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The Economics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Microeconomics [Kindle Edition]

Rod Hill , Tony Myatt
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mainstream textbooks present economics as an objective science free from value judgements; that settles disputes by testing hypotheses; that applies a pre-determined body of principles; and contains policy prescriptions supported by a consensus of professional opinion. The Economics Anti-Textbook argues that this is a myth - one which is not only dangerously misleading but also bland and boring. It challenges the mainstream textbooks' assumptions, arguments, models and evidence. It puts the controversy and excitement back into economics to reveal a fascinating and a vibrant field of study - one which is more an 'art of persuasion' than it is a science. The Anti-Textbook's chapters parallel the major topics in the typical text, beginning with a boiled-down account of them before presenting an analysis and critique. Drawing on the work of leading economists, the Anti-Textbook lays bare the blind spots in the texts and their sins of omission and commission. It shows where hidden value judgements are made and when contrary evidence is ignored. It shows the claims made without any evidence and the alternative theories that aren't mentioned. It shows the importance of power, social context and legal framework. The Economics Anti-Textbook is the students' guide to decoding the textbooks and shows how real economics is much more interesting than most economists are willing to let on.

Product Description


'Hill and Myatt's timely book should be compulsory reading for every student of economics. It gives vital anwers to the question which ever more people are asking - how did economics get it so wrong? A searching critique of the actual texts which figure on economics courses offers that vital product too long absent from the economics storecupboard - a second opinion.' --Alan Freeman, coordinator, UK Association for Heterodox Economics

'What humankind needs second most (first is a cure for global warming), is a means of defusing the lethal ideological superstitions implanted in the educated masses by Samuelson/Mankiw type economics textbooks. Hill and Myatt's anti-textbook goes a long way toward providing it.' --Edward Fulbrook

'I highly recommend Hill and Myatt's anti-textbook. It is not so much an outright rejection of traditional treatments of introductory microeconomics as it is an exercise in laying bare the premises on which they are based and then suggesting alternative assumptions and methodologies. This approach leaves the student with a much deeper understanding of economic theory and it shows our discipline for what it truly is: an ongoing conversation among competing paradigms. I urge instructors to amend their courses so that time can be made for this important critique.' --John. T. Harvey, Professor of Economics, author of Currencies, Capital Flows, and Crises: A Post Keynesian Analysis of Exchange Rate Determination; former director of the International Confederation of Associations for Pluralism in Economics

About the Author

Rod Hill is a lecturer in the Faculty of Economics, University of New Brunswick, Saint John, Canada. Tony Myatt is Professor of Economics at the University of New Brunswick. Fredericton, Canada. Roderick Hill (BA, U of Toronto; Diploma, International Graduate School, University of Stockholm; MA, PhD, University of Western Ontario). Rod had earlier appointments at the University of Windsor and the University of Regina and, as a graduate student, worked as a research assistant for the Royal Commission for the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada. He has been a short-term visitor at the University of Toronto and the University of Victoria. He is interested in public sector economics and is a former member of the editorial board of the Canadian Tax Journal. With Tony Myatt of UNB Fredericton, hes working on an anti-text book for undergraduate students of microeconomics. In his leisure time, he enjoys chess and yoga. Tony Myatt received his PhD from McMaster University with distinction in theory. He has taught at McMaster University, Western University, Nipissing University College, the University of Toronto, and the University of New Brunswick, where he has been Professor of Economics since 1992. His research interests have included the supply-side effects of interest rates, labour market discrimination, unemployment rate disparities, and the methods and content of economic education. His interest in textbooks stems from re-evaluating what is typically taught at the introductory level. As a result, he has developed several different introductory courses as vehicles for teaching principles of economics, including Economics of Everyday Life, Economics in the Real World, and Economics Through Film. Professor Myatt was the recipient of UNB's Arts Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3424 KB
  • Print Length: 316 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1842779397
  • Publisher: Zed Books; 1 edition (11 Mar. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A76X0MW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #446,347 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Textbook Economics: Text and Anti-Text 30 Oct. 2011
Hill and Myatt's anti-textook is an easy to read, well organised critique of textbook micro-economics that can be read alongside any standard textboook. It is more a series of explorations than a coherent critique launched from one theoretical perspective; nevertheless, it exposes the limitations of modern economics well. It deserves a most careful reading and comparison with other credible studies of economics listed below.

