Beth Popp Berman (@epopppp): Some thoughts in response to this review. First, I’m delighted that my book is getting attention beyond academia. 3000 words in the New Yorker is beyond my wildest dreams. Even if they're critical words. 1/

Beth Popp Berman (@epopppp): Second, Kahloon and I simply have different views on some things, which is fine. But I do want to respond to parts of the review that seem to miss major points of the book, or that are strawmanning the argument. 2/

Beth Popp Berman (@epopppp): A major thesis of the review is that economists have often been a source of progressive change and were architects of the welfare state. 3/

Beth Popp Berman (@epopppp): As stated, this is true—yet as a critique it misrepresents the book's argument. The subject of the book is not economists in general but what I call the economic style of reasoning—a simple, broadly microeconomic approach to policy that first gained influence in the 1960s. 4/

Beth Popp Berman (@epopppp): Most discussed in this regard—Henry Rogers Seager, William Beveridge, Mollie Orshansky—came from different intellectual traditions, primarily institutionalist. They did a very different kind of economics, and their contributions to the welfare state are orthogonal to the book. 5/

Beth Popp Berman (@epopppp): More generally, the review seems to think I am tilting at individuals and their politics, calling Kaldor a “bugbear” of mine despite his socialism. 6/

Beth Popp Berman (@epopppp): But the whole point of the book is to unpack the way that a particular toolkit—which, yes, is tied to, and reproduced in, the economics discipline—defines policy problems in ways that naturalize certain kinds of solutions, and make others seem unreasonable. 7/

Beth Popp Berman (@epopppp): The book says nothing at all about Kaldor, because Kaldor and his politics are irrelevant; what matters is how the Kaldor-Hicks criterion gets used in practice—as a way to bracket distributional concerns. 8/

Beth Popp Berman (@epopppp): Finally, the review argues for the objective superiority of many economics-inspired policies of the last forty years, using examples like the Acid Rain Program to argue that economics improves progressive policymaking, rather than limiting it. 9/

Beth Popp Berman (@epopppp): I think the Acid Rain Program was good, too. But the point is not that economics-inspired policies never work well, or achieve progressive ends, it’s that (e.g.) a commitment to thinking of environmental challenges purely as an externality problems has a lot of blind spots. 10/

Beth Popp Berman (@epopppp): It gives up on the moral power of environmental arguments, it’s been politically ineffective as a model for addressing climate change, and it underestimates the challenges of creating functional cap-and-trade programs in the real world. 11/

Beth Popp Berman (@epopppp): It’s not that econ-inspired solutions can’t produce results, it’s that too deep a commitment to them creates an inability to see those blind spots—and that that, in turn, has made it harder to achieve progressive ends. 12/

Beth Popp Berman (@epopppp): I’m sorry that Kahloon took away from the book a disdain for economics that I simply don’t have, referring to my “detested RAND-style technocrats.” On the contrary, I have a deep sympathy for what many were trying to achieve, and understand the allure of their approach. 13/

Beth Popp Berman (@epopppp): But I do think that the rise of economics had unintended consequences that made progressive goals harder to achieve. And that understanding—and overcoming—those consequences is critical to achieving them. 14/

Beth Popp Berman (@epopppp): The point isn’t that we should get rid of economic reasoning. It’s that economic reasoning is not enough.