The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run or Ruin an Economy (Anglais) Broché – 29 août 2013
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
– Malcolm Gladwell
“With fascinating examples and vivid explanations, Tim Harford succeeds in turning macroeconomics into a gripping read.”
—Simon Singh, author of Fermat’s Last Theorem
"Tim Harford is perhaps our very best popular economics writer, and with this book he turns his attention to inflation, unemployment, business cycles, and macroeconomics, with lucid clarity and compelling insight."
—Tyler Cowen, author of Create Your Own Economy and The Great Stagnation
"Tim Harford is a brave man to write a book about macroeconomics for the lay person; luckily, he is also a funny man...his perky style and chatty asides keep us grinning... [and he] has a knack for posing questions the average reader will have wondered about."
—Wall Street Journal
"Harford has a knack for writing about economic issues in a clear and gripping way."
“Harford brings vigor and even humor to otherwise dry topics…[and] clarity to what has often been comprehensible to only a select few.”
“Independent thinkers aspiring to a better understanding of the world economy and of possible fixes for the current downturn will delight in this crisp, readable, and knowledgeable explication and analysis of macroeconomic events and theoretical perspectives.”
“By the end of this book, you'll have learned so much that you'll be just as confused as the experts – and anything but bored.”
—The Christian Science Monitor
“Tim Harford is perhaps the best popular economics writer in the world… what [he] has achieved with his new book is nothing less than the holy grail of popular economics. While retaining the accessible style of popular microeconomics, he has managed to explain, with clarity and good humour, the knottiest and most important problems facing the world’s biggest economies today.”
—The New Statesman
“With beguiling clarity and…effortlessly breezy style… Harford explains the subject with impressive clarity and wit.”
—The Times (London)
“Tim Harford is a brilliant explainer of economics…A superb guide, whatever your level of expertise.”
—The Evening Standard
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché.
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Meilleurs commentaires des clients
- Great quotes from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!
- A nice debunking of Krugman's babysitting coop rant.
- A great discussion of Radford's POW camp article.
- A very pedagogical comparison of the classical and Keynesian views of recessions, concluding on an ironic note (but see below for a minus): « Sometimes an economy’s output is constrained by the demand for goods and services (Keynes’s Law) and sometimes it is constrained by their potential supply (Say’s Law). It sounds like neither of them are really laws at all. Yup. This is social science—what did you expect? » ... « But there is also a really simple way to combine the two views. We need to introduce a concept you’ll hear discussed often in economics—the “short run” and the “long run.” Most economists would agree that in the short run, it is Keynes’s Law that is relevant. And most economists would also agree that in the long run, it is Say’s Law that counts. »
- A thought provoking discussion of the question Can Growth Continue Forever?: « Energy growth is not the same as economic growth [...] It’s easy to grasp why exponential economic growth is not the same as exponential energy growth. If I’m worried about money, I may turn off my heating and wear a coat and hat indoors; a bit of extra money will mean I take off the hat and coat and use more energy. But that doesn’t mean that if I win the lottery I will celebrate by boiling myself alive. »
- A presumptuous claim: « Clearly, economists don’t understand everything about how to prevent an economy’s growth from slowing or going into reverse. If we did, it wouldn’t happen. »
- No mention anywhere of the monetary theories of business cycles (e. g. Austrian), besides the Keynesian and classical described above. As a result, another "oil shock" explanation of the crisis of the 70's...
- An unfortunate presentation of the efficiency wage theory of unemployment, as if a "good" labor market had to function like the buying and selling of T-shirts: « Ford’s five-dollar day meant that suddenly his workers had a lot to lose. The job they had at Ford paid twice what they could earn elsewhere. Workforce turnover plummeted, as you’d expect, but the real measure of success was dramatically increased labor productivity. As soon as Ford instituted the five-dollar day, his workers no longer lived in the perfectly functioning labor market of the classical textbooks, in which they could walk out of one job and into another at a moment’s notice. They operated instead on the fortunate side of a highly imperfect labor market. »
The author confirms that economic theory is a dismal science from the point of view of predicting what will happen in the future as the result of decisions. The author singles out parts in all three disciplines that are useful considering specific conditions . However there are parts that are useful depending on specific conditions. I was aware of some of these useful parts, but they were not completely clear to me. The authors gives excellent explanations, better than in the many books I I have read about economics.
It is also one of the few books about economics that are fun to read.
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
This book is only suitable for people who have not taken a semester long course in Macroeconomics. If you have, then you can skip this.
As far as picking up something meatier, the books that I have in mind are any of three:
1. Basic Economics
2. Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One
3. Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics
This book comes across as a bit too breezy and working a bit too hard to be funny/ approachable.
For people who have already read on this topic a bit (like the present reader), the book comes across as a shill for Keynesian economics. And even after all that, the author does a lot of hemming and hawing about how stable and predictable is the Keynesian multiplier. He spends the first third of the book building up the idea of inflation and nominal growth and real growth and then finishes by saying that "We don't really know what the multiplier is." Give me a break.
Later, he does actually get around to discussing some classical economics, but only after he has built up Keynes first.
Harford also spends time blowtorching James Rickards (whose books I have read/ am reading) and people who like the idea of the gold standard. In doing so, he goes over the same arguments that Krugman and other anti-gold people have been repeating against the gold standard camp. (He says that gold has nothing to do with the amount of goods and services produced in an economy, when the point that they were making was that gold is a way to constrain the amount of money that can be printed.)
For the record, a 4th book that is worth reading in addition to this is: Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis.
Verdict: Qualified recommendation. This book can be useful for someone who has ZERO understanding of Economics, since if they know a little bit then it is better than nothing at all. (A copy of this for every member of Congress would not be bad.) But for people who study Economics as serious hobbyists, then this book is just not that useful.
A somewhat tougher read than The Undercover Economist which was more fun.