Alcaly, Roger E. 1941-
ALCALY, Roger E. 1941-
Agent—c/o Author Mail, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 19 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003.
Mount Lucas Management Corporation, Princeton, NJ, principal. Formerly taught economics at Columbia University, New York, NY; worked as a senior economist at the Reserve Bank of New York, and served as assistant director of the Council on Wage and Price Stability.
The New Economy: What It Is, How It Happened, and Why It Is Likely to Last, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2003, also published as The New Economy: What It Is, How It Happened, and What it Means for America's Future, 2004.
Also a contributor to New York Review of Books. Editor (with David Mermelstein) of The Fiscal Crisis of American Cities: Essays on the Political Economy of Urban America with Special Reference to New York, Vintage Books (New York, NY) 1977.
Roger E. Alcaly has taught at Columbia University, served as assistant director of the Council on Wage and Price Stability under President Carter and as a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York before he became principal of the Mount Lucas Management Corporation investment firm in Princeton, New Jersey. There he bore first-hand witness to the American economic boom of the 1990s. The subsequent bursting of the economic bubble in 1999 did not, however, discourage Alcaly's faith. Whereas twenty-six years earlier, his book The Fiscal Crisis of American Cities had painted a bleak picture of a collapsing economic landscape, Alcaly's 2003 book The New Economy: What It Is, How It Happened, and Why It Is Likely to Last took the opposite stance, looking at an economy in what he considers a temporary setback and predicting its strong and lasting future. Alcaly examines the computer revolution of the past thirty years, the rise of junk bonds and corporate takeovers in the 1980s, the stock market today, and positive manufacturing production trends, all of which, thanks to technological innovation, have created the "new economy."
In Issues in Science and Technology, Kenneth Flamm wrote, "The book contains a useful introduction for a lay reader to a set of topics that academic economists interested in the interaction between high technology and U.S. economic growth have been struggling with over the past decade." A reviewer for Kirkus Reviews noted that Alcaly "does present a reasoned and reasonable history of the recent American economy and argues forcefully, if not always persuasively, that such new technologies as telecommunications and computers will be the straws that stir our freshened economic drinks." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly, however, felt that while the theory offered in Alcaly's book is "thought-provoking," that he "doesn't defend this thesis systematically" and found that the chapters serve more as "independent essays" that "are only tangentially related." In the end, Publishers Weekly concluded that Alcaly "presents a wealth of interesting material, but doesn't integrate it into a satisfying whole." John Attarian, writing for World and I, observed that the volume "is a superb exercise in presenting economics in clear, accessible prose," and commended Alcaly's "masterful discussion of productivity and the difficulties in measuring it." He noted too that Alcaly excels "in explaining how American capitalism reinvented itself." However, he found the book weak in its sections on the stock market and junk bonds, noting that "Alcaly ties this material only weakly to the new economy" and that the "coverage of the junk bond market and corporate takeovers of the 1980s and '90s is largely superfluous." Stephen Baker of Business Week asserted that Alcaly "often strays from his line of argument," but that "still, he makes a solid case that a New Economy is upon us." In Institutional Investor, Deepak Gopinath concluded that "even if his optimism is not altogether persuasive, Alcaly offers a useful historical perspective."
In 1977, Alcaly edited, with David Mermelstein, The Fiscal Crisis of American Cities: Essays on the Political Economy of Urban America with Special Reference to New York. The collection's twenty-three pieces were chosen to present a wide range of approaches to the subject of the crisis facing America's cities in the mid-1970s. A reviewer for Kirkus Reviews noted that the essays "take divergent positions, make mutually contradictory assertions, and cite irreconcilable statistics," but felt "the organizational weakness of the collection does not lessen its utility as a source of fresh, penetrating analysis." Philip Mattera of Library Journal felt the book's more radical essays "attempt to give fresh and provocative accounts of the crisis, but end up offering a series of vague formulas." In Booklist Connie Fletcher praised the book's "timely, readable articles." Carrie Johnson, writing for the Washington Post, noted Alcaly and Mermelstein's position as "radical economists" who blame the financial failure of New York on "the capitalist system." She observed that the book's "perspectives range from moderate … to explicitly Marxist," but called it "a substantial collection, not just a glib anticapitalist screed," and added that "one does not have to accept radical premises or conclusions to find value in this book."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 1977, Connie Fletcher, review of The Fiscal Crisis of American Cities: Essays on the Political Economy of Urban America with Special Reference to New York, p. 1477; May 15, 2003, Mary Whaley, review of The New Economy: What It Is, How It Happened, and Why It Is Likely to Last, p. 1623.
Business Week, November 3, 2003, Stephen Baker, "Info-Tech Payoff," review of The New Economy, p. 21.
Institutional Investor, July, 2003, Deepak Gopinath, "The Bubble Wasn't All Bad," review of The New Economy, p. 80.
Issues in Science and Technology, fall, 2003, Kenneth Flamm, review of The New Economy, p. 82.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 1976, review of The Fiscal Crisis of American Cities, p. 1334; April 1, 2003, review of The New Economy, p. 513.
Library Journal, January 1, 1977, Philip Mattera, review of The Fiscal Crisis of American Cities, p. 98; May 1, 2003, Steven J. Mayover, review of The New Economy, p. 131.
News & Observer (Raleigh, NC), December, 7, 2003, Peter A. Coclanis, review of The New Economy.
Publishers Weekly, May 12, 2003, review of The New Economy, p. 59.
Washington Post, March 13, 1977, Carrie Johnson, review of The Fiscal Crisis of American Cities, p. E3.
World and I, December, 2003, John Attarian, "Wishful Thinking: Examining Modern American Capitalism, Two New Books Make Good Points but Ignore Realities That Demolish Their Optimism," review of The New Economy, p. 216.
Amherst Magazine,http://www.amherst.edu/ (March 6, 2004), Walter Nicholson, review of The New Economy.
Innovation Watch,http://www.innovationwatch.com/ (March 6, 2004), review of The New Economy.