“That’s capitalism for you.”

The Cambridge History of Capitalism很多人(上至 Bill Gates,下至在下)喜欢阅读《经济学家》杂志,不是没有缘由的。比如这篇针对《剑桥资本主义史》(The Cambridge History of Capitalism)的短评,开头结尾都写得有声有色:

ECONOMICS publishing has recently undergone a great democratisation. High-quality academic writing was once confined to a handful of journals, mostly accessible in academic libraries. The journals still exist, but mostly serve to influence university hiring decisions. Writing has overwhelmingly gone online, where ambitious academics release free working papers, plug them on Twitter, and watch the discussion unfold. Though this democratisation has critics, it has vastly expanded the audience for economics writing.

This, in turn, may prime the market for another throwback: the authoritative collection of essays. For readers whose interest has been piqued online, the anthology provides an appealing way to learn about a range of subjects. “The Cambridge History of Capitalism” is an excellent example of the genre. …

[The Cambridge History of Capitalism is] a thoughtful account of capitalism. Rarely is economic history so accessible. Yet it is unclear who is meant to read it. University libraries will buy a copy, but the material is not especially rigorous by academic standards and is better suited to the ordinary reader. The price, however, is not. At £150, the work may not appeal to the casual economics readers who have benefited most from the online revolution. The publishers will have their reasons: large margins may be earned on limited sales to libraries and rich bankers. There is talk of a paperback version. But the upshot, for the moment at least, is that most readers will turn elsewhere for their economic history. That’s capitalism for you.

Capitalism through the ages: A grand tour

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