In This Review

Comparative Political Economy: A Retrospective
Comparative Political Economy: A Retrospective
By Charles P. Kindleberger
MIT Press, 2000, 500 pp.

This collection of previously published essays, spanning six productive decades, is vintage Kindleberger. It is erudite, informative, sometimes provocative, often charming -- and handles serious issues of economic and financial management, past and present, with a light but discerning touch. The book takes up issues with contemporary relevance, ranging from financial instability through foreign trade and economic growth to provision of international public goods. Richly laced with historical anecdotes and analogies, the essays also draw judiciously on economic theory. A continuing thread throughout is the ability, or lack thereof, of economies to adapt to new technologies, foreign trade, or other changes in circumstance.