Big blue plenty

Courtesy of the terrific weekly newsletter from Benedict Evans, this link to a terrific article about Krushchev’s 1959 visit to IBM in what later became Silicon Valley. This is a good excuse to plug again one of my favourite books, [amazon_link id=”0571225241″ target=”_blank” ]Red Plenty[/amazon_link] by Francis Spufford. The book also has a supplementary website with some fascinating short essays by the author – like this one on ‘plenty’ or (lack of) [amazon_link id=”0691156298″ target=”_blank” ]enoughness[/amazon_link].

Among the many reasons I love [amazon_link id=”0571225233″ target=”_blank” ]Red Plenty[/amazon_link] is that it must be the first time a literary author has been able to describe the formal equivalence between a competitive general equilibrium and a centrally planned economy, as set out in the socialist calculation debate of the 1930s. Anyway, the book starts with Krushchev’s 1959 US visit, although not his admiration of the cornucopia of food and democratic access in the IBM cafeteria in San Jose. It is a gripping read, a true story told with the verve of a novel.

[amazon_image id=”0571225241″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Red Plenty[/amazon_image]

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3 thoughts on “Big blue plenty

  1. Pingback: Big blue plenty | Homines Economici

  2. And for a different look at the 1959 visit, let me highly recommend “K Blows Top” by Peter Carlson, one of my favs in recent years … which is a riotously funny (but scrupulously documented) look at Krushchev’s trip to America.

    “Khrushchev told jokes, threw tantrums, sparked a riot in a San Francisco supermarket, wowed the coeds in a home economics class in Iowa, and ogled Shirley MacLaine as she filmed a dance scene in Can-Can. He befriended and offended a cast of characters including Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Nixon, Eleanor Roosevelt, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marilyn Monroe.”

    It is a great read.

    http://www.publicaffairsbooks.com/book/k-blows-top/peter-carlson/9780786741564

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