Ten Ways Economics Gets It Wrong

Book - 2010
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From the inability of wealth to make us happier, to our catastrophic blindness to the credit crunch, Economyths reveals ten ways in which economics has failed us all.

Forecasters predicted a prosperous year in 2008 for financial markets - in one influential survey the average prediction was for an eleven percent gain. But by the end of the year, the Standard and Poor's 500 index - a key economic barometer - was down 38 percent, and major economies were plunging into recession. Even the Queen asked - "Why did no one see it coming?"

An even bigger casualty was the credibility of economics, which for decades has claimed that the economy is a rational, stable, efficient machine, governed by well-understood laws.

Mathematician David Orrell traces the history of this idea from its roots in ancient Greece to the financial centres of London and New York, shows how it is mistaken, and proposes new alternatives. Economyths explains how the economy is the result of complex and unpredictable processes; how risk models go astray; why the economy is not rational or fair; why no woman has ever won the Nobel Prize for economics; why financial crashes are less Black Swans than part of the landscape; and finally, how new ideas in mathematics, psychology, and environmentalism are helping to reinvent economics.

Publisher: Etobicoke, Ont. : John Wiley & Sons Canada, c2010.
ISBN: 9780470677933
Characteristics: 280 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm.


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Dec 28, 2019

Well worth reading and sometimes surprisingly funny. However, you do need to read past the Introduction to assess the book's true value.

Dec 01, 2019

It is hard to tell if Mr. Orrell is more concerned about his economic theories panning out or if the major issue is an unfair, unstable & unsustainable world. If it is the first, he may want to find a new set of assumptions, Armstrong Economics may be a good place to start: if it is the second, he could join a number of political movements.

As for the 2008 credit crunch, many saw the U.S. housing bubble was going to end badly – the problem was too many in government and business were busy looking the other way.

I didn’t get much further than the Introduction and I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone looking for a general overview on economic theory.

Aug 01, 2019

This should be required reading for all grade 12 students and especially if they go on to post secondary education and have to take the standard econogab that is almost exclusively offered to explain how an economy works. Standard supply and demand economics has tried to tie itself to physics as a means of predictability and uses baffling mathematical models to prove it. If something in the real world doesn't fit with the theory it is either ignored or considered irrelevant. Lets give our young people a chance. It lays bare the language of finance and greed.

Nov 04, 2016

A cogent critique of modern neoclassical economics. ( The author does not look at any problems with other economic models such as command, purely socialistic or communist economies) There is a real problem in economic thinking and rationalizations many of which are clinging to Keynesian thinking however the author rally does not provide any solutions. ( Though not voiced explicitly, essentially some additional force through government intervention.) Worth reading for the mathematics and the problems with existing economic theory.

peageeuu Apr 24, 2011

This is worth a look at. It explains that the approach economists have taken to describe our chaotic dynamic economic life using rules similar to those of physics (static and unchanging) means economists always end up surprised.

If you have also read Ismael by Quin you might enjoy p.168

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