The Soulful Science: What Economists Really Do and Why It Matters

The Soulful Science: What Economists Really Do and Why It Matters

by Diane Coyle
Pub. Date:
Princeton University Press
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The Soulful Science: What Economists Really Do and Why It Matters

To many, Thomas Carlyle's put-down of economics as "the dismal science" is as fitting now as it was 150 years ago. But Diane Coyle argues that economics today is more soulful than dismal, a more practical and human science than ever before. Building on the popularity of books such as Freakonomics that have applied economic thinking to the paradoxes of everyday life, The Soulful Science describes the remarkable creative renaissance in how economics is addressing the most fundamental questions--and how it is starting to help solve problems such as poverty and global warming. A lively and entertaining tour of the most exciting new economic thinking about big-picture problems, The Soulful Science uncovers the hidden humanization of economics over the past two decades.

Coyle shows how better data, increased computing power, and techniques such as game theory have transformed economic theory and practice in recent years, enabling economists to make huge strides in understanding real human behavior. Using insights from psychology, evolution, and complexity, economists are revolutionizing efforts to solve the world's most serious problems by giving policymakers a new and vastly more accurate picture of human society than ever before. They are also building our capacity to understand how what we do today shapes what the world will look like tomorrow. And the consequences of these developments for human life, for governments, and for businesses are only now starting to be realized--in areas such as resource auctions, pollution-credit trading, and monetary policy.

The Soulful Science tells us how economics got its soul back--and how it just might help save the planet's.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691125138
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 01/22/2007
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii

Introduction 1

Prologue to Part 1 7

Part 1. The Mysteries of Wealth and Poverty 9

Chapter One: The History Detectives 11

Chapter Two: What Makes Economies Grow? 36

Chapter Three: How to Make Poverty History 64

Prologue to Part 2 97

Part 2. Are Individuals Free to Choose? 99

Chapter Four: What's It All About? 101

Chapter Five: Economics for Humans 121

Chapter Six: Information and Markets 146

Prologue to Part 3 175

Part 3. Nature, Markets, and Society 177

Chapter Seven: Murderous Apes and Entrepreneurs 179

Chapter Eight: Economy versus Society 203

Chapter Nine: Why Economics Has Soul 230

References 257

Index 273

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