The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Christmas Shopping: required reading for Liberal Democrats
by Peter

Within the Liberalism2010 group, we have been talking about the sort of booklist Lib Dems should be working through these days. We can probably take a few classics for granted:

Mill on Liberty and on Representative Government;

Locke's Second Treatise;

Milton's Areopagetica (heavy going though, in my view).

Some newer items might include:

Ted Halstead and Michael Lind, The Radical Centre;

F.G. Bailey, Strategems and Spoils: A Social Anthropology of Politics;

Alison Wolf, Does Education Matter?;

In order to follow the history of polciy discussion in the Liberal Democrats, one might want:

Jo Grimond, A Personal Manifesto;

Conrad Russell, An Intelligent Person's Guide to Liberalism;

The Orange Book.

On Economics

Adair Turner, The Liberal Economy;

Joseph Stiglitz, Globalization and its Discontents.

On liberalism per se, perhaps

D J MAnning, Liberalism;

John Gray, The Two Faces of Liberalism.

All suggestions for extending or refining this list are welcome! (Is Jonathon Porritt's new book worth reading?)
posted by Peter Pigeon @ 9:10 am  
  • At 21 December, 2005 09:40, Blogger Peter Pigeon said…

    Sorry - I forgot to add that there should be something on the list on public-choice theory.

  • At 21 December, 2005 11:43, Anonymous James said…

    Sen's Development as Freedom is one I would recommend on economics too. He is a heavyweight economist (Nobel Prize) and is good on hard analysis but never gets away from the fact that it's all about real people and extending life choices.

  • At 21 December, 2005 13:22, Blogger Simon said…

    I ought to point out that Bailey's 'Strategems' was originally published in 1969.

  • At 21 December, 2005 13:53, Blogger Edis said…

    John Kenneth Galbraith "The Great Crash, 1929". At least - there are other bits of Galbraith worth reading.

    Karl Popper 'The Open Society and its Enemies' should be in the classics section. Certainly Vol one 'The Spell of Plato'.

    Geoffrey Vickers 'The Art of Judgement: Study of Policy Making'. Vickers is an important British thinker, much neglected.

  • At 21 December, 2005 14:09, Blogger Edis said…

    Another Vickers book 'Responsibility; its sources and limits"

    And one with articles by Amaryta Sen...
    "Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare" Edited by Kenneth J. Arrow, Amaryta Sen and others.

  • At 21 December, 2005 14:28, Blogger Peter Pigeon said…

    Edis, thanks for that

    I think Galbraith's "The New Industrial State" deserves mention, because of the discussion of the "technostructure". But it is pretty dated by now, I suppose.

  • At 21 December, 2005 16:51, Blogger MatGB said…

    John Rawls, A Theory of Justice; distinctly in the Locke/Mill tradition, but with a modern tint, don't always agree, but definately good basics.

    And I'll second the "something by Galbraith" sentiment, possibly Culture of Contentment?

  • At 22 December, 2005 16:36, Blogger Cicero said…

    Completely agree about Popper. I think that Friedrich von Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom" and "The Consitution of Liberty" should be part of most people's intellectual furniture- not to mention the essay that Margaret Thatcher never read: "Why I am not a Conservative" at the end of the "Constitution of Liberty"!

  • At 22 December, 2005 18:02, Blogger Patrick said…

    Part of Amartya Sen's writings are liberal, but part could be considered as criticism of liberalism. For authors, who have written about the problems of the developing countries from a completely liberal point of view, see for instance these:

    Peter Thomas Bauer:
    * The Economics of Under-developed Countries
    * Economic Analysis and Policy in Under-developed Countries
    * Dissent on Development: Studies and Debates in Development Economics
    * Equality, the Third World and Economic Delusion
    * Reality and Rhetoric: Studies in the Economics of Development
    * The Development Frontier: Essays in Applied Economics

    Hernando de Soto:
    * The Other Path: Invisible Revolution in the Third World
    * The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else
    * The Other Path: The Economic Answer to Terrorism
    * The Road to Capitalism and the Spontaneous Generation of Law

    Jagdish Bhagwati:
    * In Defense of Globalization

    Johan Norberg:
    * In Defence of Global Capitalism

  • At 22 December, 2005 23:27, Anonymous Mark P said…

    The classic Theory and Practice of Community Politics is still available from ALDC.

  • At 28 December, 2005 09:05, Blogger Edis said…

    The Truth About Markets: their Genius, their Limits, their Follies. The author John Kay has been an economics Professor, a Business Studies Professor and writes a column for the Financial Times. And he has plenty to say about the shortcomings of the American Business Model..

    If all LibDems read this we might avoid some bouts of Do-It-Yourself-Economics silliness (something Kay thinks Reagan and Thatcher were guilty of by the way).

  • At 28 December, 2005 09:42, Blogger Peter Pigeon said…

    There's a review of Kay's book here.

  • At 28 December, 2005 12:48, Blogger Edis said…

    An odd review of Kay… I would emphasize Kays opposition to the economic notion that ‘people do what they are paid to do, if they are not paid they don’t do it’ his support for initiatives that do what markets cannot (at least on their own) and his contempt for financial market speculators. And above all his demolition of the theology – which he explicitly compares to the Historicist determinism of ‘Marxism’ that says our economic institutions and the trajectory of our developments lead to an inevitable outcome.

  • At 29 December, 2005 10:29, Blogger Peter Pigeon said…

    There is of course a very long history of economic determinism (Malthus, Ricardo, etc). Ecologists are a newer version.

    Mark P mentioned the Theory and Practice of Community Politics. You can read it here.

    On a different theme, a good summary of economic policy since the war (and more particularly since 1976) is here.

    The latter is an academic article by Prof Colin Thain /who used to teach me Public Finance and Public Policy). It is a useful resource rather than policy prescription of any kind.

  • At 31 December, 2005 00:45, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'd also go for the sceptical environmentalist by the Norwegian bloke...

  • At 03 January, 2006 15:19, Blogger GoodLiberal said…

    How about some foreign affairs?
    Hedley Bull, Stephen Walt and Joseph Nye are all worth a look.
    on other topics:
    Nicholas Barr's textbook on the welfare state;

    Isaiah Berlin, although I enjoy his portraits of Russian liberals and anti-liberals more than his philosophy per se;

    Martin Wolf's book on globalisation

  • At 03 January, 2006 21:47, Blogger Peter Pigeon said…

    Thanks, Simon. I agree on Hedley Bull: essential reading for conference-goers.

    Perhaps Walzer (Just and Unjust Wars) too?

  • At 08 January, 2006 21:34, Blogger GoodLiberal said…

    I have Walzer on my bookshelf but have not got around to it yet!!
    How about some Krugman? 'Peddling Prosperity' and 'The Accidental Theorist' are great in that they are insightful while still readable by the layman. Samantha Power's book on Genocide is very good too.

  • At 24 June, 2011 12:58, Blogger jack said…

    The classic Theory and Practice of Community Politics is still available

    Made To Measure Curtains

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