Art Carden Praises “Openness to Creative Destruction”

Economist Art Carden has written a fine review of my Openness book under the title “New Ideas Are the Key to Economic Development.” The review is fair, mostly positive, and well-written. His main reservation is that he sides with many other distinguished libertarians, but against me, on my argument that the patent system should be reformed rather than abolished.

Here is the final paragraph of Carden’s review:

I am glad to see Openness to Creative Destruction appear in print. It strikes a fine balance between detail and a big-picture perspective that, I think, can be read profitably by specialists and students alike. Anyone who wants to understand how the world grew rich and, importantly, what will sustain our enrichment would do well to have this book on the shelf.

Boudreaux Names “Openness” as One of Seven “Superb” Books Published in 2019

George Mason economics professor Donald Boudreaux, in his essay “Some Great Books for Stuffing Stockings” says “I offer here a list of seven superb books published in 2019 that your open-minded friends and family members are sure to love.”

I am honored that he included my Openness to Creative Destruction as one of the seven:

Arthur Diamond, Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. As does George Will, Diamond emphasizes the vital role played by individual entrepreneurs in helping to create modern mass prosperity. (The accounts of the challenges and efforts of flesh-and-blood entrepreneurs through the years is alone worth the price of this book.) And as does Deirdre McCloskey, Diamond recognizes also the importance of widespread respect for innovators and businesspeople. Making clear that modernity’s prosperity is the result of creative destruction, this book offers an unusually effective and powerful explanation of genuine market competition and a brilliant brief for its indispensability and for its goodness.

Openness on Display at Oxford Booth at AEA Meetings

Does Musk Want to Reach Mars or Conspicuously Consume Real Estate?

In my book Openness to Creative Destruction, I describe and praise those who I call “project entrepreneurs.” These are innovative entrepreneurs, like Walt Disney and Cyrus Field, who are motivated primarily by a desire to bring their project into the world, rather than a desire for conspicuous personal consumption. I have been unsure whether to count Elon Musk as a project entrepreneur. The evidence quoted below suggests the answer is “no.”

(p. M1) Over the last seven years, Mr. Musk and limited-liability companies tied to him have amassed a cluster of six houses on two streets in the “lower” and “mid” areas of the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, a celebrity-filled, leafy enclave near the Hotel Bel-Air.

Those buys—plus a grand, 100-year-old estate in Northern California near the headquarters of Tesla, the electric car concern he heads—means Mr. Musk or LLCs with ties to him have spent around $100 million on seven properties.

For the full story, see:

Nancy Keates. “Elon Musk’s Big Buyout.” The Wall Street Journal (Friday, December 6, 2019): M1 & M6.

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Dec. 5, 2019, and has the title “Elon Musk Buys Out the Neighbors.”)

My book, mentioned at the top, is:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Wisconsin May Have a Robustly Redundant Labor Market

From Nathan Wiese’s description, below, Wisconsin is described in as what I call a “robustly redundant labor market” in my book Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism.

(p. A1) ROSENDALE, Wis.—Nathan Wiese, a third-generation dairy farmer who is struggling to get by, says even if he has to close his family’s farm, he feels confident he could hire on as a truck driver and take home more money.

“If you want a job, you can get a job,” said Mr. Wiese, who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and plans to do so again. “I could probably get one in one day.”

. . .

. . . in an era of severe worker shortages, people losing jobs when a plant or a farm closes are quickly getting scooped up by others. This provides a safety net in the broader economy by keeping incomes and consumer spending strong.

For the full story, see:

Shayndi Raice and Jon Hilsenrath. “In Wisconsin, Demand for Workers Buffers a Slowdown.” The Wall Street Journal (Friday, November 29, 2019): A1 & A9.

(Note: ellipses added.]

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Nov. 28, 2019, and has the title “How a Strong Job Market Has Proved the Experts Wrong.”)

My book, mentioned at the top, is:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Ed Cray “Was a Meticulous Craftsman of American Biography”

In my Openness to Creative Destruction, I used Ed Cray’s book on Levi Strauss as the source of my account of how Jacob Davis invented Levi jeans.

(p. B14) Ed Cray, a journalist and educator who explored a broad spectrum of Americana with well-regarded biographies of Woody Guthrie, Chief Justice Earl Warren, the California serial killer Juan Corona, George C. Marshall and the bluejeans maker Levi Strauss, died on Oct. 8 in Palo Alto, Calif.

. . .

He delved into broad subjects, including police misconduct and medical care (“The Big Blue Line” in 1967 and “In Failing Health,” in 1970) and entrepreneurship (“Levi’s: The Story of Levi Strauss & Co.” in 1978 and “Chrome Colossus: General Motors and Its Times” in 1981).

. . .

“Ed was a meticulous craftsman of American biography with a penchant for deep research,” Professor Brinkley said in an email. “What mattered most to Ed was being a judicious judge of the past. There are no false notes in his body of work.”

. . .

Professor Joe Saltzman, a former colleague at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, where Mr. Cray also taught, said in an email, “Although his books were not best-sellers, they always offered solid reporting and new insights into his subjects.”

For the full obituary, see:

Sam Roberts. “Ed Cray, 86, Biographer of American Lore.” The New York Times (Friday, November 1, 2019): B14.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the obituary was updated Nov. 1, 2019, and has the title “Ed Cray, Biographer of Woody Guthrie and Earl Warren, Dies at 86.”)

The Levi Strauss book that I mention above, is:

Cray, Ed. Levi’s: The “Shrink-to-Fit” Business That Stretched to Cover the World. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1978.