The Price of a Free Lunch : The perverse relationship between economists and politicians by Alex Rubner
London : Wildwood House, 1979. Inscribed by Alex Rubner. First British Edition. Hardcover. 256 pages ; 23 cm. Price clipped dust jacket. Foxing to side page edges. Pages are unmarked. Binding firm.
Why are economists so irrelevant in the worlds of politics and business? Why do economists appear, in the words of Samuelson, the great teacher of economics, *like highly trained athletes who never run a race?
These are the questions to which Dr Alex Rubner — economic consultant and author of many tough-minded books on economic problems — addresses his, and our, attention. He describes how politicians and business men actually relate to economists in the real world and how economic theory translates into action.
Dr Rubner's book contains a rich vein of unfashionable truths — for example:
* that economists often turn a blind eye to the law
* that in our society sewage engineers are rightly more highly valued than economists
that the sexual peccadilloes of politicians should be suppressed or ignored
* that such noble virtues as hard work, thrift, technical ingenuity and managerial skill may be irrelevant to profits and living standards
that much economic forecasting is sterile
* that economic decisions are made in the corridors of political power.
Dr. Rubner draws many of his illustrations from North America as well as from the thick files of economic nonsense in post-war Britain. By the wit or horror or sometimes hilarity of his descriptions he makes his lessons a delight to attend.
Of a previous book by Dr Rubner The Sunday Times wrote:
'It is a robust mixture of Right-wing liberal thinking with a target which should appear to Leftish thinkers.'
Dr. ALEX RUBNER was born in 1920. He took his B.Sc. and a doctorate in economics at University College, London.
He has been writing on social and economic matters for forty years — with over 1,000 articles in academic, technical and popular journals to his name. He is also the author of a number of well-known iconoclastic books, among them The Ensnared Shareholder, The Economics of Gambling, Three Sacred Cows of Economics and Fringe Benefits: Golden Chains.
He lectures in many parts of the world at universities, business schools, management seminars and inside international corporations. In the last twenty years he has been active as economic counsellor to large corporations in several continents.
Although he makes it his business to say harsh things about economics, his passport nevertheless continues to describe him as 'economist'.
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