George P. Brockway was a husband, father of seven, book publisher and tennis player. Upon retirement he turned to writing on economics. He published a number of books on the subject (The End of Economic Man, Economists Can Be Bad for Your Health, etc.). He also regularly wrote an article on economics for The New Leader under the name, The Dismal Science.

This blog provides a way for current readers to gain access to the New Leader series. Starting with his first offering in 1978, before he had a regular column and when he was still running W.W. Norton & Company, through the use of the title “The Dismal Science” in 1982, to his last New Leader article, each has been posted.

In text he often referred the reader to earlier articles.  In this blog you’ll find hyperlinks to the targeted posts which provide the reader a navigation not available to the original readers unless they kept a library of the articles as they came out.  You’ll also find links, usually to Wikipedia, explaining concepts cited (like Say’s Law) or persons named (all the way from Milton Friedman to Stan Freberg).

By rough count there are 170 or so articles and letters that were scanned, edited, linked, categorized, tagged and posted.  Almost all are New Leader articles but in doing the work I found a paper on “an economic bill of rights” written in 1945/46 while awaiting a transport ship back from WWII in Europe.  Also available is a talk, “Ethics and Comparative Advantage” that might help the reader understand the philosophical underpinning of the economic arguments.

The WordPress site allows you to search on any term you might wish, or to search using so-called “tags”.  I have added a comprehensive index, from start to finish, with hyperlinks, to ease your journey.

I could not reproduce, exactly, the formatting of The New Leader.  In each post the title is an image of the title section from that article.  The body is scanned (where errors were made) and edited (to the original) text.  The New Leader published drawings and portraits in the articles.  They are scanned and re-purposed as best I could manage.

I began in May of 2012, took some time off for other matters and came to the end almost a year ago.  I didn’t want to post the last article, not yet.  Now, all that I have are posted.  One article, Beware the Sup-Symps, from March 9, 1981 is missing.  Also, I have not the energy to look through all past New Leaders looking for Letters to the Editor about dad’s articles (though a few early one’s are here).  I would love to have a copy of Gus Tyler’s “The Politics of Productivity”, published in The New Leader on March 22, 1982 and referenced in an article not long after.

I imagine that my father would have said this project wasn’t worth the effort while privately being pleased about it. At least that’s my hope.

I am not an economist and therefore cannot offer any academic observations about the content. I hope those in the know find them current and relevant enough to comment. That, above all, would make Dad happy.

Doug Brockway
Westerly, RI
April 17, 2018

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10 comments
  1. Received via e-mail from Don Lamm, colleague and successor to George Brockway at W.W. Norton & Co.:

    Dear Doug —What a master stroke –to put your Dad’s words where they can continue to make sense in a realm where nonsense rather than common sense holds sway. If only Milton Friedman were still around, he. who gracefully terminated correspondence with your Dad by writing “I’m afraid you are unteachable” — or words to that effect. A closed mind, though, is not a terrible thing to lose.

    All the best to all the Brockways.

    Yours as ever,

    Don

  2. Calla said:

    Interesting read and eerie how similar the situation is to todays economic issues. Wonderful to have these glimpses into a great mind to consume and consider.

  3. Chris Arnold said:

    Nice thing to do, Doug.

  4. It’s hard to find experienced people on this subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about!

    Thanks

  5. Hey Doug,

    I’m writing a book about presidents and their books for Simon & Schuster. I was talking to George Egerton, an academic who’s written on this subject, and he suggested that a few decades back your dad spent spent some time working on a book about this topic that never got finished. Do you or anyone in the family remember anything about this? If so, please send me an email — I’d love to hear if Mr. Brockway did any primary-source interviews or anything like that.

    Best,
    Craig

    • Craig – I’m aware of a monograph, “political Deals that saved Andrew Johnson.” It should be searchable on line.

      I’ll have to ask if there was more. My belief is if there is it’s notes and outlines.

  6. Milton D. Lower, PhD said:

    Doug: Thank you for making your dad’s work accessible online. I had the privilege of having a brief correspondence with him in the late 1980’s when I was Senior Economist at the Economic Policy Institute. I ran across your project reproducing his columns while looking for an article of his that I remembered from that correspondence. I hope to use his wisdom from that era in connection with a memoir showing the “eerie similarity” of economic circumstances referred to by “Calla” above as, in fact, a causal sequence.

    • Milton –

      I’m quite pleased that the work has been found this way. Put them to good use!

      I’m a little stalled, just over 1/2 way through the materials. You inspire me to load a few more. I hope they’re helpful, esp. in this electronic form where they are searchable, organized with tags, and where my father’s links between articles are made active through hyperlinks.

      DWB

      • Milton D. Lower, PhD said:

        Let your dad’s wo
        rk be the inspiration, as it has been to others.

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