Beatrice Webb

The Triumphalist
November 09, 2011

The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution By Francis Fukuyama    (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 585 pp., $35) Ideas about what it means to be modern are soon dated. Not so long ago theories were in vogue claiming that a “scientific-technical revolution” was under way that would lead to a single type of government spreading throughout the world. Originally promoted by Daniel Bell in the 1950s, the theory of convergence suggested that the Soviet Union would evolve to become like the advanced industrial societies of the West.

Working in the Dark
September 28, 2011

Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius By Sylvia Nasar (Simon & Schuster, 558 pp., $35) I thought I knew what this book was going to be about when I started it, but by the time I came to the end I was no longer sure.