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Economists and the Powerful: Convenient Theories, Distorted Facts, Ample Rewards (Anthem Other Canon Economics)

Economists and the Powerful: Convenient Theories, Distorted Facts, Ample Rewards (Anthem Other Canon Economics) [Kindle Edition]

Norbert Häring , Niall Douglas
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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“There’s no lack of books on the shortcomings of mainstream economics. ‘Economists and the Powerful,’ by Norbert Haering, a German financial journalist, and Niall Douglas, an Irish IT consultant, stands out from the crowd.” —Olaf Storbeck, “Reuters BreakingViews”

“Best economics read of 2012: Economists and the Powerful by Norbert Häring and Niall Douglas went with me to Majorca and it was a rewarding and enjoyable mistake [...] it is an important book for understanding the times in which we live. For both works, the role of power in the economy and the successful efforts of the ultra-powerful and their minions to keep their doings off society's radar is the central theme.” —Edward Fullbrook, “Best economics read of 2012,” Real-World Economics Review Blog

“‘Economists and the Powerful: Convenient Theories, Distorted Facts, Ample Rewards’ by Norbert Haring and Niall Douglas nails one central fact with impeccable and uncompromising clarity: the concentration of power in the hands of a very few has ensured that the rewards at the top of the finance and business pyramids are increasingly disproportionate in relation to the economic contribution they make.” —“Cambridge Business”

“In their new book, ‘Economists and the Powerful,’ Norbert Häring and Niall Douglas trace how the most powerful of all the social sciences became a doctrine for helping the rich – with the aid of huge sums from business. You may be familiar with a version of this critique, thanks to the film Inside Job, which described how some of the best-known economists practising today are in the pay of Wall Street. But the history unearthed by Häring and Douglas is far more disturbing – because they argue that vested interests have slanted some of economics' most fundamental ideas.” —Aditya Chakrabortty, “Big business has corrupted economics,” “Guardian”

“[Häring and Douglas] provide a wealth of references tracing how economics was turned into a propaganda exercise for financiers, landlords, monopolists, insiders, fraudsters and other rent-seeking predators whom classical economists sought to tax and regulate out of existence. This state of affairs reflects the century-long drive of these free lunchers to fight back against classical economics by sponsoring self-serving fictions that depict them as earning their fortunes not in predatory and extractive ways, but by contributing to output as ‘job creators.’” —Michael Hudson,

“Häring and Douglas’s book is praiseworthy in many ways […] [I]ts spirit is quintessentially institutionalist, for the authors’ focus is set squarely upon those real-world socio-political, cultural and, to some extent, biological structures that determine actual economic activities. In particular, Häring and Douglas are keen on reintroducing the notion of power within the economic discourse, thus recovering it from the other social sciences, where mainstream economists have been confining it for too many decades.” — Giorgio Baruchello, “Economics, Management, and Financial Markets”


“Häring and Douglas have provided a useful account of the ways in which the rich and powerful have steered the economics profession in directions that support their own interests. Economic theory predicts that those with money will try to corrupt the discipline. This book is an effort to find the evidence to support the theory.” —Dean Baker, Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington, DC

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 644 KB
  • Print Length: 261 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0857285467
  • Publisher: Anthem Press (1 Oct 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009K44OW2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #175,120 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Paul Bowes TOP 500 REVIEWER
'Economists and the Powerful' is one of a number of recent books in which attention has been directed to the failures of economists, and the shortcomings of economics as a science. The authors argue that neoclassical economics rose to orthodoxy in the West not because of its superior explanatory power but because its assumptions and axioms fit well with the biases and preferences of the rich and powerful. In particular, they argue that mainstream economics has insisted, in the name of scientific rigour, on excluding the political and social dimensions from its understanding of economic processes at every turn, while in fact pursuing political and moral agendas that succour the wealthy.

The result is an abstract, ahistorical and scientistic discipline that has little to offer in terms of its ability to model the real world, and hence to make credible predictions or act as a guide to policy. This is a particular problem insofar as this simplified, unrealistic and politically skewed (but in theory objective) textbook economics is the only form in which most people - including politicians, businesspeople and journalists - encounter the discipline. Economists are thus implicated in promoting a pseudo-science whose real function is to justify the economic status quo, particularly against redistributionist and regulatory arguments.

