Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality

Book - 2017
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"For generations, we've been told that there's a simple framework that can explain the mysteries of how the economy can create optimal outcomes for us all. What James Kwak shows us is that this set of ideas--what he calls 'economism'--is magical thinking; it's certainly not grounded in science and evidence. In this pithy book of accessible prose, Kwak begs us to contend with the messiness of the real world--and the inequality our economic system has spawned--before it's too late." --Heather Boushey, executive director and chief economist, Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Here is a bracing deconstruction of the framework for understanding the world that is learned as gospel in Economics 101, regardless of its imaginary assumptions and misleading half-truths. Economism: an ideology that distorts the valid principles and tools of introductory college economics, propagated by self-styled experts, zealous lobbyists, clueless politicians, and ignorant pundits. In order to illuminate the fallacies of economism, James Kwak first offers a primer on supply and demand, market equilibrium, and social welfare: the underpinnings of most popular economic arguments. Then he provides a historical account of how economism became a prevalent mode of thought in the United States--focusing on the people who packaged Econ 101 into sound bites that were then repeated until they took on the aura of truth. He shows us how issues of moment in contemporary American society--labor markets, taxes, finance, health care, and international trade, among others--are shaped by economism, demonstrating in each case with clarity and élan how, because of its failure to reflect the complexities of our world, economism has had a deleterious influence on policies that affect hundreds of millions of Americans.--Dust jacket
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781101871195
Branch Call Number: 330 Kwak 2017
Characteristics: xvi, 237 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Johnson, Simon


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NFreaderNWPL Mar 10, 2017

The "bad economics" of the title refers to overconfidence that the most simplified models in economics apply directly to the real world. The economist Noah Smith refers to this ideology as "101ism." Be sure to check out "Filthy Lucre" by Joseph Heath for another engaging book about economic literacy.


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