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Debunking Economics - Revised and Expanded Edition: The Naked Emperor Dethroned? [Paperback]

Steve Keen
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

22 Sep 2011 1848139926 978-1848139923 Second Revised & enlarged
Debunking Economics exposes what many non-economists may have suspected and a minority of economists have long known: that economic theory is not only unpalatable, but also plain wrong. When the original Debunking was published back in 2001, the market economy seemed invincible, and conventional 'neoclassical' economic theory basked in the limelight. Steve Keen argued that economists deserved none of the credit for the economy's performance, and that 'the false confidence it has engendered in the stability of the market economy has encouraged policy-makers to dismantle some of the institutions which initially evolved to try to keep its instability within limits'. That instability exploded with the devastating financial crisis of 2007, and now haunts the global economy with the prospect of another Depression. ----- In this radically updated and greatly expanded new edition, Keen builds on his scathing critique of conventional economic theory whilst explaining what mainstream economists cannot: why the crisis occurred, why it is proving to be intractable, and what needs to be done to end it. ----- Essential for anyone who has ever doubted the advice or reasoning of economists, Debunking Economics provides a signpost to a better future.

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Debunking Economics - Revised and Expanded Edition: The Naked Emperor Dethroned? + Debunking Economics - Supplement to Revised and Expanded Edition: The Naked Emperor Dethroned? + The Economics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Microeconomics
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Product details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Zed Books Ltd; Second Revised & enlarged edition (22 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848139926
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848139923
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 15.7 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'If you are interested in how the economy really works (and want to challenge an economist) then read this book' --James Dick, Professional Members Division, The Economic Society of Australia

'Particularly useful to those, like myself, who are interested in economics but not formally trained in it. Debunking Economics reveals that neoclassical economic doctrines are faulty... because the fundamental assumptions from which such doctrines have been derived are less than self-evident' --Henry C.K. Liu, Chairman, Liu Investment Group

'Keen s serious but accessible look at the shaky logical and mathematical foundations of neoclassical economics will be of great interest to students and open-minded economists alike. And his insightful survey of alternative schools of thought lends substance to his call for a new economics.' --Don Goldstein, Associate Professor of Economics, Allegheny College

'Particularly useful to those, like myself, who are interested in economics but not formally trained in it. Debunking Economics reveals that neoclassical economic doctrines are faulty... because the fundamental assumptions from which such doctrines have been derived are less than self-evident' --Henry C.K. Liu, Chairman, Liu Investment Group

'Keen s serious but accessible look at the shaky logical and mathematical foundations of neoclassical economics will be of great interest to students and open-minded economists alike. And his insightful survey of alternative schools of thought lends substance to his call for a new economics.' --Don Goldstein, Associate Professor of Economics, Allegheny College

About the Author

Steve Keen is Associate Professor of Economics & Finance at the University of Western Sydney. Steve predicted the financial crisis as long ago as December 2005, and warned that back in 1995 that a period of apparent stability could merely be 'the calm before the storm'. ----- He received the Revere Award from the Real World Economics Review for being 'the economist who most cogently warned of the crisis, and whose work is most likely to prevent future crises.'

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive review of the state of economics 1 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback
Must admit that I missed the publication of the first edition in 2000, but I am certainly pleased to have picked up the second edition. This book is remarkable on several counts.
Firstly, it is an accurate, and quite objective, review of the state of neo-classical economics. At every turn the author backs up his observations and provides a clear analysis of the fundamental problems faced by the 'body of knowledge' taught to A level and under-graduate students. I really can't take exception to any of his points - they are well argued and patently true. His debunking of representative agent models, whilst not the most difficult thing in the world to carry out, is firmly based on logic and as mathematical in nature as the reprehensible models he rubbishes. Job done.
Secondly, it is a cogent argument for why disequilibrium models must form the foundation of economic's 'body of knowledge'. The exact form of those models can certainly be debated, but at the very least we must move away from pretending that a capitalist economy is, at any time, in equilibrium! The ease with which Steve Keen develops a working model of capitalism and its inherent instability should be sufficient to convince any rational person (so that excludes neo-classical economists).
Thirdly, it's simply a good read! Even when Steve Keen moves into "I told you so" mode, he's funny - when was the last time you read a humorous economics text (and I don't include Freakanomics in that set)?
Finally, it's refreshing to see Marx, Sraffa, Schumpeter, Keynes and Minsky portrayed in the kind light that they richly deserve - Keen is an excellent advocate for these 'sensible thinkers' and I thank him for this. The text's bibliography is worth the price of the book alone!
All in all, a great text which will probably get ignored or marginalised. At any rate, Steve, you get my vote for the clearest thinking economist since Minsky et al. I look forward to your next work.
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87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Read this book. Simply put, Keen's book should be required reading for economists, investors, and bankers, and most especially for central bankers. It should also be read by economics students, to street-proof them against neo-classical economics doctrine. The neo-classical synthesis has for some decades been so dominant that it is presented as fact, and most students will never even hear that there are alternative schools of economic thought. It is high time for people to realise that neo-classical economics is not a useful simplification, but rather, it is an irrealist dogma that is wrong root and branch, a dogma that has led and continues to lead to profound mistakes in outlook and policy guidance.