In the view of Haring and Douglas, the academic profession has also failed for many decades to maintain a proper independence from powerful economic and political interests.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read 26 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Worth a read - well written, painstakingly researched and not too long. Ideal for someone like me - I am no economist.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too costly, consider reading the reviews and Inside the Book 22 Dec 2012
By Robert David STEELE Vivas - Published on
Over-priced at $99, this book makes one simple point: economists are the sluts of the social sciences, in the pay of the wealthy, and they have prostituted their profession in the most indecent obscene manner possible. Others have made similar points, what we really have here are two forms of crime -- petty crime -- economists kneeling for hand-outs -- and master crime -- financiers looting entire national economies just because they can -- because government has no integrity, the media (once capable of investigative journalism) has no integrity, and the academy (economists and everyone else) has no integrity.

There are some excellent reviews of the book outside Amazon, I am stunned to not see any here.

As an alternative to this particular book, excellent as it is, I recommend one DVD and two books:
DVD: Inside Job
The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy
The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism

William Greider's book makes the telling point that while physical assets have appreciated five times in the past couple of decades, financial derivatives appreciated seventeen times. We now know that Goldman Sachs, Morgan, Citi-Bank, Bank of America, and a whole slew of other banks are guilty of LIBOR rate fixing, global-level fraud and theft, and so on. Yet no one has gone to jail except in Iceland.

I focus on INTEGRITY, and I focus on the eight communities of information and intelligence whose INTEGRITY determines if we understand the true cost economics and the whole system dynamics (cause and effect) of what we are about: academic, civil society including labor unions and religions, commerce including banks and hedge funds, government at all levels, la enforcement at all levels, media, military, and non-government/non-profit.

The SIGNAL nature of our society in the last quarter century has been the loss of integrity across the board, with information pathologies being the norm rather than the exception. The Internet has changed the balance of information power, and I am among those that believe that 22 December 2012 is the beginning of Epoch B, the restoration of the sovereignty of indigenous peoples and a community of man in touch with reality. I pray this book is the last one in the series -- everyone on the planet should be aware by now that we lost the global class war and the time has come to reboot the world.

A few other books in support of this one:
The Pathology of Power
Manufacture of Evil
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
SAVAGE CAPITALISM AND THE MYTH OF DEMOCRACY: Latin America in the Third Millennium
The Shock Doctrine
The Global Class War: How America's Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future - and What It Will Take to Win It Back

Robert David STEELE Vivas
INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insights and solutions into the crucial economic issues of our time 22 Oct 2013
By Malvin - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
“Economists and the Powerful” by Norbert Häring and Niall Douglas explains how the economics profession has been coopted to serve the interests of the powerful and what we can do about it. Mr. Häring and Mr. Douglas, who are colleagues at the World Economics Association, are well-respected financial industry journalists and consultants. This well-written book will appeal to students interested in how a more enlightened economics curriculum can be put to work for the greater good.

Mr. Häring and Mr. Douglas survey the history of economics to demonstrate how the science has been skewed for ideological purposes. The upper class’s fear of revolution, redistributive justice and socialism in the 19th and 20th centuries inspired generations of corporate-friendly economists to win over the hearts and minds of the masses to capitalism. In fact, abstract theories funded by the RAND Corporation and other corporate entities on esoteric subjects such as marginal utility, equilibrium, efficiency and rational choice achieved the stated purpose of crowding out Marxists from the economics profession. However, the authors contend that the failures of these neoclassical economic models to adequately account for real-world power relationships were a major reason why we stumbled blindly into the Great Recession of 2008 – and why the social science desperately needs to change.

On that point, Mr. Häring and Mr. Douglas go on to discuss how power defines money, management, markets, labor and politics. In each chapter, the authors compare and contrast neoclassical theory with how the world really works to shed light on how badly we have been misled. In the place of misplaced assumptions, the authors propose workable, common-sense economic solutions that have been proven to minimize abuses of power and maximize prosperity for the many, not the few.

For example, Mr. Häring and Mr. Douglas critique ‘pay for performance’ schemes as a flawed idea that significantly contributed to financial disaster amidst growing income inequality. Many executives engaged in reckless, short-term speculative behavior to reap the personal rewards promised to them by their hand-picked, compliant boards of directors. To keep power in check, the authors recommend that boards include representation from labor; directors who are independent of management; and investors who hold long-term investments in the company.

Full of insights and solutions into the crucial economic issues of our time, I highly recommend this book to everyone.
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