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September 21st 2010 print

Steven Kates

Waffle Street

It is a book that you might actually want to read since it provides a practical application of the principles behind Say’s Law in an actually funny real life human setting.

I wouldn’t actually mention this but I feel I must on two counts. There is, firstly, just to note that my views on Say’s Law have entered world literature in a reasonably subtle way that has given me that exquisite momentary pleasure – and it is unfortunately momentary – that any author feels when someone say something nice about their book.

The second reason I mention it is because it is a book that you might actually want to read since it provides a practical application of the principles behind Say’s Law in an actually funny real life human setting.  

This is an email I received the other day from a fellow in the United States by name of James Adams, who had worked on a hedge fund for nine years before being sacked. He tells the story more fully below and there is more on his website: 

I’m writing to thank you for your great contribution to economic literature. Say’s Law and the Keynesian Revolution: How Macroeconomic Theory Lost Its Way is a book par excellence. I have never encountered a text that explains the business cycle so cogently and provides a thorough repudiation of Keynesian economics to boot. In particular, I appreciate your explanation that changes in liquidity preferences and fluctuations in the general employment level in no way invalidate Say’s Law. 

I’ve recently completed a non-fiction book of my own. A fuller description of Waffle Street: The Confession & Rehabilitation of a Financier is available on my website, but the "hook" is that readers of all stripes will enjoy watching a financial market professional receive his first "real education" in  economics as he spends six months waiting tables on the weekend graveyard shift at Waffle House (a chain of 24-hour diners popular in the Southeastern U.S.). 

Waffle Street is a lighthearted personal narrative which uses anecdotes from my recent foray into table waiting as a vehicle for imparting economic principles to the general reader. Although the book is written in a generally humorous tone, I also incorporated two serious overarching financial themes: 1) consumption is always constrained by production, and 2) the abuse of debt frequently destabilizes households, banks, and governments alike. 

Working in a restaurant for the first time in my life, I gained a visceral appreciation for the principle that no lunch is ever free. Waffle Street is a wake-up call to return to the principles of Classical economics and "true" capitalism, which financiers, economists, and politicians alike have largely neglected for the past seventy years. In particular, the book reclaims Say’s Law as the cornerstone of sound economic theory. I could never have written it absent the influence of Say’s Law and the Keynesian Revolution, and cannot thank you enough for explaining macroeconomics in such a lucid manner. Please keep up the great work. 

The excerpt from Waffle House dealing with Say’s Law is here…