Charles R. Morris, iconoclastic author on economics, dies at 82

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Among his other books were “A Rabble of Dead Money: The Great Crash and the Global Depression: 1929-1939 (2017); “Comeback: America’s New Economic Boom” (2013); “The Wise Men: Warren Buffett, George Soros, Paul Volcker and the Maelstrom of the Markets” (2009); “The Trillion Dollar Merger” (2008); “The Surgeons: Life and Death in a Top Heart Center (2007)”, which analyzes the cost of care for the public and practitioners; “American Catholic: The Saints and Sinners Who Built America’s Most Powerful Church” (1997); and “The Magnates: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould and JP Morgan Invented the American Supereconomy” (2005).

Evaluating “The Magnates” in The Times Book Review, Todd G. Buchholz, former economic adviser to President George HW Bush, wrote of Mr. Morris: “I admired his willingness to delve into competing theories of Great Depression, sleeves rolled up. , impartially digging through the mire of academic research and the tumbleweed of the Dust Bowl.

Rarely allowing himself to be labeled, Morris would debunk what he called conventional conservative wisdom that raising the minimum wage costs jobs. He complained in the Jesuit magazine America that the country’s existing health care system benefits the wealthiest Americans. In an interview on the corporate blog bobmorris.biz in 2012 he criticized graduate business schools.

“Business schools tend to focus on topics that are suitable for chalkboards, so they put too much emphasis on organization and finances,” Morris said. “Until very recently, they practically ignored manufacturing. I think a lot of the troubles of the 1970s and 1980s, and now more recently the 2000s, can be traced fairly directly to the prejudices of business schools. “

In “The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers and the Great Credit Crash” (2008), which won the Gerald Loeb Award for Business Reporting, Morris accurately predicted the collapse of investment banking Bear Stearns and the ensuing global recession. .

He wrote the book in 2007, when most pundits were still expressing optimism about the economy. He also appeared in the Oscar-winning documentary “Inside Job” (2010) on the 2008 financial crisis.

“I think we are heading towards the mother of all accidents,” Morris wrote to his editor, Peter Osnos, the founder of Public Affairs Books, in early 2007, adding: “It will happen in the summer. 2008, I think. “

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 do it so early?'”


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