Thursday, March 21, 2013

Double Feature: Death of a Salesman and No-one Makes You Shop at Walmart

I just realized that it's almost April, and I haven't written a single post this month.  Even though I'm ridiculously busy right now, I think I'll just get busier as the month goes on.  So, even though I have had absolutely no mind-blowing, incredible, amazing, earth-shattering ideas for posts, I think I'll just write a quick piece on the two books I've read this month so far.

The first one is Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.  I absolutely loved this play. The writing was really incredible; it was much shorter than a novel, but every sentence had so much weight. I can't decide whether I prefer this to The Crucible, but I don't think that matters.  When I start comparing work by the same author side by side I always end up not liking one of the texts as much as I had before, because I realize that even though one might be great, it's not quite as good as the other.

The other book I read was No-one Makes You Shop at Walmart by Tom Slee.  It's a really fascinating read, because he talks about individual choice and the free market.  He draws attention to how much emphasis we put on individual choice, and the importance of protecting individual choice, and "letting the market decide".  This book is essentially about how individual choices, even perfectly rational ones can lead to bad outcomes despite our best intentions.  He doesn't seem to think that Capitalism is a bad system, but just that regulation and group action are sometimes necessary to secure the best outcomes.

I'm not sure what I will read next, and I may need to slow down the pace of reading for the time being, but I've really enjoyed my March reads.