Saturday, June 15, 2013

More New History of Capitalism (aka lets just make stuff up)

Since the NY Times article on the New History of Captalism, I have been trying to catch up with the recent work in this field. Unfortunately, I was dissapointed by Jonathan Levy's Freaks of Fortune. I just started Julia Ott's When Wall Street Met Main Street. On the first page of the first chapter she declares that "Severe financial panics in 1873 and 1893 punctuated a prolonged economic depression, as prices, profits, per capita output and productivity growth fell steadily from 1873 to 1896." She does not provide the source for this statement. Most of it is not true. Prices fell, but real output per capita increased. Overall, the period was one of relatively rapid productivity growth.

This is a graph of real gdp per capita during the period in question.

Per capita output did not fall steadily; it rose unsteadily.
This information is not hard to find.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013