A crucial part of the book explains that the root of both the Great Depression of the 1930s and the crisis we are in today is a result of the fact that aggregate demand in the macro-economy is composed of income plus the change in debt. Prof. Keen explains (as has long been understood in specialist circles, and every central banker knows) that when banks make loans, they are actually creating new money, not merely redistributing money from depositors to borrowers. When too many loans are issued and a debt mountain gets too great (as it has recently throughout the OECD, driven by enormous quantities of "Ponzi debt", i.e. debt-money created by banks by loaning to each other and to non-bank financial companies for speculative investment in asset bubbles), then private citizens, as well as governments, begin "deleveraging" en masse, i.e. paying down debt instead of spending on consumption or investment in real-economy infrastructure. As a result, the economy goes into a tailspin.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
... but all the evidence around you says that their medicine isn't working, this book explains why.

For years and years, I've wanted to learn enough about economics to be able to take on those who say that markets are always efficient, that government is always bad, that regulation is always bad, and that the system we have is the best possible. This book gives you the ammunition to do that.

It shows that the foundations of neoclassical economics are a good deal less solid than its practitioners' self confidence. To be frank, I was actually pretty shocked at what he reveals about the huge self-contradictions, illogic and flakymathematics underpinning the economic conventional wisdom. I'm not the most distinguished scientist in the world, but with a Cambridge PhD in Theoretical Chemistry I hope I can appreciate how good science is *supposed* to work, and what Keen reveals shows that neoclassical economics is closer to a cargo cult than a science. The words "Seriously?!", "You're kidding?" and "No way!" emerged from my lips somewhat frequently when reading. One of the things Keen points out is that frequently the problems have been known for decades and ignored by the mainstream economic community; often the problems were pointed out by the theories' original authors themselves.

Many of the charges he levels would not be heinous sins in themselves: there's nothing wrong with making simplifying assumptions in a model, or favouring linear models over more complex ones *provided* you are fully aware of and honest about the simplification, *and* you test your theory against the evidence. If your model agrees with the facts and has predictive power then you are entitled to claim that the bits of reality that you simplified don't actually matter that much.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING!
If you do not have too much of an economics or politics background some jargon can be a bit difficult but otherwise what an amazing read either academically or just for leisure.
Published 4 months ago by Jonathan Edosomwan
5.0 out of 5 stars gohdd stuff that will make little difference?
How our societies are governed should be, and to an extent are, an evolutionary process. Each and every impediment to such evolution promoted by the "establishment" is but... Read more
Published 5 months ago by MacGregor
4.0 out of 5 stars Economics is difficult so don't expect simple answers..
Economics is difficult so don't expect simple answers..
This is an excellent book, though maybe best for someone who's studied economics, has a strong feeling that there's... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Gaz
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Bought it as wee present from my wife.She enjoyed it so much she has read lumps ofit to me and it corroborates all we Scots say about the world. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Beware of gurus pedelling neo-liberal economics.
Not the easiest of reads, but it is worth the effort as a token of appreciation of Keen's early warnings of the 2007 financial crisis and for a well-argued demolition job on the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by James R. O'Callaghan
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, Informative and Brilliant
A difficult read but very worth the effort.

Despite the populist title of this book and the scale of error in current thinking being suggested the ideas in this book are... Read more
Published 7 months ago by E. Carron
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books ever. (About Economics)
Debunking Economics. Does what is says on the tin (read cover), well almost. It mainly debunks neoclassical economics witch lets face it is the only form of economics available at... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Matthew Waite
5.0 out of 5 stars NUDIST COLONY EXPOSED
"Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists" - Galbraith.

This book is not an easy read but Keen really knows his stuff. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jet Lagged
4.0 out of 5 stars At least it gives some answers
. Steve Keen trashes virtually every orthodox economic theory held by mainstrean economists. Of course this appeals to me because I believe that M Freidmans wisdom is in tatters. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Timsread
1.0 out of 5 stars Disaster!
Absolute rubbish. Possibly the worst finance book I have ever read! Too much detail, too many facts, very disjointed and almost impossible to read. Flogged it on ebay asap!
Published 19 months ago by philip warrington
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