The Economics Anti-Textbook....at last some fresh thinking on economics

John Barry24/07/2010

John Barry: Have just received a review copy of The Economics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Micro-economics by Rod Hill and Tony Myatt http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/book.asp?bookdetail=4326. From a quick review it should be on all undergraduate economics courses in the spirit of pluralism in economic thinking. Some lovely quotes "The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists" (Joan Robinson) and "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all? The answer to this question can now be given with somewhat greater assurance than twenty years ago...It is 'no'" (Richard Easterlin).

It also includes a series of thought-provoking 'questions for your professor' throughout; such as "Why does the textbook suppose that democracy must end at the workplace door? In whose interest is it that economic democracy remain off the agenda?' and "The competitive labour markey model predicts that if a firm reduces its wage by one cent below the equilibrium its entire workforce will quit. Why don't we test this prediction?"

The book also includes a postscript on the global financial meltdown which as they put it "illustrates the importance of imperfect and assymmetrical information, externalities, limited rationality and inappropriate incentives. In particular, it illustrates the necessity of appropriate government regulation, and the ability of powerful business interests to change the rules of the game" .

Wish I had had this textbook when I was an ungraduate!

Posted in: Economics

Tagged with: Economics

Prof John Barry     @CllrJohnBarry

John Barry

John Barry is Professor of Green Political Economy at Queen's University, Belfast. He is a Green Party councillor on Ards and North Down Borough Council since 2014, and is a former co-chair of the party.

He was Acting Director of the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research at Queen's University Belfast and is currently Reader in Politics in the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy and Assistant Director of the Institute for a Sustainable World.

He has written many books and academic articles on sustainable development, environmental policy and the economics of sustainability. He is co-editor of two academic journals, Environmental Politics and Ecopolitics Online.

 


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