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How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities

How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities

by John Cassidy

Paperback(First Edition)

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For fifty years, economists have been developing elegant theories or how markets facilitate innovation, create wealth, and allocate society's resources efficiently. But what about when they fail, when they lead us to stock market bubbles, glaring inequality, polluted rivers, and credit crunches? In How Markets Fail, John Cassidy describes the rising influence of "utopian economies"—the thinking that is blind to how real people act and that denies the many ways an unregulated free market can bring on disaster. Combining on-the-ground reporting and clear explanations of economic theories Cassidy warns that in today's economic crisis, following old orthodoxies isn't just misguided—it's downright dangerous.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312430047
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 11/23/2010
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 559,471
Product dimensions: 8.14(w) x 11.70(h) x 0.74(d)

About the Author

John Cassidy is a journalist at The New Yorker and a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books. He is the author of Dot.con: How America Lost Its Mind and
Money in the Internet Era and lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

Part 1 Utopian Economics

1 Warnings Ignored and the Conventional Wisdom 17

2 Adam Smith's Invisible Hand 25

3 Friedrich Hayek's Telecommunications System 37

4 The Perfect Markets of Lausanne 49

5 The Mathematics of Bliss 61

6 The Evangelist 72

7 The Coin-Tossing View of Finance 85

8 The Triumph of Utopian Economics 97

Part 2 Reality-Based Economics

9 The Prof and the Polar Bears 111

10 A Taxonomy of Failure 125

11 The Prisoner's Dilemma and Rational Irrationality 139

12 Hidden Information and the Market for Lemons 151

13 Keynes's Beauty Contest 166

14 The Rational Herd 177

15 Psychology Returns to Economics 192

16 Hyman Minsky and Ponzi Finance 205

Part 3 The Great Crunch

17 Greenspan Shrugs 221

18 The Lure of Real Estate 235

19 The Subprime Chain 251

20 In the Alphabet Soup 268

21 A Matter of Incentives 285

22 London Bridge Is Falling Down 299

23 Socialism in Our Time 317

Conclusion 335

Afterword: The Great Disconnect 347

Notes 363

Acknowledgments 389

Index 391

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