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Common Knowledge 9.1 (2003) 165
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Peter Bauer, From Subsistence to Exchange and Other Essays, intro. Amartya Sen (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000), 153 pp.
This phalanx of twelve essays on the right flank by an original and independent thinker is evidence of how Developmental Economics involves forays into Political Economy. The articles reprinted here, some in revised form, embody Lord Bauer's ventures in this area over the last quarter of the twentieth century. His allies and foes remained remarkably consistent during this period. Differences in the economic achievement of various groups, he and his allies maintain, are a measure of their varying ambition, energy, and skill. Other explanations form a Goliath of accepted opinion that Bauer sees himself opposing almost single-handedly. The vicious circle of poverty, Western guilt for helping to create and maintain Third World indigence, the contribution to that indigence of population growth—Bauer enters the lists against representatives of any such idea: against Marxists, of course, and liberals, but even against the papacy. Tilting at them all, he combats egalitarianism in every form.
Richard Newhauser, currently Visiting Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Nijmegen, is professor of English and medieval studies at Trinity University in Texas and a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge. His latest book is The Early History of Greed.