Robert J. Samuelson on The Great Inflation and Its Aftermath

How Reagan and Volcker tamed economic policy—and why Obama should be listening

Attachments:
podcasts/samuelson_mp3.mp3 (17.4 MB) — Samuelson

For the past quarter-century, Robert J. Samuelson has written about business, politics, and economics for The Washington Post and Newsweek.

His masterful and eminently readable new book, The Great Inflation and Its Aftermath: The Past and Future of American Affluence, may just be the most important non-fiction volume published this year-or next year, for that matter. Certainly, in a world of economic chaos and seemingly never-ending bailouts and "stimulus packages," The Great Inflation is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding what happens when the government tries to tame the business cycle and fine-tune the economy as if it were a two-stroke engine. (Are you listening, Henry Paulson? George W. Bush? Congress? Barack Obama?)

The Great Inflation tells the story of how smug economists and politicians in the post-war era almost wrecked the U.S. and how President Ronald Reagan and Federal Reserve head Paul Volcker tamed double-digit inflation in the 1980s. Samuelson provides a rich history of wisdom triumphing over hubris-and he provides a singular commentary on just where the U.S. economy might be headed for the next decade or more.

Samuelson sat down with reason.tv's Nick Gillespie in December for a wide-ranging conversation about economics, media, politics, and the desperate need for reality-based commentary. The interview was filmed by Michael C. Moynihan and edited by Dan Hayes. Approximately 50 minutes.

Go here for embed code, related materials, and HD and iPod versions.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement