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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Charles R. Morris, iconoclastic writer on economics, dies at age 82

His other books include Dumping Dead Money: The Great Catastrophe and Global Depression: 1929-1939 (2017); Return: America’s New Economic Boom (2013); Wise Men: Warren Buffett, George Soros, Paul Walker and the Maelstrom of Markets (2009); The Trillion Dollar Crash (2008); Surgeons: Life and Death at a Major Heart Center (2007), which analyzes the cost of treatment for the general public and medical practitioners; American Catholic: Saints and Sinners Who Built America’s Most Powerful Church (1997); and Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J.P. Morgan Invented the American Super Economy (2005).

In evaluating Tycoons in The Times Book Review, Todd Buchholz, a former economics adviser to President George W. Bush, wrote of Mr. Morris: “I admired his roll of sleeves into the competing theories of the Great Depression. impartially delving into the mud of academic research and the tumbleweed of a dusty bowl. “

Mr. Morris, who occasionally allows himself to be typecast, debunked what he called the conservative conventional wisdom that raising the minimum wage was worth jobs. He complained to the Jesuit magazine America that the country’s health care system benefits the richest Americans. In an interview with the business blog bobmorris.biz in 2012, he criticized postgraduate studies at business schools.

“Business schools tend to focus on topics that fit the chalkboard, so they focus too much on organization and finance,” said Mr. Morris. “Until recently, manufacturing was largely ignored. I think that many of the problems of the 1970s and 1980s, and now and more recently the 2000s, can be directly linked to the biases of business schools. ”

In The Trillion Dollar Crash: Easy Money, High Interests, and the Big Credit Crisis (2008), which won the Gerald Loeb Business Reporting Award, Morris accurately predicted the collapse of investment bank Bear Stearns and the ensuing global recession. …

He wrote the book in 2007, when most experts were still optimistic about economics. He also appeared in the Oscar-winning documentary Working From Within (2010) about the 2008 financial crisis.

“I think we are heading for the mother of all accidents,” Mr. Morris wrote to his publisher, Peter Osnos, founder of public relations books, in early 2007, adding, “I think this will happen in the summer of 2008. “

Mr. Osnos recalled that after the book was published, “George Soros and Paul Volcker called me and asked, ‘Who is this Morris and how did he figure it out so early? “”

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