Economics: The User's Guide: A Pelican Introduction Mass Market Paperback – 1 May 2014
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Page turning... A fascinating, hurtling explanation of everything... You could use it as a primer, a reference book, a brief history; it is all these things... It reflects the urgent generosity of a thinker whose depth of understanding is matched by a desire to see us all understand... Ha-Joon Chang's wealth is in his knowledge, perceptiveness, insight and vision. And he can't give it away fast enough. It flies off him like the seeds of a dandelion (Zoe Williams The Guardian)
Brilliant... Chang's lightness of touch makes often dry subject matter very readable... The first section is a page-turning history, the second a call to arms about how to apply economics in the real world using simple, everyday examples (Financial Times)
About the Author
Ha-Joon Chang teaches economics at Cambridge University. His book 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism was a no.1 bestseller and was called by the Observer 'a witty and timely debunking of some of the biggest myths surrounding the global economy.' He is a popular columnist at the Guardian, and a vocal critic of the failures of our economic system.
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Top Customer Reviews
In fact, one of Chang’s bugbears is the laughable concept of the “trickle-down” effect, made “popular” in the Reagan era, where we put even more money in the hands of the rich in the vain hope that they’ll invest it in something that will eventually provide the rest of us with a job and prosperity. Ha! How’s that one working out for ya? Well, looks like most of the people with the money are still investing in the kinds of complex derivatives that got us here in the first place, not in the capital equipment and R&D that would actually be useful.
Much of the content of the book deals with fairly basic economic concepts, clearly positioning it as a primer, but for those wishing to know more the Further Reading sections at the end of each chapter are excellent, referencing some of the books I had in mind when reading.Read more ›
The book itself is divided into twelve chapters exploring a range of economic issues including asking what exactly economics is, exploring the role of the state, inequality and poverty, work and unemployment, finance and production. Sixty odd pages are devoted a brief history of capitalism, giving the reader a pretty good understanding of two and a half centuries of capitalisms global progress.
It's a brilliant introduction for those who have encountered the economy watching the news, through history or political books, and want to find out what this vitaly important aspect of our lives is about. The further reading guides at the end of each chapter are a valuable resource for those whose interests have been aroused. More seasoned students of economics should find the scope of the book (both intellectually and geographically), and it's easy and succinct style ample reward for the effort spent reading. One quibble I have: important terms (privitisation, capital controls, etc) are printed in bold at the point in the text where they are explained, but the index of the defined terms that ought to be there, allowing easy reference to the definitions, is absent.Read more ›
This book is not dismal. And it does not reach definite conclusions (by and large) but is no less worth reading because of that. Ha-Joon Chang has written an introductory text to the subject which goes beyond providing dictionary definitions of key terms. He provides a potted history of the global economy, the consequences of growing inequality in rich countries, an excellent, succinct account of what went wrong with the banking system in 2007/08, expresses scepticism about the value of `happiness' economics (welcome, in my view) and much else besides. You will read a lot of interesting ideas - why, for instance, manufacturing has not declined as much as we think in some western countries, why globalisation is not an inevitable expression of technological progress, why most of the poorest people in the world do not live in low-income countries and, topically, why Google and Starbucks (or Amazon!) have not actually broken any UK laws in their various tax-dodging schemes. It is also a very well-written, very readable work, a pleasure to read. You will certainly learn a lot if you read it.
The principal merit of this book is two-fold: it reminds us that economics is not a science. You cannot take politics out of economics. Dismal it may be; a science it is not. Economists articulate value systems as much as they do descriptions of what is supposed to be happening in the world. The second is that, despite the impression you may get from reading the mainstream press, there are and have been numerous schools of economic thought.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Humorous and immensely readable. Makes economics accessible and intelligible. Provides an entry level discussion of a wide range of economic and political topicsPublished 3 days ago by Roger and Nadia Barb
The writer goes beyond the basics and provides thoughtful commentary of all must-know topics in modern days economicsPublished 20 days ago by Alok
Perfect as a quick reference for someone not coming from Economics. I may personally difer with some of the author's social concepts and political orientation but it has been fun.Published 4 months ago by Richard Mangas
This book explains economics in a simple no nonsense way. It is an eye opener revealing that some accepted truths are really just opinions. I do recommend this bookPublished 5 months ago by Michael Feeney
Highly recommended for both student of economics and the members general public who want to know how things work in this world. Objective analysis, clearly explained.Published 5 months ago by Helen E. O'Connor
Ha-Joon Chang presents the subject in way which makes it interesting and enjoyable read.Published 6 months ago by David Harding