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Economics: The User's Guide (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 26. August 2014

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"The dismal science rendered undismally, even spryly...lively, intelligent, and readily accessible."
--Kirkus Reviews
"This excellent economics primer is written “in plain terms” for a college-educated reader; it follows efforts by some academics to seek a readership market beyond the classroom." --Booklist
"A practical guide that shows the importance of the subject as a worldview and how it fits into everyday life." --Library Journal
“This book should be the poster child for the word "tweener." Not quite an introductory text (although that is the category into which the author places it), the book is “a mile wide and an inch deep” and includes “everything but the kitchen sink” in terms of level of detail and scope of coverage […] an interesting, entertaining, and worthwhile contribution that offers a picture of the global economy and how and why it affects daily life.” – A. R. Sanderson, University of Chicago, CHOICE

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Ha-Joon Chang teaches in the Faculty of Economics at Cambridge University. His books include the international bestseller Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism, Kicking Away the Ladder, winner of the 2003 Myrdal Prize, and 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism. In 2005, Chang was awarded the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.

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17 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The best popular book on economics since Heilbroner's THE WORLDLY PHILOSOPHERS 23. September 2014
Von Robert Moore - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
There is no more pretentious academic field of study than economics, seen in any of a number or ways, from many economists alleging it to be a science and the silliness of expressing so many of its assertions in mathematics (when in fact virtually any economic idea can be expressed without the use of math, as a number of leading economists have demonstrated; the use of math in economics is more of a conceit than a necessity). And there seems something absurd about calling something a science when the discipline both lacks predictive power and the power to command agreement among its practitioners. In fact, the pronouncements of economics are political and not scientific. No one understands this more clearly than does Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang. He has devoted much of his career to debunking a lot of the myths promulgated by free market fundamentalists who have for political reasons, as in the two previous books of his that I have read, BAD SAMARITANS: THE MYTH OF FREE TRADE AND THE SECRET HISTORY OF CAPITALISM and 23 THINGS THEY DON'T TELL YOU ABOUT CAPITALISM. As Chang explains in all these books, but particularly in this one, most of the claims made in support of free market capitalism are either radically self-serving (such as the contention that cutting taxes for the wealthy helps to stimulate the economy - I once heard Dick Cheney on national television state that there was need for yet another large tax cut for the wealthy and he added that this had been proven again and again to be one surefire way to stimulate the economy, except that even to this day no such thing has ever been proved to be true - all that tax cuts for the wealthy achieve is shifting even more money into the hands of the wealthy). But as excellent as Chang's two previous books were - and I would give each of them five stars - this one is even better.

From the beginning of this book to the end Chang writes with enormous intelligence about what economics ought and ought not to be about. It is not, as he puts in an early chapter (and deliberately echoing Douglas Adams) Life, the Universe, and Everything (something you don't get the sense of when reading such absurd economists as Gary Becker) but simply about the economy. And unlike the sillier economists who have managed to gain the ear of so many, Chang feels that economics is not synonymous with society at large.

This book excels in one other way: it is a popular book, but written in such a way as to never insult the reader. He also offers a host of reading suggestions at the end of each chapter.

Some will claim that this book is ideological, but the opposite is true. There is virtually nothing in this book that Adam Smith would disagree with, because by and large Adam Smith was not in the grips of an ideology. Serious students, for instances, know that Smith did not believe an Invisible Hand were always controlling the economy (what he says is that when people pursue their enlightened self-interest, the results are not always unfortunate, almost as if an Invisible Hand were controlling things; ideologues who espouse a free market economy conveniently ignore Smith's comment about things not always leading to unfortunate results, and instead just assume he said the results are always desirable; neither did Smith advocate laissez faire, something establish a couple of generations ago by Jacob Viner in a famous paper that no one has seriously attempted to refute, instead free market fundamentalists simply ignore that problematic fact). Only economist in the grips of a oligarchic ideology would assert any theory reliant on trickle down theories. Perhaps Professor Chang is less in the grips of ideology because his native country, South Korea, succeeded economically in recent decades in ways that free market fundamentalism says is not supposed to work. But even if he were from Nebraska instead of South Korea, Chang is ever the voice of sanity. Anyone wishing to learn more about the way we ought to think about economics needs to read this book.
16 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A pragmatic, interesting and smart introduction to the "Dismal Science" - a great read 26. August 2014
Von James Beswick - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
I studied a couple of units of economics at college and it didn't find it a particularly accessible subject. Thankfully, Chang takes a pragmatic and passionate approach to the subject that explains the core concepts and ideas in a much clearer way than the dreaded textbooks I had to endure. Balanced yet persuasive, the book starts with the big picture of economics since 1776 and then zooms into topics with well-selected examples and a sense of context that allows even a casual reader to walk away with not just knowledge about the subject but the desire to learn more. Given my wariness from my college experience, I think this is a huge testament to Chang's skill in presenting a subject he clearly understands and cares about, with a writing style that keeps the reader turning the pages.
7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Different Perspective 23. September 2014
Von Hanna.w. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
I've taken several economics courses at university level. They try very hard to push the subject as a science with equations and loads of charts and graphs to explain economic phenomena as if there were some correct formula to explain it all. The courses at university teach mostly from the classical or neo-classical school of thought. There was hardly ever acknowledgement of other schools' views or any attempt to argue whether some theories were correct. This book does a good job of making clear one school's way is not correct for everyone nor applicable at all times. The author makes arguments against some ways of thinking that are taken for granted as correct. For example, your university course is likely to teach you that protectionism inhibits economic growth. The author argues it often serves to make an economy stronger. There are introductions to many different economic schools of thought - Austrian, Behavioralist, Classical, Developmentalist, Institutionalist, Keynesian, Marxist, Neoclassical, Schumpeterian. If you know a student of economics, this book would be a good book to give them. It encourages broadening the mind to alternative explanations and solutions to economic issues.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Very Good Job of Relating Economic History and Theories to the Real World; Lively and Well-Written 9. Oktober 2014
Von Elisa 20 - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
Economics--the principles about money in various situations both for the individual, national and/or global level--effects everyone in every part of the world. It should be one of the most fascinating subjects to learn about and yet is often one of the most tedious, pedantic and dull ones.

