In This Review

The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers
The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers
By Mark Skousen
M. E. Sharpe, 2001, 487 pp

For those interested in the history of economic ideas, this book is both fascinating and infuriating. It is credulous or disingenuous on supply-side economics, naive on macroeconomics, almost silent on the sources of long-term growth, and prone to judge every economist by whether he favors any kind of government intervention (bad) or none at all (good). Nonetheless, it offers an engaging, readable, and even colorful review of the major economists starting with the author's hero, Adam Smith, including entertaining excursions into their personal lives. It also has a clear if occasionally tendentious exposition of basic economic principles and their influence on subsequent economic thought. The book provides unwitting support for the pungent observation of John Maynard Keynes (a thinker the author abhors) that practical men who consider themselves beyond the world of ideas are usually slaves to some defunct economist.