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Douglas Mair

The global economy is battling financial crisis and recession on an unprecedented scale. Reisman's book Democracy and Exchange reviews the contributions of a number of thinkers including Adam Smith and Joseph Schumpeter to the task of making ordinary people feel tolerably happy with the outcomes that affect their lives. The article argues that although Smith is viewed as the principal figure in the Scottish political economy tradition, there are other writers, notably John Rae whose ideas may have more contemporary relevance than those of Smith. A return to the ideas of Rae and Schumpeter, particularly on fiscal policy, may provide important insights into the financial crisis.