Ha-Joong Chang's goal is to remind readers what economics really is, why it matters, why we should care about it and how it really -can- be interesting AND make sense. What makes this book successful is that he is (1) knowledgeable (an economics professor at Cambridge University), (2) writes in understandable language using many real world examples to clarify economic concepts and (3) shows the differences and similarities of the world's main economies, why it's important to know, and how we are all interconnected.

I especially like that he is not pushing the same old "free market; free trade" point of view that most U.S. economists have. His goal is to give readers -several- different ways to analyze economies and let us apply them and evaluate for ourselves which ones are best.

His slightly irreverent "tone" as a writer/teacher is also refreshing. From the beginning, he suggests people can read the book in different ways, depending on whether they have "ten minutes (for chapter titles and the first page of each--a sneaky way of "baiting the hook" in the hope he'll grab our interest to go further), "a couple of hours" (Chapter 1 & 2 and the Epilogue, then skim at your heart's content) or "half a day" (for section titles and italicized summaries in each section, plus if you're fast the introductions and conclusions in each chapter)", Obviously, his preference is for readers to read the entire book, but it's refreshing to see an economist who has structured his book so that people still -can- get something meaningful out of it without reading each and every word in each chapter. He has enough confidence in his work to hope to draw you in to read the entire book, but if that doesn't happen, he assures readers that they still can get something of value from doing the above and don't need to plod through Chapter 1 and drop the book right there if that particular part doesn't speak to them.

The chapters are short, the type is large, the sentences are crisp, well-organized and even, occasionally, have a bit of humor. His references to real world companies and real world problems and what economics means in those context actually -does- make the theories he is teaching about much more relevant and much more interesting than in most econ books. (It is also -easier- to remember the concepts this way.) Every chapter ends with a concluding summary/overview-review of key points and why they matter and a recommendation for further reading. It was refreshing to find several long passages on Marxist economics--with the usual rebuttals, but at least with the acknowledgement that Marxist economics -does- "offer some very useful insights into capitalism" despite its limitations. The first section, laying down the basics of various theories, then makes way for Part II--real world applications. He does not shy away from the global inequality of resources and of income, and it is dramatic to see a chart of some nation's people earning $300 a year--or less. Production of resources, distribution of resources, the role of governments and of economic institutions (both national, like the we think of the U.S. stock exchange, and global institutions, like how our stock exchange is tied in with other nations in a 21st century global economy.)

It's clearly written, but not dumbed-down. Impossible not to learn something from this book--even if, as Professor Chang says, you only read parts of it and get out of it what most interests you.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A clear and understandable guide to economics 3. Oktober 2014
Von CGScammell - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
If you enjoyed "The Ascent of Money" by Niall Ferguson, then this updated book by Ha-Joon Chang will be just as entertaining and informative at explaining all aspects of economics. Economics is more than just handling money, it is managing resources, employees, production. Material is presented in a format at a middle school level, highlighting the words and using them in clear, understandable sentences. As he builds on his narrative, more concepts are introduced, until the whole picture comes into focus.

There is supply and demand, of course, and he expounds on that. There are workers, educated trainers, managers, resource managers, and his focus on national production is repeated several times. Without a productive work force creating a usuable product, there can be no economy. Banks and shareholders, stock holders, traders, all can't happen without viable production.

Chang starts his narrative with the history of modern economics, and even introduces several influential economists, such as Adam Smith, Karl Marx and others. He offers all the various schools of thought.

Chang also talks about Gross Domestic Product, exports and imports, the World Trade Bank, Foreign Direct Investments,, bank failures, government failures, economic crashes. Nothing is left out. All chapters are short and concise, so that even someone understanding high school math should be able to at least understand the concepts of economics.
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