Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk among Us

Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk among Us

3.7 8
by John Quiggin
     
 

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In the graveyard of economic ideology, dead ideas still stalk the land.

The recent financial crisis laid bare many of the assumptions behind market liberalism--the theory that market-based solutions are always best, regardless of the problem. For decades, their advocates dominated mainstream economics, and their influence created a system where an unthinking

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Overview

In the graveyard of economic ideology, dead ideas still stalk the land.

The recent financial crisis laid bare many of the assumptions behind market liberalism--the theory that market-based solutions are always best, regardless of the problem. For decades, their advocates dominated mainstream economics, and their influence created a system where an unthinking faith in markets led many to view speculative investments as fundamentally safe. The crisis seemed to have killed off these ideas, but they still live on in the minds of many--members of the public, commentators, politicians, economists, and even those charged with cleaning up the mess. In Zombie Economics, John Quiggin explains how these dead ideas still walk among us--and why we must find a way to kill them once and for all if we are to avoid an even bigger financial crisis in the future.

Zombie Economics takes the reader through the origins, consequences, and implosion of a system of ideas whose time has come and gone. These beliefs--that deregulation had conquered the financial cycle, that markets were always the best judge of value, that policies designed to benefit the rich made everyone better off--brought us to the brink of disaster once before, and their persistent hold on many threatens to do so again. Because these ideas will never die unless there is an alternative, Zombie Economics also looks ahead at what could replace market liberalism, arguing that a simple return to traditional Keynesian economics and the politics of the welfare state will not be enough--either to kill dead ideas, or prevent future crises.

