Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism Hardcover – 18 Feb 2009
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This book is a sorely needed corrective. Animal Spirits is an important--maybe even a decisive --contribution at a difficult juncture in macroeconomic theory.<br/> (Robert M. Solow, Nobel Prize-winning economist )
From the Back Cover
"This book is a sorely needed corrective. "Animal Spirits" is an important--maybe even a decisive--contribution at a difficult juncture in macroeconomic theory."--Robert M. Solow, Nobel Prize-winning economist
"This book is dynamite. It is a powerful, cogent, and convincing call for a fundamental reevaluation of basic economic principles. It presents a refreshingly new understanding of important economic phenomena that standard economic theory has been unable to explain convincingly. "Animal Spirits" should help set in motion an intellectual revolution that will change the way we think about economic depressions, unemployment, poverty, financial crises, real estate swings, and much more."--Dennis J. Snower, president of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy
""Animal Spirits" makes a very timely and significant contribution to the development of a new dominant paradigm for economics that acknowledges the imperfections of human decision making, a need which the panic in financial markets makes all too apparent. I am not aware of any other book like this one."--Diane Coyle, author of "The Soulful Science: What Economists Really Do and Why It Matters"
"Akerlof and Shiller explore how animal spirits contribute to the performance of the macroeconomy. The range of issues they cover is broad, including the business cycle, inflation and unemployment, the swings in financial markets and real estate, the existence of poverty, and the way monetary policy works. This book is provocative and persuasive."--George L. Perry, Brookings InstitutionSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is written in a clear and accessible style, and should appeal to the general reader seeking to understand the reasons for the current financial cries, or just looking to deepen their understanding of the economy in general. The authors extol the virtues of the free market and are against excessive government control, but they make a powerful case for more robust intervention than has been fashionable in western economies for the past few decades. I hope this book is widely read by both policy makers and economists, and has the desired effect in boosting Keynesian influences on political decision making so the current crises can be quickly contained and replaced by a more stable and fairer economy.
I have a few concerns about the books style and lack of polish. The preface is bold and compelling, yet most of the following chapters lack energy and rigour.Read more ›
It is basically split into two parts - the first section runs though some key concepts that affect behaviour, and the second applies these concepts to a number of issues. The concepts that the authors highlight are confidence, fairness, corruption and bad faith, money illusion and stories. All of these are important factors as they show how human decision-making is not necessarily rational and self-maximising.
Just to take a couple of examples from this list, Akerlof has been involved in some very interesting research into how conceptions of `fairness' affect market behaviour. Although it might be assumed that we are only motivated by our own interests, and fairness doesn't really matter to us, actually `unfair' behaviour can make (some of) us want to negatively reciprocate (retaliate), and willing to sacrifice our own potential gains in order to punish those acting unfairly. This has obvious implications (as Akerlof has argued previously) in terms of employment relations.
I was also very interested to see stories as one of the factors that they identify. This is a key part of Shiller's analysis of bubble psychology too (the stories we tell each other about what is going on act as positive reinforcement/feedback).Read more ›
The term "animal spirits" comes from the Latin "spiritus animalis", the life force. It has been adopted and adapted by economists to describe the human factor. The economist John Maynard Keynes incorporated it into his work, a fact overlooked by many later Keynesians but not by the authors of this book.
This is an economics book without graphs, tables or equations, making it an accessible read, but it is still a book about economics and the dismal science cannot be avoided. The ability to construct quantifiable theories is not enough to describe economics and economic behaviour. Indeed, basing government policy on purely quantifiable theories can be dangerous. To put the proper emphasis on the soft, unquantifiable factors that drive the economy is what this book is all about.
THE BOOK has 176 pages plus 22 pages of Notes and 20 pages of References. It is split into two parts: "Animal Spirits" and "Eight Questions and their Answers". These questions are:
+ Why Do Economies Fall into Depression?
+ Why Do Central Bankers Have Power over the Economy?
+ Why Are There People Who Cannot Find a Job?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An amazing book, perfect introductory reading for someone new to Behavioural Economics. As an A2 student hoping to study Economics at university, this book was accessible whilst... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Dani
Easy straight forward quick read which cogently put's across it's case for the role of behaviour and variance in the economics... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Ted Cran
The thinking is obviously top drawer. Somehow however you end up feeling it doesn't measure up to the gravity of the situation.Published on 7 April 2014 by Kevin H Gaughan
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