The Rise and Fall of Homo Economicus: The Myth of the Rational Human and the Chaotic Reality

Yannis Papadogiannis, trans. from the Greek by Nick Roussos. CreateSpace, $17.85 trade paper (282p) ISBN 978-1-4996-4667-2
This debut from Greek journalist Papadogiannis consists of a thoughtful but overly familiar consideration of the limited ability of economists to forecast the financial future. He points out that economics is considered a science meant to explain a rational system; the problem is that human beings are not rational and do not behave in a way that science can predict. The result: time and again, economics has failed us. Most of the book is an exhaustive illustration of this thesis, tracing the history of the “dismal science” from the Crusades through the Industrial Revolution and up to the present. The pace picks up during a discussion of financial crises that takes in tulip mania in the Netherlands in the 17th century, the Great Depression, and finally the 2007 crisis. Papadogiannis looks to address the larger question: did we, economists and civilians alike, trust so much in economics’ infallibility that we allowed it to contribute to the Great Recession? Though this is a worthy effort, all of the ideas it broaches have been raised elsewhere and earlier. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 10/13/2014
Release date: 08/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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