A recurring obsession of mine is the belief that the internet will facilitate works of scholarship and scholarly discussion.
Tyler Cowen’s review of A Farewell to Alms is a case in point. Marginal Revolution’s longtime blogger is of course more than your average Joe himself; he’s an established Economist with a solid reputation. His perspective alone is valuable.
In the comments section, however, you will find a debate of quite high caliber. Participants include Daniel Klein, who is another GMU Economist like Cowen, Gavin Kennedy, a semi-retired Economics professor in Edinburgh who specializes in writing about Adam Smith, and of course, the author of A Farewell to Alms himself–Gregory Clark.
I had briefly contemplated purchasing the book, but had put it off as I’ve enough to read already. After looking through this intellectually rich discussion, however, I have changed my mind and decided to acquire it. The debate has added a value to the book that would not have been there without it; I will not be reading the book in isolation but in the context of an ongoing discussion on the issues that it addresses.
Truly, the internet offers fantastic opportunities for this sort of event.