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Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism [Format Kindle]

George A. Akerlof , Robert J. J. Shiller
3.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Présentation de l'éditeur

The global financial crisis has made it painfully clear that powerful psychological forces are imperiling the wealth of nations today. From blind faith in ever-rising housing prices to plummeting confidence in capital markets, "animal spirits" are driving financial events worldwide. In this book, acclaimed economists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller challenge the economic wisdom that got us into this mess, and put forward a bold new vision that will transform economics and restore prosperity.

Akerlof and Shiller reassert the necessity of an active government role in economic policymaking by recovering the idea of animal spirits, a term John Maynard Keynes used to describe the gloom and despondence that led to the Great Depression and the changing psychology that accompanied recovery. Like Keynes, Akerlof and Shiller know that managing these animal spirits requires the steady hand of government--simply allowing markets to work won't do it. In rebuilding the case for a more robust, behaviorally informed Keynesianism, they detail the most pervasive effects of animal spirits in contemporary economic life--such as confidence, fear, bad faith, corruption, a concern for fairness, and the stories we tell ourselves about our economic fortunes--and show how Reaganomics, Thatcherism, and the rational expectations revolution failed to account for them.

Animal Spirits offers a road map for reversing the financial misfortunes besetting us today. Read it and learn how leaders can channel animal spirits--the powerful forces of human psychology that are afoot in the world economy today. In a new preface, they describe why our economic troubles may linger for some time--unless we are prepared to take further, decisive action.

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3.5 étoiles sur 5
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Ceux qui ont aimé "irrational exuberence" de Shiller, qui début 2000 avait prédit la crise des dot coms, apprécieront Animal Spirits. Une réflexion en profondeur sur comment notre psychologie influence notre monde économique, sur l'impact sur les évolutions économiques de l'équité (fairness), de notre histoire et de notre confiance en le futur. Un livre qui propose un nouveau paradigme pour comprendre et influencer notre monde économique. A recommander à tous les curieux de l'économie, à tous les décideurs économiques!
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0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Ok mais pas très bien écrit 7 octobre 2010
Par unaspas
Beaucoup de données, beaucoup de recherche... dommage que l'écriture ne le rende pas plus intéressant. Les conclusions sont assez faibles.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.5 étoiles sur 5  39 commentaires
21 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Could be better written, but accurate and important 13 mars 2010
Par Irfan A. Alvi - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
The main idea of this book is that, when it comes to economics (both micro and macro), individual and group psychology matters a lot. This means that economic models based on assumptions of rational agents and efficient markets are incomplete at best and misleadingly inaccurate at worst.

Akerlof and Shiller propose five key psychological factors, the most important being confidence (or lack thereof) in the economy and one's personal place in it. The other four factors are perception of economic fairness, perception of corruption (and actual corruption!), understanding of the effects of inflation (money illusion), and the narrative stories we tell in order to interpret our economic past, present, and future. The effects of all of these factors are generally amplified by feedback processes. I believe the authors are essentially correct in their analysis. After all, if you have bad feelings about the economic situation, you'll be reluctant to consume and hire. When a lot of people feel the same way, aggregate consumption and hiring will drop, and a drop in aggregate production must follow.

Akerlof and Shiller next apply these factors in order explain why depressions occur, how central bankers can influence the economy, why unemployment occurs, why people don't save properly, why investments are volatile, why real estate markets go through cycles, why poverty is more common among minorities, and, most pressing, what should be done about the current financial crisis. In this last regard, their answer is that the government must actively restore confidence and a sense of fairness, regulate markets to control corruption and prevent bubbles and busts, and manage banks to ensure adequate supply of credit. I agree, and this is largely what the Obama administration is doing, though they need to do more of it.

My main criticism of the book is that, while the writing is elegant and engaging at the level of sentences and paragraphs, the writing is somewhat unfocused and repetitive at the level of sections, chapters, and the overall book. This reduces clarity and unfortunately obscures the chains of reasoning in the book. A lesser criticism is that the authors apparently don't realize that Adam Smith was aware of most of the factors they mention and the consequent need for government intervention; the problem is that those who have appropriated Smith's ideas have ignored those aspects.

Nevertheless, the bottom line is that this is an important book because it offers an accurate diagnosis and sensible solution for our current economic problems, so I recommend it, especially to people involved in formulating and implementing economic policy.
16 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Terribly disappointing... 21 juin 2013
Par Michael Harrington - Publié sur
First, Akerlof and Shiller are two first-rate economists. The first for his classic illustration of the market for lemons that won him a Nobel Prize for the concept of asymmetric information; the second for his excellent work on risk sharing and macro-markets that may yet score him a Nobel.

Unfortunately, this book falls far short of that promise. They've squandered an opportunity to make a clear case for incorporating behavioral economics and finance into macroeconomic theory and policymaking. There are several good critiques on these Amazon pages, so I will avoid redundancy, but behavioral economics at the macro level can be distilled down to prospect theory and the realization that rational economic agents are loss averse, adaptive and heterogeneous. In other words, we react to perceptions of risk, uncertainty, confidence in, or fear of an unknown future. Policy directly affects real economic fundamentals that influence these perceptions that determine the resultant level of risk-taking. But the perceptions themselves are not the tail that wags the dog - it is the real measurable effects of policy outcomes. Current Fed policy is a case in point: showering cheap liquidity on financial markets in an attempt to revive false confidence. What we get are volatile asset markets, inadequate productive investment, scant job creation, and sub-par wealth creation. The policy has also seriously aggravated economic inequality.

