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Clive Crook

The New Economics of Having It All

You can't escape the trade-off between equality and efficiency.
Yes, but...

Yes, but...

Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Brookings Institution has just republished a classic study on  economic policy -- Arthur Okun's "Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff," which first came out in 1975. It's a favorite book that really shaped my thinking. Re-reading the new edition I thought it had lost none of its force. If anything, I think it's gained some.

A lot about the economy has changed since 1975. Okun died in 1980 (he was only 51), and we can't know how his ideas would have evolved. To my mind, though, his main idea remains fundamental: