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The Accidental Theorist: And Other Dispatches from the Dismal Science (Penguin Business Library) Paperback – 24 Jun 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (24 Jun. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140286861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140286861
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

When economics and ideology mix, the results often sound plausible, but in fact can be terribly wrong and lead to ill-conceived and sometimes dangerous economic policy. For several years, Paul Krugman, author of The Accidental Theorist and one of the most celebrated economists of the 1990s, has been punching holes in fashionable ideas such as the logic of supply-side economics and the evils of globalisation. The Accidental Theorist is a collection of Krugman's best published and unpublished essays that cover everything from the Asian financial crisis to inflation in America.

Krugman's cause is neither left or right; rather it's the pursuit of clear thinking about economics that's unfettered by ideology. He writes, "But we should never be surprised when prominent people say foolish things about economics. The history of economic doctrines teaches us that the influence of an idea may have nothing to do with its quality--that an ideology can attract a devoted following, even come to control the corridors of power, without a shred of logic or evidence in its favor".

If you've read and enjoyed Krugman's regular column for Slate, "The Dismal Science", or have admired his work in the New York Times, The Washington Monthly, and Foreign Affairs, you'll find that the The Accidental Theorist is a must-read. The essays in this book reflect a clairvoyant and playful mind that is patient enough to unravel and simplify--not dumb down--the arcane and lofty ideas of economics to something that the rest of us can understand. Highly recommended. --Harry C. Edwards, Amazon.com

About the Author

Paul Krugman has been proclaimed "the most celebrated economist of his generation" (The Economist), a judgement confirmed when he was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, a prize given to the best American economist under the age of forty. Professorof economics at Massachussetts Institute of Technology, Krugman advised the US government and written widely of the international press.


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I understand the disappointment of that reader in Chicago expecting Krugman to be another Feynmann. I am glad he is not. Feynmann was certainly a great storyteller, but usually he (or someone else) wrote popular books about his LIFE, not exactly about physics. Krugman is writing about economics, and not exactly about his life. And that is quite different.
I also understand Brian Dewey when he says he doesn't have "a better understanding of economic fundamentals" after reading Krugman's book. Certainly this book is useful to make people aware of the good (and sometimes bad) things economics theory has to offer (especially to debunk myths), and to motivate further reading on the subject.
Unfortunately, there is no other way to learn economics-indeed, any other analytical subject-than the hard way. And if you are motivated to learn what REAL economics is about, you should get an introductory textbook.
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Format: Paperback
As the title suggests, this is a simple read, but dont get discouraged if you have conquered those formulas of Foreign Exchange Markets or studied those depressing Classical Economists, because this book is a fun read.
The book is a collection of columns and articles he has written over the years (not in boring economic journals filled with equations). The book is a fast read, and I recommend it to anyone, no matter the depth of their economic knowledge.
-Student in Scotland
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Format: Paperback
As someone new to Krugman's writing, I was enthused by his ability to explain complex ideas and economic policy dilemmas with such a sure touch and accessible style.
The mini essays that form the core of this book range widely in scope. From his much used story of the Congress Hill Baby-Sitting Co-op to a candid assessment of the political realities of controlling car congestion and providing health care, Krugman sets out to de-mystify some of the jargon of economics and lambasts supply-side economists in fine style.
Krugman should be read by all aspiring university economic students and I will be recommending this book to my own students for their A Level courses.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a collection of short essays and articles written by Paul Krugman in the late 90s. A lot of it relates to what was contemporary debate in US politics surrounding economics and policy. It is not technical at all, thus proving to be a nice read for a layperson. Nothing mind-blowing, but if you like other books in the style of "Freakonomics" you will probably enjoy this little selection from a great economic mind. Krugman also has quite an engaging writing style. I bought it pre-owned for very cheap, so I cannot complain at all, it was a nice afternoon read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found the book very interesting and clear. Although Krugman tends to oversimplify everything I agree with most of the concepts expressed in the book. We really need more brilliant economists like him!
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a collection of 27 essays originally published between 1995 and 1997. Most of them ran in Slate, an on-line magazine, others in the New York Times, Washington Monthly and Foreign Affairs -one was written for the book. "Economics is a difficult and technical subject but nobody will believe it" is the Keynes' quote that Krugman uses to raise his main point: many people make big mistakes by not following sound economics theory. There are a lot of writers and politicians that misuse or not use economics scientific principles when they express their points of view or proposals. Economics is a science without popularizers -writers that in plain and enjoyable language use correct concepts to explain current issues. There is no Carl Sagan equivalent in Economics. Paul Krugman is trying to fill this gap. He has tried in his articles "to explode some plausible-sounding idea that happens to be false or to promote some implausible, disturbing idea that happens to be true". He also has the "purpose of demonstrating what it means to think, really think, about economics." Economics science, according to Krugman, is based on the "proposition that people will usually take advantage of opportunities, plus the observation that my opportunities often depend on your actions and vice versa". The book's essays use this foundation to cover issues in almost every economics field. Its key points or generalizations are: Jobs. Krugman argues that productivity gains do not imply loss of jobs. It implies reallocation of jobs among different economic sectors and an increase in the total jobs of the economy. This has happened in the US -less manufacturing and more service jobs. Extreme right economists.Read more ›
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By os TOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 July 2012
Format: Paperback
`The Accidental Theorist' written by economics heavy weight and Noble Memorial Prize winner , Paul Krugman is a collection of witty and incisive essays revolving around such issues as international trade, the failure of supply-side economics (e.g.: trickle done theory a.k.a: tax cuts for the rich) and how to use market forces to protect the environment. `The Accidental Theorist' assumes a little knowledge of Economics and American politics, but even if you are slightly lacking in both departments, there is much to be gleaned from Krugman's work. His writing style aligns pace with thoughtful analysis and the ability to explain sometimes complex ideas in a way that the non-specialist reader can readily grasp and appreciate. Where Krugman really scores is on the chapters relating to correcting market failure to resolve environmental problems, economics and it's impact on democracy globalisation and welfare and a brilliant section on economic trends we didn't spot, but should have done.

The author bases his ideas around two central themes: firstly that Economics is about modelling society and secondly, that if you want something to happen, provide incentives. These incentives essentially mean getting the price right! Krugman is generally a fan of free markets, but only in so far as provide welfare benefits for all and not just some. He makes the worthwhile distinction between free markets and `free lunches'.

On Economic modelling, it is plain that many politicians and often -time voters fail to realise that the economy is essentially a series of transactions and relationships: consumers and producers, voters and government, Imports and exports, savings and investment to name but a few.
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