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Economics of the 1%: How Mainstream Economics Serves the Rich, Obscures Reality and Distorts Policy (Anthem Other Canon Economics) [Kindle Edition]

John Weeks
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

How much do economists really know? In most cases, they claim to have profound knowledge but in fact understand little and obscure almost everything. Most people are convinced that economics should be left to the ‘experts’, when they themselves are perfectly capable of understanding it. This book explains that mainstream economics serves the interests of the rich through its logical inconsistency and unabashedly reactionary conclusions. John F. Weeks exposes the myths of mainstream economics and explains in straightforward language why current policies fail to serve the vast majority of people in the United States, Europe and elsewhere. Their failure to serve the interests of the many results from their devoted service to the few.

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“John F. Weeks has performed a big and important service. The economic dogma that sired the financial crash of 2008–9 and the longest recession for a century remains the dominant ideology, for lack of the coup de grace to consign it to oblivion. John F. Weeks sets about this task with a forthrightness and zeal akin to the biblical destruction of false prophets. This book should be read by all who seek the restoration of sanity in economics from the corrupting clutches of perhaps the biggest austerity hoax ever perpetrated.” —Michael Meacher, British Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton

“Weeks’s dry and sarcastic style complements, and lightens, his deep analysis of the economic assumptions which many consider rational. […] his work has already played an extremely useful role helping us see and better understand some of the core economic truths we thought we knew.” —Steve Rushton,

“Why do economic policies seem so impenetrable and confusing to most? Weeks provides a clear explanation for how the layperson can decipher them. Every concerned voter should read this book to be economically literate.” —Peter Welch, US Congressman from Vermont and Chief Deputy Whip of the House of Representatives Democratic Caucus

“The recent crisis has exposed the weaknesses of not only the business models of the capitalist world but also the flaws in mainstream economic thought. John F. Weeks’ polemic on the ‘Economics of the 1%’ explores these intellectual blind alleys and takes no prisoners. Pointing out holes in the mainstream logic, Weeks aligns himself with the tradition(s) of Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes and Thorstein Veblen, and with such contemporaries as James K. Galbraith, Ha-Joon Chang and Paul Krugman. And Weeks is right. We have to replace ‘fakeconomics’ with proper economic analysis to combat the social inequalities that have grown disproportionately and dangerously in recent decades.” —László Andor, Economist and Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission

“With barely concealed rage, excoriating analysis and unswerving clarity, Weeks dissects and exposes the myths and lies of the free-market propaganda upon which our current economic system is built. Eminently readable, ‘Economics of the 1%’ is a tour de force – a clarion call for a common-sense economics that serves us all, not just the rich and powerful.” —Caroline Lucas, British MP for Brighton Pavilion and Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales

‘In clear and straightforward language, [Weeks] unpacks the assumptions of mainstream economics in a bid to show how modern economists have inculcated in non-economists the erroneous belief that such theories are inspired by reality.’ —Ioana Negru, ‘Times Higher Education’

“Weeks shows how professional economists conceal the real workings of the capitalist economic system in the interests of the rich and powerful. They foster ignorance to flog a theory – a professional fraud – that justifies reaction. Frustration grips the page. […]Weeks’ ‘Economics of the 1%’ is a powerful indictment of the state of the contemporary economics profession.” —“Marx & Philosophy Review of Books”

Book Description

This book exposes the myths of mainstream economics behind the public discourse and explains why current policies fail to serve the vast majority.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1530 KB
  • Print Length: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Anthem Press (1 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DAJ7OP2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #193,767 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a book that 99% of the people should read 9 Feb. 2014
A disclaimer: I know the author. He has written several other books, is an experienced professor (now Emeritus) in a world-class university, and has done not only serious analytical work but also well-grounded research in a large number of countries. Anyone who feels it is necessary to follow Prof. Weeks arguments at a more sophisticated level, rehearsing equations and complex mathematical diagrams, may prefer to read “The Irreconcilable Inconsistencies of Neoclassical Macroeconomics: A False Paradigm”. One will then reach the same conclusions and will perhaps feel reassured that such conclusions are rooted in rigorous analysis. But one way or the other, at the end of the day one should be able to understand how our societies are organized around economic forces that are not only unjust but also irrational. This objective is neatly achieved with ‘Economics of the 1%”.

