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I would not recommend this book unless you have a strong interest in economics and have read several other economic books intended for the lay person. Not that it is hard to understand, it is an easy read. However, its value is in understanding how to evaluate economic arguments and I don’t think it has general value unless you are interested in following different economic topics and trying to learn about them. That said, I found that the book had an immediate significant impact on how I read e
Well worth reading, if you have any interest in economics!!! I’d recommend the book, if for no other reason than the author (an insider) fully embraces, doesn’t shy away from, and offers a convincing explanation as to how the economics community (as a group, profession, or academic discipline) could have so badly failed to predict and/or mis-judge the 2008 financial crisis.
There are so many great things about this book, it’s hard to know where to start, other than to say that one of the book’s (
As a former economics student, who subsequently switched to political sciences and now doing a PhD in this domain, I find myself in a privileged position and in the middle of the crunching criticism and debate this book furthers. In some ways, Rodrik is the teacher I never had, and this book is the qualified nuanced bible I never read during my Econ years. That’s not to say my professors nor my curriculum was bad – on the contrary. But I do recall finding myself in discussions with PhD students
There are many important implications to take away (and I would recommend every student that is even remotely enrolled in (introductory) Econ classes to read this book), but the most profound for me is this one: “It is better for the public to be exposed to these disagreements and uncertainties than to be lulled into a false sense of confidence about the answers that economics provides.” Economics is probably the most-(mis)used profession of the “Research shows that …”-group-of-people. The amount of times that politicians, professionals or even citizens in a bar (from different traits) precisely select “that economic model” that supports their ideological view is so pervasive that it is indeed lulling – and maybe cheating – public opinion into a stance such as “Well there really is nothing else we can do, because economists say that …”. As Rodrik shows, economists disagree by nature, and we should be extremely open-minded in how to perceive models, how to select and use them, under what conditions and with certain (critical) assumptions in mind. This may be too big of a task for the common newspaper reader that wants to keep up with the on-going, but it is certainly the task of economists themselves to clearly state the contingencies of their “models”, and go against claims made by people that use ready-made stylized models for their own good. It wrecks the social science of economics, which should be reinvigorated by the specific focus on this qualification and nuance that is already present, and not broken down by critics who claim to dismantle them all together.