity. The essays explicitly have a distinctly Schumpeterian flavor, emphasizing dynamism, change and "creative destruction" rather than long-run equilibrium, which is the dominant framework for most modern economic analysis. American liberals will consider Giersch conservative-until they read his trenchant commentary on the residual feudalism and more recent corporatism that hobbles European economies and societies. This is a useful collection in English of the thoughtful writings of a distinguished German economist.