Markets and planners

I finished reading True Stories, a book of essays by the wonderful Francis Spufford. Mostly they are definitely not about economics but there is one essay about his terrific book Red Plenty. If you haven’t read Red Plenty, do so – borrow or buy it now! It’s a wonderful read. And for an economist there is the spine-tingling excitement of having the formal equivalence of a general competitive equilibrium and a perfectly centrally-planned economy embedded in brilliant work of fiction. If you don’t believe me, read Cosma Shalizi saying the same thing at some length, in In Soviet Union, Optimization Problem Solves You.

And by the way, True Stories and pretty much any other book by Francis Spufford are well worth reading too. Great writer.