A Review of Edmund Phelps

Mass flourishing: how grassroots innovation created jobs, challenge, and change

Originally published in Public Choice

James Buchanan argued that the role of the political economist is to “stress the technical economic principles that one must understand in order to assess alternative arrangements for promoting peaceful cooperation and productive specialization among free men. Yet political economists go further and frankly try to bring out into the open the philosophical issues that necessarily underlie all discussions of the appropriate functions of government and all proposed economic policy measures”(1958, p. 5). Although Buchanan is never mentioned in Mass Flourishing, Edmund Phelps, a Nobel laureate in economics, embraces this role of the political economist in analyzing the positive and normative implications of modern economic growth that began in the West during the early nineteenth century.

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