The book covers a great deal of material, some of which may seem intricate a-priori, such as finance, competition, the causes of inflation, laws of supply and demand, equilibrium, labour ‘markets’, unemployment, trade, government deficits, etc. As one reads, it is inevitable to wonder: why things that turn out to be so obvious remain so obscure or distorted in the way they are referred to by commentators and policy-makers? Indeed, a most salient aspect of this book, as compared to other critical books elsewhere (even from the same author) is its success in demonstrating that such a distortion of the economic facts of our lives is entirely ideological, and that an elite out there, “the 1%” happens to benefit from the way things are.

This book can help anyone see that things need not be this way, that there were many instances in the history of our societies in which things were handled differently, and that we can also do things differently now.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wny economists get it so wrong 20 Feb. 2014
By gwi
Six years into the Great Recession and the teaching of economics appears to have hardly changed. Hence students are told that the road to recovery lies in better ‘prudential governance’ in the private sector, or that we must ‘squeeze our belts’ and atone for our past sins by enduring government-imposed austerity, or that what is needed is a ‘freer market’ and ‘more competition’ and so on. John Weeks, professor emeritus at SOAS, has written a clear and timely book which argues that much of conventional economics as taught in universities is bogus---that it provides a largely impenetrable jargon-ridden shield for defending the interests of the elite against the vast majority of ordinary citizens. This is a book which is aimed specifically at the non-economist. It should be read by anyone interested in how the world really works and why so many economists have got it so wrong for so long.

Prof George Irvin
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start with a new definition of "Economics" 10 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
He exposes the mythology used in all mainstream discussion and journals and standard economics textbooks to justify economic policies of austerity that use as their foundation stone the myth of 150 years ago that full employment is the norm. He coined the term "fakeonomics" for this. When the economic facts of life cited in the book show no connection to these policies working except to enrich the top 1% it really is time to start the study of economics with a new foundation stone and definition: quote: the study of the causes of the underutilisation of resources in a market society, and the policies to eliminate that resource waste for the general welfare".(page 194) is suggested.
That can invigorate new thought and re-invigorate economic policy to place full employment as a core target and "the general welfare of society" as a another.
Examination boards should read this and act instead of brainwashing economics students with the equivalent of alchemy or astrology to prepare them for influencing their future society's economic and environmental well-being.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warning: The kindle version is unreadable. 29 Mar. 2014
By Kavy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent book, hence 5 stars, but the kindle version is unreadable as it is in a PDF format. I hope Amazon sorts this out soon. I went and bought the paperback version as well and it is a very good book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sanity in a mad profession 9 Feb. 2015
By Geejay
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Weeks demolishes the current economic orthodoxy with persuasive argument and exemplification and demonstrates with an acerbic wit, that had me almost laughing out loud, the absurdities of neo-liberal economics. Unfortunately, the dominance of neo-liberalism is no laughing matter as it has led over the past few decades to stagnating real wages, huge inequality in the US and UK, the enrichment of the 1% to the detriment of the 99% and the adoption of the appalling austerity policies which have heaped the cost of the financial crisis onto the taxpayer while allowing those who caused the crisis to continue creaming off their millions from the rest of us.

Weeks quotes both Marx and Keynes as well as Smith as he develops his argument (does anyone in an economics department remember Marx?), while excoriating Friedman and his acolytes for what he calls "Fakeconomics", yet despite an impressive list of reviewers agreeing with him, including an EC Commissioner, I don't think anyone is really listening, certainly not the ECB, Merkel or Osborne. Fakeconomics is too deeply entrenched, there are too many vested interests, both in economics departments as well as governments, big business and finance who have too much to lose from a return to sanity and greater equality.
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