Monday, April 08, 2013

Forthcoming short "jot"

There is an interesting new website called Jotwell, which stands for the "Journal of Things We Like (Lots)."  The basic idea is to recruit a bunch of editors in a given legal field, such as tax, each of whom agrees to submit a short piece (500 to 1,000 words) once a year discussing a recent publication - two years old or less - that he or she particularly likes.

The chief aim is to direct readers' attention to good things that they might otherwise have overlooked.  (As we all know in the "biz," there's a tendency for way too much written and none of it to be read by anyone.)  Secondarily, one could think of it as a nice corrective to the weakness of prevailing professional incentives to express appreciation for others' work.  Often, the reason for mentioning prior work is just to criticize it (or else to unselectively footnote-bomb the prior literature so that prior authors don't whine and the law review editors are happy).  While astute criticism may be a precondition for intellectual progress, perhaps the overall balance is skewed.  Third, there can be a benign conspiracy of the under-appreciated to say publicly about each other what they are unable to say about themselves.

Anyway, I agreed to participate as a Jotwell tax editor, even though I admit that I can sometimes be hard to please.  I've submitted my first Jotwell review, and will post the link when it's up (probably in May or June).  The subject, not strictly a tax piece but pertaining to global finance, trade, and macroeconomic policy, is Benn Steil's excellent and entertaining new book, "The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order."

No comments: