<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d5529474\x26blogName\x3dDimmy+Karras\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dSILVER\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://dimmykarras.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://dimmykarras.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d2234159095245132931', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Jacoby on Economic Writing

In his Boston Globe column today, Jeff Jacoby unfairly criticizes economic writing. After expressing his disgust at an excerpt from Alan Greenspan's recent congressional testimony, Jacoby asserts:

"There is no excuse for economic prose to be so dull and sluggish. It shouldn't be any harder to write absorbingly about economics than to write about culture, science, or sports. As a discipline for understanding and describing the human condition, economics is at least the equal of the others. But a reader looking for feeling and eloquence doesn't typically find them in the financial pages of the newspaper or on the 'Economics' shelf at the library. Of course, there are lively and compelling exceptions, but all in all, economic writing is the driest thing I know."

Jacoby is making an invlaid comparison between economic writing such as Greenspan's testimony and the newspaper's financial pages with writing on other topics that is meant for a mass audience. Technical writing in almost any field will confuse and bore those who are not specialists. Vivid writing on economic issues does exist as well--I wonder if Jacoby's ever read Liar's Poker or Barbarians at the Gate, both of which you could probably find in the 'Economics' or 'Business' section of a library or book store near you.