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Editorial Reviews

Economist
Entertaining and thought-provoking. . . . [W]orks as a good summary for non-specialists of how the economics debate has developed.
— Philip Coggan
Barron's
Lucid, lively and loaded with hard data, passionate, provocative and . . . persuasive. . . . [Zombie Economics] should be required reading, even for those who aren't Keynesians or Krugmaniacs.
— Glenn C. Altschuler
Shanghai Daily
This book is certainly a good read for anyone eager to know why it is urgent that economists come up with a socially useful body of thought or suggestions.
Financial Times
Quiggin is a writer of great verve who marshals some powerful evidence.
Bloomberg News
Erroneous economic ideas resemble the living dead, writes John Quiggin in his smart new book Zombie Economics. They are dangerous yet impossible to kill. Even after a financial crisis buries them, they survive in our minds and can rise unbidden from the necropolis of ideology.
— James Pressley
Guardian
The financial crisis has disproved many cherished tenets of 'market liberalism', such as the 'Efficient Markets Hypothesis', yet these zombie ideas still shamble through newspapers and journals. Enter economist Quiggin, calmly wielding dual shotguns to blast them relentlessly in the face. . . . As Quiggin explains with elegance, lucidity and deadpan humour, the undead ideas here are interconnected: killing one causes it to knock over another in a sort of zombie-dominoes effect.
Globe & Mail
Zombie Economics is . . . a highly readable and sobering assessment of the role played by discredited economic ideas in the global financial and economic meltdown of 2008-09. Quiggin delves deeply into the origins and development of all the star culprits so loved by the economic right in recent decades: from the efficient markets hypothesis to privatization and Real Business Cycle Theory. None has stood up to the stern test posed by real markets and economies in crisis. Yet most live on, still featured in many curriculums and advocated by those academics who have staked their careers on them.
Biz Ed
It's hard to resist a book called Zombie Economics, and University of Queensland professor John Quiggin makes his tale as compelling as his title. . . . It's the rare read that's both thoughtful and fun.
Sydney Morning Herald
I haven't done justice to Quiggin's book, so if you're interested in a readable exposition of the exploits of academic economists over the past 35 years I recommend it highly. It's the story of how economists forgot much of what they knew. Please, guys, don't do that again.
— Ross Gittins
The Age
As well as exposing how these flawed ideas brought on the global crisis and how they live on, Quiggin offers his view on a new way forward in economic theory. It's time to bury the zombie.
— Fiona Capp
Choice
From the so-called 'great moderation' concept to the implications of the efficient markets hypothesis, Quiggin does an excellent job summarizing each zombie idea and explaining why it is discredited in a simple (but not simplistic) manner.
The Nation
[Cogent] and readable . . .
Naked Capitalism blog
Cleverly titled, with a wonderful and very un-academic cartoon cover and written without excessive jargon, Zombie Economics provides an elegant critical introduction and analysis of some of the key ideas of modern economic thought.
— Satyajit Das
SN&R
Put a bullet through the decaying brain of walking-dead economics by reading Quiggin.
— Seth Sandronsky
Administrative Science Quarterly
I encourage my colleagues in sociology, psychology, and management to read this book and leverage it to lead to a more integrated social science and, perhaps, a more socially aware economic science.
— Brent Goldfarb
Economist - Philip Coggan
Entertaining and thought-provoking. . . . [W]orks as a good summary for non-specialists of how the economics debate has developed.
Barron's - Glenn C. Altschuler
Lucid, lively and loaded with hard data, passionate, provocative and . . . persuasive. . . . [Zombie Economics] should be required reading, even for those who aren't Keynesians or Krugmaniacs.
Bloomberg News - James Pressley
Erroneous economic ideas resemble the living dead, writes John Quiggin in his smart new book Zombie Economics. They are dangerous yet impossible to kill. Even after a financial crisis buries them, they survive in our minds and can rise unbidden from the necropolis of ideology.
Sydney Morning Herald - Jessica Irvine
[A]n excellent new book.
Sydney Morning Herald - Ross Gittins
I haven't done justice to Quiggin's book, so if you're interested in a readable exposition of the exploits of academic economists over the past 35 years I recommend it highly. It's the story of how economists forgot much of what they knew. Please, guys, don't do that again.
The Age - Fiona Capp
As well as exposing how these flawed ideas brought on the global crisis and how they live on, Quiggin offers his view on a new way forward in economic theory. It's time to bury the zombie.
Naked Capitalism blog - Satyajit Das
Cleverly titled, with a wonderful and very un-academic cartoon cover and written without excessive jargon, Zombie Economics provides an elegant critical introduction and analysis of some of the key ideas of modern economic thought.
SN&R - Seth Sandronsky
Put a bullet through the decaying brain of walking-dead economics by reading Quiggin.
Administrative Science Quarterly - Brent Goldfarb
I encourage my colleagues in sociology, psychology, and management to read this book and leverage it to lead to a more integrated social science and, perhaps, a more socially aware economic science.
Bullfax.com Stamas
Peppered with humorous quotations, theory and history, Quiggin has assembled a compelling read about the misguided intellectual economic assumptions of the last forty years and also gives possible solutions to our current financial dilemma.
From the Publisher

One of Bloomberg News's (bloomberg.com/news) Top Thirty Business Books of the Year for 2010

Co-Winner of the 2012 Gold Medal Book Award in Economics, Axiom Business

One of Financial Times (FT.com)'s Books of the Year in Nonfiction Round-Up in the Science & Environment list for 2010

One of Naked Capitalism blog's , "Must Read" Economics Books, Yves Smith for 2011

"This book is certainly a good read for anyone eager to know why it is urgent that economists come up with a socially useful body of thought or suggestions."--Shanghai Daily

"Entertaining and thought-provoking. . . . [W]orks as a good summary for non-specialists of how the economics debate has developed."--Philip Coggan, Economist

"Quiggin is a writer of great verve who marshals some powerful evidence."--Financial Times (FT Critics Pick 2010)

"Lucid, lively and loaded with hard data, passionate, provocative and . . . persuasive. . . . [Zombie Economics] should be required reading, even for those who aren't Keynesians or Krugmaniacs."--Glenn C. Altschuler, Barron's

"Apparently some economists have a sense of humor, dismal though it may be. Quiggin uses the 2008 global financial crisis as the focal point for examining five core macroeconomic and financial theories that have been--to use zombie terminology--killed by our current predicament. . . . Economics students and interested lay readers will find this valuable."--Library Journal

