Flat Buster

Ed Leamer reviews Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat.

When the Journal of Economic Literature asked me to write a review of The World is Flat, by Thomas Friedman, I responded with enthusiasm, knowing it wouldn’t take much effort on my part. As soon as I received a copy of the book, I shipped it overnight by UPS to India to have the work done. I was promised a one-day turn-around for a fee of $100. Here is what I received by e-mail the next day: “This book is truly marvelous. It is perhaps the greatest book ever written. It will surely change the course of human
history.” That struck me as possibly accurate but a bit too short and too generic to make the JEL happy, and I decided, with great disappointment, to do the work myself.

Don’t let the opening fool you, in the course of much fun at Friedman’s expense Leamer does a superb job of reviewing economic geography, trade theory, and recent economic history.  And lest you think he picks easy targets, Paul Samuelson and others come in for some knocks as well. 

Hat tip to Prashant Kothari at the Indian Economic Blog.