cover image Economix: How Our Economy Works (and Doesn't Work)

Economix: How Our Economy Works (and Doesn't Work)

Michael Goodwin and Dan E. Burr. Abrams Comic Arts, $19.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-8109-8839-2

Economics is terrifying. Even if one doesn't consider the bleak state of the current world economy, just attempting to create a mental picture of the complex systems of market forces, government agencies, and human psychologies that drive the economy can be like trying to visualize a map of the universe. But Goodwin and illustrator Burr argue that the economy is easy enough to understand if you break it down into bite-sized chunks, roughly the dimensions of a comic panel. They tell the story of the economy starting with its first documented examination by Adam Smith and working their way up to 2011. That devotion to thoroughness makes this a dense yet quite accessible read. Goodwin brilliantly contextualize economic theories with historical narrative, while Burr's simple but elegant illustration employs classical techniques like caricaturing politicians and symbolizing big businesses (as a gleeful factory) to help the reader visualize difficult concepts. If the book has a prime message, it's that the economy is quite understandable and when things go wrong, the effort and thinking of a whole society must be applied to bring everything back into line. (Sept.)