Dissing Development and Economics, Guardian Edition

"Gah! Bad Economics! Bad!"

The Guardian has produced one of those ‘we’re desperate for hits, so lets troll a little’ lists it’s so fond of, this time selecting the 100 Greatest Non-Fiction Books of all time. Though apparently selected by a blind man throwing darts in a library, there are some superb works in there – It’s nice to see EP Thompson and Eric Hobsbawm, though decidedly unsurprising.

What did jolt me a little was this: there is not a single book about development nor about economics in the entire list. They have one by Achebe (his famous The Image of Africa, which attacked Heart of Darkness and Conrad himself for racism), and they have We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, Philip Gourevitch’s excellent account of the genocide in Rwanda, but that’s it. The economics omission is sad, but unsurprising, given the poor quality of the Guardian’s economics writing in general; the lack of a single real development tome is astonishing, what with it’s high profile International Development blog and constant articles by impressive development thinkers.

No Das Kapital? No Wealth of Nations? Development as Freedom? Africans? Mystery of Capital? The General Theory? Asia’s Next Giant?

Some previous recommendations from me here and here. Please add in the comments any development or economics works that you think should have made it in.

4 thoughts on “Dissing Development and Economics, Guardian Edition

  1. Spun

    June 15, 2011 at 12:44pm

    Capital of course (although Communist Manifesto is on the list). You might also think Kindleberger’s ‘Manias, panics and crashes : a history of financial crises’ would get a look in given the state of the world (very readable on more or less the same subject is Chancellor’s ‘Devil take the hindmost : a history of financial speculation’).

  2. Ranil Dissanayake

    June 15, 2011 at 8:15pm

    thanks – I haven’t read either of the finance books you mention. Will have to get my hands on one. Chancellor’s has a great name – I might have to take that first…

  3. terence

    June 16, 2011 at 10:20pm

    If by great you mean influential, I reckon Stiglitz’s ‘Globalization and its Discontents’.

    Not because I think I’ll ever re-read it. Or because I think 20 years from now people will still be referring to it, but rather because it really did seem to shift the globalization debate a bit at the time. Thereafter, the IMF et al. relaxed their stance a bit, while at the same time it probably softened the stance of quite a few people in the anti-globalization movement.

  4. Jiesheng

    June 17, 2011 at 1:30pm

    For beginners: Stiglitz’s Globalization and its Discontents (oops Terence mentioned that).

    Beginners: Making Globalization Work (Stiglitz again, 2006)

    For those who wish to debate: Ha-Joon Chang’s Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective

    Advanced: Howard Stein, 2008, Beyond the World Bank Agenda: An Institutional Approach to Development

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