On Ethics and Economics : Conversations with Kenneth J. Arrow book cover
1st Edition

On Ethics and Economics
Conversations with Kenneth J. Arrow

ISBN 9781138676060
Published September 1, 2016 by Routledge
242 Pages

USD $52.95

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Book Description

Part intellectual autobiography and part exposition of complex yet contemporary economic ideas, this lively conversation with renowned scholar and public intellectual Kenneth J. Arrow focuses on economics and politics in light of history, current events, and philosophy as well. Reminding readers that economics is about redistribution and thus about how we treat each other, Arrow shows that the intersection of economics and ethics is of concern not just to economists but for the public more broadly. With a foreword by Amartya Sen, this book highlights the belief that government can be a powerful force for good, and is particularly relevant in the current political climate and to the lay reader as well as the economist.

Table of Contents

The Triumphs of Kenneth Arrow

Foreword by Amartya Sen

Chance Favors

Introduction by Kristen Renwick Monroe

Chapter 1. A Life in Economics

Chapter 2. On Ethics and Economics

Chapter 3. The Global Economic Meltdown of 2008

Chapter 4. Information as an Economic Commodity

Appendix The Complete Works of Kenneth J. Arrow

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Kenneth J. Arrow is Joan Kenney Professor of Economics and Professor of Operations Research, Emeritus at Stanford University.

Kristen Renwick Monroe is Chancellor's Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine.

Nicholas Monroe Lampros is an Associate at Covington & Burling LLP.


For over sixty years this restless analyst has produced works of astounding importance in a variety of subjects.… Both brains and heart are immensely important in explaining Arrow's far-reaching productivity. Certainly, Arrow's extraordinary analytical power and penetrating insights have given him the capability to be so comprehensively productive. But, in addition, his dedication to clarifying the impact and implications of human decisions and their interactions, which can make a gigantic difference to the richness and poverty of human lives, has clearly been a constant motivation for Kenneth J. Arrow.

Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate, Harvard University, from the Foreword

No one has done more than Kenneth Arrow to define what economic theory is today. His story is central to the modern history of economic thought. In this beautiful book, he has given a unique personal perspective on this great work which will be valued for ages to come.

Roger Myerson, Nobel Laureate, University of Chicago

Kenneth Arrow changed my life when, as a math major in college, I wandered into his course in the economics of information. The course showed me how economics can use mathematics and other technical tools to study important issues. He won me over and I ended up doing a PhD with him. This book should give readers some idea of why he was so persuasive.

Eric Maskin, Nobel Laureate, Harvard University

These interviews are a true delight to read, reminding us of Arrow's clear-headed intelligence, marvelous good sense, and how his broad views emerge from his pleasure in systematizing guided by ethical concern. Arrow provides cogent, common-sensical explanations of how economies work… and has a keen eye for what we don't grasp about economies, such as the role of non-market social networks and relations.

Allan Gibbard, University of Michigan

Can you imagine having a conversation with one of the foremost social and economic thinkers in the world? Imagine no more. In this lively and engaging book, Kenneth J. Arrow—who continues to be productive well into his nineties—continues to enlighten us about the market economy, democracy, politics, social choice, and ethics. Few have done more to illuminate these fields, show how they're intimately connected, and why the connections are so important to understand.

Robert B. Reich, University of California-Berkeley

We are indebted to Kristen Monroe for a charming interview on ethics and economics with one of the great economists of our era. I enjoyed it thoroughly and am sure you will too.

Thomas C. Schelling, Nobel Laureate, University of Maryland