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25 October 1979
L’Ordre Cannibale: Vie et Mort de la Médecine 
by Jacques Attali.
Grasset, 325 pp.
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... One of the​ more mournful consequences of the economic crisis is the boom in the business of illness. This is in one sense a figure of speech. The economies of the West are evidently unwell: since 1973, they have been obsessed with the etiology of economic impairment, the electroencephalograms of unemployment and inflation. But it is also literally true. The medical economy is involved directly in ...

Putting down

Emma Rothschild

4 June 1981
The Zero-Sum Society 
by Lester Thurow.
Harper and Row, 230 pp., £7.95, February 1981, 0 465 09384 1
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... Times are dire for economists in America. The country is preoccupied with its economic misfortunes. Yet the most esteemed theorist of economic recovery seems to be the early 19th-century French populariser of Adam Smith known to Marx as ‘the inane Jean-Baptiste Say … [who] refutes himself again’. The most successful recent guide to the economy – a work called Wealth and Poverty, described by ...

Endless Uncertainty

Colin Kidd: Adam Smith’s Legacy

19 July 2001
Economic Sentiments: Adam Smith, Condorcet and the Enlightenment 
by Emma Rothschild.
Harvard, 366 pp., £30.95, June 2001, 0 674 00489 2
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... motivation was far from materialist. Smith, he argues, ascribed man’s drives not so much to the need for subsistence, but to the ‘delicacy’, or taste, which raised him above the brute creation. EmmaRothschild warns us that the shadow of Right-Left divisions and the fear of revolution have haunted understanding of Smith between his death in 1790, during the early stages of the French Revolution ...

Hangchow Retrouvé

Emma Rothschild

22 May 1980
... The city of Hangchow, in the 13th century, was transfixed by food. Its restaurants went in and out of fashion, and were commemorated in elaborate and scholarly guidebooks. There were restaurants specialising in regional food, fish restaurants, fast-food bars, restaurants which served iced food or vegetarian dishes. Its markets were ‘innumerable’, according to Marco Polo, selling game, varieties ...

The money’s still out there

Neal Ascherson: The Scottish Empire

6 October 2011
To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland’s Global Diaspora, 1750-2010 
by T.M. Devine.
Allen Lane, 397 pp., £25, August 2011, 978 0 7139 9744 6
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The Inner Life of Empires: An 18th-Century History 
by Emma Rothschild.
Princeton, 483 pp., £24.95, June 2011, 978 0 691 14895 3
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... Modern Scots feel that such relics have little to do with them. They are wrong, but who can blame them? Henry Raeburn’s ‘John Johnstone, Betty Johnstone and Miss Wedderburn’ (c.1790-95). EmmaRothschild has a written a strange, immensely thoughtful book which at first glance ought to complement Devine’s work. But it does nothing of the sort, attending instead to the history of ...

Counting weapons

Rudolf Peierls

5 March 1981
Britain and Nuclear Weapons 
by Lawrence Freedman.
Papermac, 160 pp., £3.25, September 1980, 0 333 30511 6
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Countdown: Britain’s Strategic Forces 
by Stewart Menual.
Hale, 188 pp., £8.25, October 1980, 0 7091 8592 8
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The War Machine 
by James Avery Joyce.
Quartet, 210 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 7043 2254 4
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Protest and Survive 
edited by E.P. Thompson and Dan Smith.
Penguin, 262 pp., £1.50, October 1980, 0 14 052341 3
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... Nato’s reliance on tactical nuclear arms, but not as Thompson would like it, as an exercise in unilateral nuclear disarmament which, he hopes, would be infectious. In ‘The American Arms Boom’ EmmaRothschild describes, and castigates, the growing expenditure on arms research, development and production, and its motivation. Elsewhere, Mary Kaldor discusses the conversion problems which would ...

Plan it mañana

Geoffrey Hawthorn: Albert O. Hirschman

10 September 2014
Wordly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman 
by Jeremy Adelman.
Princeton, 740 pp., £27.95, April 2013, 978 0 691 15567 8
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The Essential Hirschman 
edited by Jeremy Adelman.
Princeton, 367 pp., £19.95, October 2013, 978 0 691 15990 4
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... collection of 16 pieces and might serve as well as any as a conclusion. Except that one of Hirschman’s favourite injunctions from Flaubert was to guard against ‘la rage de vouloir conclure’. EmmaRothschild and Amartya Sen, in a short note here on his economic heterodoxies, are among the few to heed it. Some, being American, have praised his commitment to liberty, but he rarely and then ...

Tunnel Vision

Jenny Diski: Princess Diana

2 August 2007
The Diana Chronicles 
by Tina Brown.
Century, 481 pp., £18.99, June 2007, 978 1 84605 286 6
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by Sarah Bradford.
Penguin, 443 pp., £7.99, July 2007, 978 0 14 027671 8
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... had a couple of lunches with Diana (Four Seasons, Anna Wintour, a charity do). Moreover, as she lists in her seven pages of acknowledgments, she knows all (two full pages) the right people (Lord Rothschild, Henry Kissinger, Bruce Oldfield, Emma Soames), quantities (three paragraphs) of the right researchers, and even the right London hotel owner, who made ‘a room available every time I hit town ...


Lidija Haas: Candia McWilliam

6 January 2011
What to Look for in Winter: A Memoir in Blindness 
by Candia McWilliam.
Cape, 482 pp., £18.99, August 2010, 978 0 224 08898 5
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... an entire antique ruby parure after only one meeting’ and, years later, shot himself on Valentine’s Day; that the only person who could help Rosa while she was dying was their other schoolfriend Emma, ‘who has inherited from her own mother the gift of healing hands’; that Emma’s mother wears lipstick called Un-shy Violet and ‘is named Kiloran after a bay on the island of Colonsay’; that ...

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