Economyths: Ten Ways Economics Gets It Wrong

Overview

"This is without doubt the best book I've read this year, and probably one of the most important books I've ever read … This ought to be a real game changer of a book. Read it."
Brain Clegg, author of Before the Big Bang: The Prehistory of Our Universe, writing at popularscience.co.uk

From the failure of wealth to make us happier, to the world's catastrophic blindness in the lead-up to the credit crunch, Economyths reveals ten ways in which ...

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Overview

"This is without doubt the best book I've read this year, and probably one of the most important books I've ever read … This ought to be a real game changer of a book. Read it."
Brain Clegg, author of Before the Big Bang: The Prehistory of Our Universe, writing at popularscience.co.uk

From the failure of wealth to make us happier, to the world's catastrophic blindness in the lead-up 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 major economies were plunging into the worst recession since the Great Depression. In 2010, they still haven’t fully recovered.

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. If all this were true, how could the world's most brilliant and talented financial prognosticators get it so wrong? Why couldn’t our elaborate economic theories predict or prevent this enormous financial crisis from happening?

Mathematician David Orrell explores these provocative questions and more. Tracing the history of economics from its roots in ancient Greece to the financial centres of London and New York, he reveals ten distinct ways in which it is mistaken—and proposes intriguing, and sometimes controversial, new alternatives.

An unapologetic critic of economic theory, Orrell explains how the economy is the result of complex ad unpredictable processes; how risk models go astray; why the economy is not rational or fair; why until very recently no woman had 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.

Orrell deftly translates the arcane language of economic theory into a relevant, contrarian, and compelling exploration of the emotional subject of money. Economyths is a fascinating and elegantly written inquiry into the flaws in our conventional economic models, how they got us into so much trouble, and alternatives that could revolutionize the way we think about the economy.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470677933
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/23/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,437,721
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

David Orrell is an applied mathematician and author of popular science books. He studies mathematics at the University of Alberta, and obtained his Ph.D. from Oxford University on the prediction of nonlinear systems. His work in applied mathematics and complex systems research has since led him to diverse areas such as weather forecasting, economics, and cancer biology.

His books Apollo's Arrow: The Science of Prediction and the Future of Everything (published in the US as The Future of Everything: The Science of Prediction), and The Other Side of the Coin: The Emerging Vision of Economics and Our Place in The World, have appeared on local and national bestseller lists in Canada. He has also published scientific research papers for peer-reviewed journals on topics ranging from systems biology (in Nature Genetics) to systems economics (International Journal of Forecasting).

Orrell has been a guest on national shows including Coast to Coast AM, NPR, BBC radio, and CBC TV, and his work has been featured in print media such as New Scientist, World Finance,   Adbuster, and the Financial Times. He lives in Oxford, England, with his wife and daughter. Keep up with David online at www.davidorrel.com and www.facebook.com/economyths

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The anarchic economy 9

Chapter 2 The connected economy 27

Chapter 3 The unstable economy 47

Chapter 4 The extreme economy 67

Chapter 5 The emotional economy 95

Chapter 6 The gendered economy 119

Chapter 7 The unfair economy 149

Chapter 8 The over-sized economy 175

Chapter 9 The unhappy economy 199

Chapter 10 The good economy 217

Notes 239

Resources 269

Acknowledgements 272

Index 273

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