Books: Funny Money


by John Kenneth Galbraith

Houghton Mifflin

197 pages; $19.95

American economists are writers of humorous fiction, as the U.S.-budget fantasies attest, but John Kenneth Galbraith's droll, mannered novels are funny on purpose. In his first, The McLandress Dimension (1963), the Harvard professor introduced a concept that measured the time -- often a matter of milliseconds -- that public figures spend thinking of matters unrelated to themselves. The new novel, his third, explores the equally valuable IRAT, or Index of Irrational Expectations, a quantification of the collective wrongheadedness of the stock market. Harvard technocrat Montgomery Marvin, known for his...

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