EP 182 Brad DeLong on An Economic History of the 20th Century

Jim talks with Brad DeLong about his book Slouching Toward Utopia: An Economic History of the Twentieth Century. They discuss how everything changed around 1870, the idea of a polycrisis, Friedrich von Hayek’s affirmation of the market system, the calculation problem, Karl Polanyi’s response, a quantitative index of technological knowledge, the pace of growth, the necessity of a grand narrative, Malthusianism, the lead-up to the Industrial Revolution, the invention of the industrial research lab, the Edison-Tesla fight, science as an institution, the transition away from force & fraud dominance, theories about the rise of global empires, communities of engineering practice, causes of World War I, Max Weber’s German chauvinism, 30 glorious years of social democracy, the Macintosh launch commercial & the neoliberal turn, the evaporation of cultural conservatism, the liminal age, and much more.
Brad DeLong is a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley. He was a deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the U.S. Treasury during the Clinton Administration. He is a New York Times instant bestselling author, for Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Twentieth Century, which was called: “magisterial” by Paul Krugman, “required reading” by Larry Summers, “immense scope and depth” by Diane Coyle, and “impressive… written with wit and style and a formidable command of detail” by Ryan Avent. He has been too online since 1995, now in the form of a SubStack, formerly at TypePad.