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on 19 February 2015
Like the author’s previous book ‘The Origins of Financial crises’ this is a wonderfully written and engaging book for its target audience - us ordinary mortals!
And it’s the perfect book for this election year to help us get to grips with competing economic ideologies - which the author describes with awesome clarity on a two dimensional plane.
And it’s full of sharp humour – as when he explains how the popularity of various economics ideas have ebbed and flowed like the ‘migrations of wildebeest on the East African Serengeti!’
And it contains the funniest joke of all time about economists. I’ll leave you to buy it for that one.
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on 3 March 2015
This brilliant book should be compulsory reading for politicians struggling to put our economy right. Professional economists will hate it because it shows how threadbare their science is. Against the background of scientific revolutions in astronomy, physiology, evolution and geo-tectonics, Cooper rejects the three axioms on which neoclassical economics is based, and puts forward a shift of view which could provide a better approach. He does not try to demonstrate their value by piling fact on fact; either you experience the Aha moment or you don't. This is not the end of the argument, as he leaves out ecological economics and its insight that the economy is constrained by the limits of the planet, but he has made a good start.
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on 24 February 2015
Concise, clear, engaging...fantastic writing style. Additionally makes clear the major issues with the current state of affairs in economics, explains that state of affairs very clearly, and then proceeds to offer a new model for understanding the economy that seems clearly superior to me.
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on 7 April 2014
There is a lot of concentrated thought in this book, artfully hidden in a refreshingly small number of pages. He summarises four intellectual revolutions, explains the limitations of the various schools of economics, and finally proposes a fresh way to turn economics into a science. Capitalism makes wealth but also inequality, and taxation is necessary to reduce the inequality and get wealth back down to where it can be put to good use. I do not know if this is the right answer or not, but it is a great idea and well worth a read.
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on 20 March 2014
In Money, Blood and Revolution, George Cooper diagnoses correctly what ails the modern economics profession: It is operating from within a flawed paradigm, unable to reconsider basic, long-internalised assumptions. Drawing on the insights of Thomas Kuhn on the origins of scientific revolutions through history, Cooper demonstrates convincingly that today's economic mainstream has reached a dead end and cannot advance through ever-more-complex equations and models. Rather, a fundamental re-imagining is required, something that Kuhn argued in his work was highly unlikely to emerge from within the profession itself. Either younger, rising stars or relative outsiders are more likely to lead the way forward from here, and Cooper explores some possible directions, including his idea for a 'circulatory' economics paradigm.

One major quibble I have with the book is its treatment of the Austrian Economic School, which Cooper claims does not have a robust framework for understanding the role of government in the economy. For those familiar with the Austrian School, this will come as a shock. Much Austrian School economic literature is written primarily about how government (or central bank) policies distort economic calculation, leading to resource misallocation and booms and busts far larger than would occur absent government interference in markets. Henry Hazlitt's classic 'Economics in One Lesson' is a prominent case in point. There are many others.

Cooper notes that Thomas Kuhn believed that scientific revolutions resulted in simpler rather than more complex frameworks for understanding natural phenomena. Thus the same should be true in the event of a new economics paradigm. That the Austrian School has a far simpler, common sense framework than that of the current economic mainstream may be a clue as to its relative importance in the revolution that Cooper believes lies ahead. Another may be that, of all the prominent economic schools that exist today, only the Austrian School successfully predicted the financial crisis of 2008, from which the mainstream economics profession has yet to draw meaningful lessons. -- John Butler, author of The Golden Revolution (John Wiley and Sons, 2012).
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on 27 March 2014
George Cooper has managed to cut through ever-increasing layers of complexity, whereby competing economic schools of thought seek to explain away obvious discrepancies in their axioms, and make a simple but compelling argument for why Western economies have performed so well since the advent of democracy.
This is a hugely entertaining read for academics, practitioners, and laymen alike, although judging by the evidence George Cooper provides, the former will not easily be converted!
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on 23 April 2015
For those of you that doubt the usefulness of most economic argument, this book has a great approach to explaining why your doubts are well founded. Drawing observations from different sciences such as astronomy, geology and biology, George Cooper demonstrates how the study of economics is heading down a dead-end. The discussion on maximisation vs competition (chapter 8) is essential reading.

Unlike most books on economics, this one focuses on a different set of problems, like an explanation of economic growth. This is far more interesting than yet another review of inflation, business cycle and unemployment theory.
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on 6 August 2016
....It's only today's economists that make it so. George Cooper is a smart financial practitioner with a facility for peeling away the complexities that academics have layered onto economics in order to make it a "science" and thereby put themselves firmly in control of policy-making. Readers can take some of that control back reading books like this.
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on 10 May 2014
The book provides the case for a revolution in economic thinking, which is needed, especially after the financial crisis. I admit I struggled in reading the chapter regarding the revolution in other sciences. These could have been shorter. However, I enjoyed the following ones, as they provide a different than usual view of the economy and how this has to be changed both in the US and UK.
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on 17 December 2014
I feel sorry writing a bad review of this work. I am a huge promoter of many of the component ideas. However compelling they are individually they do not hang together well here and the original material is poor.

The account of Kuhn's theories is very good. Cooper thinks that economics is in the throws of paradigm shift. There is definitely a crisis in economics but Coopers claim that this is recent and likely to be resolved soon is wrong. First Kuhn has been challenged and revised since the 1950s by others. There is no universal template for scientific revolutions. Standard economics *should* have been in crisis since the late 19th century when Poincare debunked the maths it is based on. It should have resolved the crisis in the 1990s with the birth of Econophysics and the Santa Fe institution and John Holland's work on Complex Adaptive Systems. It just hasn't happened. Scientific disputes do not automatically resolve on a schedule set by Kuhn.

The fact is economists are entranced by the sunk cost fallacy and the compulsion to use their old mathematical tools whether they are discredited or not. Like drunks they look for their keys not where they left them but where the street light is. They keep training up new generations of believers is their false religion.

Cooper's debunking of neo-classical economics is absurdly thin. He barely argues the case at all. I happen to agree with the conclusion but that is not relevant. A far far better work here is the Origin of Wealth by Beinhocker which argues the case over several hundred pages very readably.

The material about 'competition' is addressed far more convincingly by Adair Turner in Economics After the Crisis.
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