“A distressing phenomenon is occurring throughout the industrialized world. Many community services have been deteriorating – fewer postal deliveries, larger classes in public schools, less reliable garbage pickups – even though the public is paying more for them.”
–Baumol and Blinder, Macroeconomics: Principles and Policy, 5th Ed., 1991
I so hated economics in college that I failed the only course I took. About 25 years later, I bought a used, paperback version of Baumol and Blinder’s Macroeconomics for 99 cents at the MSU bookstore. At that time I was working for Chelsea Hospital and reading about “Baumol’s cost disease” convinced me forever of the relevance and importance of economics. Baumol – like many of his postwar colleagues – remained a working economist into his 90’s, so he not only provided guidance in how to think but an inspirational lesson in how to live. I never met him, but as I write this his textbook, an old friend, sits open on my desk.