"Erroneous economic ideas resemble the living dead, writes John Quiggin in his smart new book Zombie Economics. They are dangerous yet impossible to kill. Even after a financial crisis buries them, they survive in our minds and can rise unbidden from the necropolis of ideology."--James Pressley, Bloomberg News

"The financial crisis has disproved many cherished tenets of 'market liberalism', such as the 'Efficient Markets Hypothesis', yet these zombie ideas still shamble through newspapers and journals. Enter economist Quiggin, calmly wielding dual shotguns to blast them relentlessly in the face. . . . As Quiggin explains with elegance, lucidity and deadpan humour, the undead ideas here are interconnected: killing one causes it to knock over another in a sort of zombie-dominoes effect."--Guardian

"Zombie Economics is . . . a highly readable and sobering assessment of the role played by discredited economic ideas in the global financial and economic meltdown of 2008-09. Quiggin delves deeply into the origins and development of all the star culprits so loved by the economic right in recent decades: from the efficient markets hypothesis to privatization and Real Business Cycle Theory. None has stood up to the stern test posed by real markets and economies in crisis. Yet most live on, still featured in many curriculums and advocated by those academics who have staked their careers on them."--Globe & Mail

"It's hard to resist a book called Zombie Economics, and University of Queensland professor John Quiggin makes his tale as compelling as his title. . . . It's the rare read that's both thoughtful and fun."--Biz Ed

"[A]n excellent new book."--Jessica Irvine, Sydney Morning Herald

"I haven't done justice to Quiggin's book, so if you're interested in a readable exposition of the exploits of academic economists over the past 35 years I recommend it highly. It's the story of how economists forgot much of what they knew. Please, guys, don't do that again."--Ross Gittins, Sydney Morning Herald

"As well as exposing how these flawed ideas brought on the global crisis and how they live on, Quiggin offers his view on a new way forward in economic theory. It's time to bury the zombie."--Fiona Capp, The Age

"From the so-called 'great moderation' concept to the implications of the efficient markets hypothesis, Quiggin does an excellent job summarizing each zombie idea and explaining why it is discredited in a simple (but not simplistic) manner."--Choice

"[Cogent] and readable . . ."--The Nation

"Cleverly titled, with a wonderful and very un-academic cartoon cover and written without excessive jargon, Zombie Economics provides an elegant critical introduction and analysis of some of the key ideas of modern economic thought."--Satyajit Das, Naked Capitalism blog

"Put a bullet through the decaying brain of walking-dead economics by reading Quiggin."--Seth Sandronsky, SN&R

"Peppered with humorous quotations, theory and history, Quiggin has assembled a compelling read about the misguided intellectual economic assumptions of the last forty years and also gives possible solutions to our current financial dilemma."--Ted Stamas, Bullfax.com

"I encourage my colleagues in sociology, psychology, and management to read this book and leverage it to lead to a more integrated social science and, perhaps, a more socially aware economic science."--Brent Goldfarb, Administrative Science Quarterly

Library Journal
Apparently some economists have a sense of humor, dismal though it may be. Quiggin (economics, Univ. of Queensland, Australia) uses the 2008 global financial crisis as the focal point for examining five core macroeconomic and financial theories that have been—to use zombie terminology—killed by our current predicament. These concepts are essentially tenets of free-market economics, which Quiggin refers to as "market liberalism." Each chapter examines the birth, life, and death of an idea and offers suggestions for alternative views, along with extensive reading lists. He covers important territory such as the efficient-markets hypothesis, trickle-down economics, and privatization. Using examples that focus mainly on the United States, the UK, and his native Australia, he draws similar conclusions from markets and economies worldwide, starting with the Great Depression and working his way to the present global financial crisis. VERDICT While this book's title and cover art imply pop economics, its content is considerably more academic. Because the embedded concepts require an understanding of macroeconomics, microeconomics, and finance, Quiggin clues readers in to key theories and concepts without bogging down the text. Economics students and interested lay readers will find this valuable.—Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin-Whitewater

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400835980
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/13/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
216
File size:
1 MB

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