Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science

Dani Rodrik. Norton, $27.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-393-24641-4
Lately, economics has acquired a bad rap. After all, if the "dismal science" couldn't even predict the Great Recession, what good is it? That is the question Rodrik (The Globalization Paradox) addresses in this excellent little primer, ideally suited to introductory courses, that explains with clarity and wit what economics can and cannot do. Economists, Rodrik explains, construct models—simplified versions of the real world—to help them predict how a particular economy will respond to a particular stimulus: say, a new tax, a raise to the minimum wage, or an increase in interest rates. Rodrik likens economic models to "fables" and notes that when these go awry, it is likely because they have been mistaken for reality. He takes care, though, to recount success stories, such as John Maynard Keynes masterminding the post-WWII economic order at Bretton Woods, or Ben Bernanke (in his view) stopping the Great Recession from becoming another Great Depression. He also says that we can thank economics for everyday conveniences like cheap airline tickets and efficient auctions of wireless frequencies. This book does indeed show that economics and economists exert an outsized influence, ideally wisely, in the world today. Agent: Andrew Wylie, the Wylie Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 06/08/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 176 pages - 978-0-19-873689-9
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-393-24642-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-5113-7266-4
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-393-35341-9
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