Sex, Drugs & Economics: An Unconventional Introduction to Economics (英語) ペーパーバック – 2004/3/1
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A refreshing look at economics with topics ranging from sex, drugs, arms and music to energy, movies and farming, the Internet and Aids, Diane Coyle plunges herself and the reader into some of the worlds most contentious political and social issues. Diane Coyle shows how economic principles apply to headline issues in an entertaining, humane and highly intelligent way. Harvard-educated Coyle is an economist and award-winning writer specializing in business, technology and global economics.
"This is a highly engaging and remarkably literate survey of economics in practice by the new doyenne of popular business economics....Dr. Coyle has a rare talent for making esoteric theories come alive while staying true to the fundamentals of economic science."
Right at the beginning, Dr. Coyle tells us precisely what she intends her book to do: "This book aims to demonstrate that economics is essentially a particular way of thinking about the world that can be applied to almost any situation affecting individuals, companies, industries, and governments." Then, to make sure we all understand that the study of economics is not just for the professional or the academic but has a broader horizon, she insists that economics is "the subject for you whatever your interests and concerns" and that her objective is "to provide a new light and refreshing appetizer that might satisfy delicate appetites but also encourage some readers to develop a taste for more."
One of the things that makes this book so appealing is that Dr. Coyle uses our ordinary life experiences to allow us to grasp many of the major concepts of economics. She does discuss sex and illegal drugs and how economics applies to them, but she also has chapters on sports, music, energy, auctions, war games, movies, the Internet, weather, and other common topics with which we are very familiar, all utilized as a means to introduce, explain and describe various technical terms and concepts at different points in the book.
For instance, the first chapter of the book, titled "Sex: Can you have too much of a good thing?," introduces the concepts of "demand" and "supply," as well "inelastic supply of labor" and "product differentiation." Chapter 2, which is about illegal drugs, introduces the concepts of "market," "externality," "price elasticity of demand," and "cost-benefit analysis." A later chapter on sports explains the concept of "economics of scale," while the chapter on music explains the idea of "marginal cost," and the chapter on immigration explains the concept known as the "lump of labor fallacy." Furthermore, she provides an excellent description of the concept of the "public good" in the chapter on disease, and her discussion of this concept will be of particular interest to libertarians and classical liberals.
There are a few things I found particularly helpful during my reading of this book. The most important to me as a general reader was that the major terms and concepts of economics were set in boldface type as they were introduced in the text. This meant I paid particular attention to them as I was reading and realized they were important to understanding what was being said. Next in importance, at the back of the book is an appendix outlining and explaining the "Ten Rules of Economic Thinking," a section I thought helpfully summed up many of the main points expressed in the text. Finally, a glossary is provided which further explains and expands the major terms and concepts used throughout the book. I wish this sort of format was used more often in books on otherwise difficult subjects. And of course the book includes the usual bibliography (with many Internet websites also provided) and a well-organized comprehensive index.