Instead of cutting to the chase, A&S water down their explanation of animal spirits with nebulous concepts of fairness, corruption, money illusion, and stories. Are they strictly wrong in this approach? No, just beside the point. Most notably, fairness does not have a clear political definition, though it does have a moral and economic one: consequence follows action. This moral rule is reinforced by the history of our legal and judicial system, under which corrupt politics and "heads we win, tails you lose," banking is in clear violation. (BTW, political corruption includes all those government regulators captured by their regulated industries.)

Misguided policies have gotten to where we are and both laissez faire advocates and neo-Keynesians bear responsibility. By the end of the book it seemed like A&S's hasty polemic did not argue well for behavioral economics as much as try to soft sell the policy prescriptions of the New Keynesian school. But those policies have gotten us nowhere in terms of correcting the mistakes of the past. Lastly, A&S would be wise to note that our country already has a very good story that we seem to have forgotten: work hard, follow the golden rule, save, and invest prudently in a promising future. If we all did that, we wouldn't have these problems.

Political Economy Simplified: A Citizen's Survival Guide
14 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Less Than Expected from These 2 All-Stars 19 février 2010
Par Tom K. - Publié sur
Behavioural economics matters for macroeconomics. Changes in confidence have a multiplier effect on finances and the economy as a whole. The desire for fairness impacts labor markets and makes them sticky downwards during a recession. Corruption is part of capitalism and leads to the bursting of bubbles. Most individuals suffer from "money illusion" and are unable to make wise financial decisions. Stories play a major role in politics and individuals' worldviews. The authors expound on these 5 topics effectively. They try to link them to the business cycles. They provide some history on business cycles illustrating the role of qualitative factors in creating and bursting bubbles.

The authors summarize much that we already know within the framework of non-traditional economics. Unfortunately, they do not provide a direction for economists to incorporate these factors into their econometric models

Furthermore, the authors insert their political views throughout the book, without making a persuasive case for their views. The reader learns that they support behavioral economics, capitalism, Keynesian economics and government regulation and that they oppose classical economics, monetarism, rational expectations, the efficient market hypothesis and the impact of Reagan/Thatcher on policies.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Animal Spirits Are Real 12 juin 2013
Par Milton L. Erhardt - Publié sur
I enjoyed "Animal Spirits" immensely. It is written in a very accessible manner, without an excess of economic and financial jargon.

The book's interest is the emerging study of behavioral economics. The book is a wonderful overview, if not detailed, account of the reasoning behind behavioral economics.

The authors introduce the key concepts of behavioral economics in five chapters at the beginning of the book. These concepts are Confidence, Fairness, Corruption, Stories and Money Illusion. The authors then follow these first chapters with additional chapters that explain in greater detail how these human behaviors affect the market. Messrs. Akerlof and Schiller, in essence, describe how human behavioral processes construct the functioning and understanding of the economy.

Messrs. Akerlof and Schiller give John Maynard Keynes the recognition and esteem his genius so deserves. In fact, the books name is derived from a Keynesian term. The authors make it clear that Keynesian economic logic has an intuitive understanding of "how the world works". The book explains that Keynes work portrays an innate understanding that economic decisions are directed more by an individuals emotions and immediate pragmatic concerns than by Adam Smith's delusional concept of "enlightened self-interest".

I was surprised to learn that some governments were timid about embracing Keynes ideas more fully, since Keynesian concepts are based more on observation than traditional economic "thought". After all, Keynesian economics and labor unions built the middle class in this country and in Western Europe.

My only complaint is that the authors, as most economists of any school do, somehow find the faith to believe that Adam Smith and his cohorts were somehow fundamentally correct. When studying Smith, Jeremy Bentham, Francois Quesnay and other Classicists, whether of the 18th century or now, a natural skepticism should arise. An adequately skeptical person will realize that classical economic thought is awash with unproven and unprovable assumptions and magical thinking.

Despite my complaint, the authors do understand that, as Thorstein Veblen stated in 1898, "economics is hopelessly behind the times". The understanding of the real world reflected in this book gives hope that those such as Messrs. Akerlof, Schiller, Ariely, the Keynesians and many others will lead economics away from the shamans and wizards to which economists now so tightly cling. The behavioral sciences will create a new economic paradigm in which economics may become an actual science and not the mere scientism it is now.

Neo-liberal economists will be surely be pulled, kicking and screaming, from the darkness in which they have existed for some 400 years. Economics may just finally bathe in the light that has shown on all science and finally join the 21st century.
6 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Jewel in Understanding Economics 3 mars 2010
Par Marc Emmer - Publié sur
Animal Spirits is a must read for strategists and those interested in understanding complex economic cycles. Akerlof and Shiller make a compelling case that emotional triggers drive economic activity and the appropriate role for governments in influencing and regulating financial markets.

Part theory and part application, Animal Spirits is part economics and part social commentary. Not an economic text, this book is easy to read and to understand. For those who aspire to gain a rich understanding of the liquidity crisis and similar swings in the economy, Animal Spirits provides a practical insight on how markets react to various conditions.

The book argues that regulation has a role to balance large swings in the economy promoted by corruption greed and speculation. While I found the book interesting and informative, I found it counterintuitive that economists would offer some opinions not based on quantifiable data, but their own political or social bent.
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