Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science That Makes Life Dismal

Moshe Adler, Author . New Press $24.95 (217p) ISBN 978-1-59558-101-3

Armed with vivid case studies and a populist axe to grind, Columbia economics professor Adler debunks the conventional economic wisdom that what's good for the rich and powerful is good for the economy through discussions of economic efficiency and how wages are determined. His main target is “the critical building block of modern economics”—Pareto efficiency—the theory that no one can be made better off without someone else being made worse off. Pareto efficiency balks at equitable resource allocation (especially from rich to poor); Adler argues that the model, carried to its extreme, proves that poor people should not be allowed to breathe clean air and that rich people pay far too many taxes, leading into a fascinating discussion of wage disparity. The claim that a person earns an amount determined by the value of what she produces is fundamentally flawed, he maintains, and the evidence shows that wages are determined by the powers a worker possesses—or does not possess—at the bargaining table. Adler's frustration with wrongheaded economic thinking is as entertaining as it is thought provoking. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/16/2009
Release date: 12/01/2009
Paperback - 217 pages - 978-1-59558-641-4
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