The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run or Ruin an Economy (英語) ペーパーバック – 2014/7/3
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A million readers bought The Undercover Economist to get the lowdown on how economics works on a small scale, in our everyday lives. Since then, economics has become big news. Crises, austerity, riots, bonuses - all are in the headlines all the time. But how does this large-scale economic world really work? What would happen if we cancelled everyone's debt? How do you create a job? Will the BRIC countries take over the world? Asking - among many other things -- what the future holds for the Euro, why the banks are still paying record bonuses and where government borrowing will take us, in The Undercover Economist Strikes Back, Tim Harford returns with his trademark clarity and wit to explain what's really going on - and what it means for us all.
An excellent primer for me, a non-economist who wants to understand the financial crisis -- Simon Singh * Observer * Reading Harford is like finding yourself next to the funniest, smartest fellow at the party. It is such fun that readers will hardly notice that, by the end, they've mastered macroeconomics * Financial Times * Clear-thinking and easy to read ... he has mastered the art of dealing with this subject without the use of a single diagram or mathematical equation * Sunday Times * Our chief economic storyteller ... thanks to people such as Harford, the profession will gain a better informed audience * Independent * Every Tim Harford book is cause for celebration. He makes 'the dismal science' seem like an awful lot of fun -- Malcolm Gladwell Tim has a really exceptional talent for telling a simple and a very easily understood and yet still incredibly interesting story about economics -- Planet Money * The Indicator * Tim Harford is a riveting expositor of the field, lively and fair minded, and his books The Undercover Economist and its macroeconomic companion piece The Undercover Economist Strikes Back are excellent places to start, both because they are so interesting in themselves and also because they give a good initiation in how economists think and study these sorts of questions -- John Lanchester Tim Harford is a brilliant explainer of economics . . . beautifully clear . . . A superb guide -- William Leith * Scotsman * Tim Harford is a brilliant explainer of economics . . . A superb guide, whatever your level of expertise -- William Leith * Evening Standard *商品の説明をすべて表示する
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.
I'd heartily recommend this to anyone who wants a macro primer or a light and entertaining way to refresh their memory. If you're 'into' economics, you can safely give this one a pass for the content, although you'll still like it for the writing and stories.