This is a small book about a big topic. This is not the usual book on inflation, simplified- or oversimplified- to make accepted doctrines intelligible to the layman. It presents a new plan- MAP (Market Anti-inflation Plan)- that makes it possible to succeed in curing our inflation. The ideas in it are not easily absorbed. They form a radical new framework- a new way of looking at inflation, and indeed at all macroeconomics, which is at the same time only a synthesis of many divergent old trains of thought. As Albert Einstein said, "Ideas should be expressed as simply as possible, but not more so." We think we have made the book intelligible to nonspecialists, even though its ideas are challenging for all readers, and perhaps even more so for advanced economists.
We approach inflation as an economic problem, but we make allowances for political realities in designing MAP. Although we believe MAP should be adopted in some form, the book is not written from an advocatory position. We try to consider all arguments, both pro and con, and do not attempt to minimize potential difficulties.
The methodology is realytic*- an unusual word that indicates a contrast with analytic. This means that we are primarily concerned with solving real problems. We believe that the book also contributes importantly to extending theoretical understanding, but it does this only where necessary to solve the problem at hand.
There are fifteen chapters. Chapter 1 introduces and summarizes the MAP concept. Chapters 2-5 present the theory of MAP and the story of its development. Chapter 6 contains the formal MAP framework, and Chapter 7 examines some of the ways the framework can be fleshed out for practical applications. Chapter 8 investigates the problems of starting up MAP. The rest of the book is devoted to clearing up misunderstandings and tying up loose ends- at least those we have anticipated.
||Abba P. Lerner
||David C. Colander
*Professor A.C.Pigou (1922) used, perhaps invented, the word "realitic." We have spelled it with a "y" to emphasize its relation to "analytic" and to prevent typists and typesetters from "correcting" it to "realistic."