Useful criticism | Bleader

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Useful criticism

Posted By on 09.21.06 at 07:23 AM

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Expect to see some vitriolic right-wing reviews of Jacob Hacker's new book, The Great Risk Shift: The Assault on American Jobs, Families, Health Care, and Retirement--and How You Can Fight Back. In it, he takes a hammer to the pretensions of the "Personal Responsibility Crusade." 

But don't waste your time with the wingers. For useful criticism, go to the good stuff--in this case, Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution, who gives the book a terse, rhetoric-free going over, pointing out where he thinks Hacker is right (income variability, pensions) and where he overlooked relevant data or failed to prove his case (families, savings), and linking to relevant papers. Most noteworthy is the latest information on job tenure from Ann Huff Stevens of the University of California, Davis: "In 1969, average tenure in the longest job for males aged 58-62 was 21.9 years. In 2002, the comparable figure was 21.4 years."

I learn plenty from economists and those who follow their work  But I try not to waste much time on those who pile on the adjectives or who rely on less than optimal sources in other disciplines. Cowen's a keeper.

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