It is similar to, but more direct and simpler to read than Steve Keen's Debunking Economics second edition, which taken overall is more comprehensive and a deeper more cogent critique. Both are essential to help grasp the weakness of positivist economics.

But, I would like to recommend a book that penetrates more deeply into the political and economic philosophy behind the modern "science" of economics by examining Hobbes, Locke, Smith, Marshall, Keynes, Hayek, Myrdal, and Rational Expectations Economics. That book is "Deductive Irrationality. A Commonsense Critique of Economic Rationalism" 073911624X) by Stephen McCarthy and David Kehl based on the teaching and writings of Dr. Richard W. Staveley here in Brisbane, Australia from the 1960s to the end of the last century.

Other books of interest reviewing economics include:
1. Debunking Economics 2nd ed. by Steve Keen;
2. The Skeptical Economist by J. Aldred;
3. Economics for the Rest of Us by Moshe Adler;

Happy reading!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been a professional economist for nearly 20 years, working in both Government and academia, and have read numerous books on economics during this period, both the professional purposes and for leisure. However, as someone whose academic qualifications also include sociology, social policy, politics and philosophy, I am well aware of the pitfalls of modern neoclassical economics and am very open to reasoned critiques of my professional discipline. It is on this basis that I feel confident in stating that The Economics Anti-Textbook is the best exposition of what is termed ‘heterodox’ economics I have yet to read.

It is very easy to knock the type of economics which is routinely carried out by people working in both Government and academia. Indeed, many people have tried to do just that. However, the results are often unconvincing and this is especially so when the authors are seeking to capitalise on the recent credit crunch or where their own background is not in economics. Thus the adage ‘set a thief to catch a thief’ applies to the critique of mainstream economic theory. And, as the authors are both professors of economics, they are well qualified for this purpose.

The problem with the critiques of economics written by non-economists or populists is that they rarely understand the issues that they seek to undermine. Thus caricature rather than critique emerges. This usually takes the form of claims that economists assume that everyone is selfish or that they advocate market solutions to all problems regardless of the problems. Few of these critiques realise that micro economics only makes the minimal assumption that people are rational and that this can include both selfish and altruistic behaviour.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Paul Bowes TOP 1000 REVIEWER
'The Economics Anti-Textbook' is not, as one might infer initially from its title, merely an alternative perspective to that of the mainstream economics that is the basis of the vast majority of school and undergraduate-level economics textbooks. The authors have something larger in view: the need for the systematic restoration to economics teaching at those levels of the political, sociological, behavioural and ethical factors and concerns that elementary economics teaching for the most part omits. This is an important matter, because most people receive little or no education in economics beyond the level of these textbooks; subsequently, they will depend for their information and views on politicians and businessmen who in many instances have received only the same sort of education themselves.

Hill and Myatt subject the standard economics textbook to a thoroughgoing critical examination, in search not merely of its obvious simplifications - the crucial importance of the over-idealised supply-and-demand-model of competitive markets, for example - but with a view to identifying the pervasive ideological assumptions that underlie what is presented as objective fact. They establish beyond reasonable doubt that economics is necessarily a form of rhetoric - a way of speaking about economic activity - rather than a true science, and that economics teaching obfuscates this fact by excluding from consideration dimensions of economic activity that cannot be reduced to mathematical expression.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent accompaniment to any economics course 13 Dec. 2010
Hill & Myatt have crafted the perfect accompaniment to your economics textbook. I say accompaniment as I didn't feel this book alone was enough-although it does essentially include most of typical textbook material plus a rigorous critique. I was reading Sloman's Essentials of Economics at the same time. Although I found it invaluable to have such a great digest of all the critical literature, I must say that sloman's textbook didn't display much of the myopia and hidden ideology that Hill & Myatt so expertly deconstruct. In that sense I did feel their stance was perhaps overly reactionary and hyperbolically critical. In addition the writers definitely have an opinion and aren't afraid to voice it but to their credit they at least flag up this bias early on and it is in fact one of their strengths as it makes difficult material far more engaging.

If you're looking to dig deeper behind the mainstream classroom economics or can't understand how a subject so unscientific and imprecise as economics continues to have such a firm hold over our lives then this book is for you. Now all I need is a guide to Macroeconomics that is this insightful. Come on guys!
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