And this time, it’s a blind-sider. I really enjoy reading Ezra Klein’s blog. He talks about issues I care about, like food policy and health policy, from a wonky and left-of-center vantage. That said, I’m a little uneasy about his latest idea:
Dan Drezner offers a fun twist on the “Top 10 Most Important Books in International Relations” genre and looks at the Top 10 Most Important and Wrong or Bad Books in International Relations. Norman Angell leads the list for arguing that trade would end war. In 1908. Ken Pollack takes the tail with The Threatening Storm. I’m sort of surprised that Fukuyama isn’t on the list for The End of History.
That said, I like this idea, and am going to ask a couple experts for a similar list on social policy and economics. I’m going to restrict it to important and wrong. The world is full of influential bad books. I want influential wrong books. Obvious contenders are The Bell Curve and, for reasons of real-world impact, Marx. Or maybe Mao. Put your nominees in comments.
I can’t wait to see the list. Why is Marx an obvious contender, though? Is it Marx’s fault that Lenin ripped his ideas out of context in a way that would make him roll over in his grave? I think this is the exact wrong time to close ourselves off to Marx’s ideas. That said, when Ezra puts this list out, I can’t wait for some spirited debate about it.