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Debunking Economics - Revised and Expanded Edition: The Naked Emperor Dethroned? [Paperback]

Steve Keen
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 25, 2011 1848139926 978-1848139923 2 Exp Rev
Debunking Economics - Revised and Expanded Edition, now including a downloadable supplement for courses, exposes what many non-economists may have suspected and a minority of economists have long known: that economic theory is not only unpalatable, but also plain wrong. When the original Debunking Economics was published back in 2001, the market economy seemed invincible, and conventional "neoclassical" economic theory basked in the limelight. Steve Keen argued that economists deserved none of the credit for the economy's performance, and "The false confidence it has engendered in the stability of the market economy has encouraged policy-makers to dismantle some of the institutions which initially evolved to try to keep its instability within limits." That instability exploded with the devastating financial crisis of 2007, and now haunts the global economy with the prospect of another Depression. In this expanded and updated new edition, Keen builds on his scathing critique of conventional economic theory while explaining what mainstream economists cannot: why the crisis occurred, why it is proving to be intractable, and what needs to be done to end it. Essential for anyone who has ever doubted the advice or reasoning of economists, Debunking Economics - Revised and Expanded Edition provides a signpost to a better future.

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for the First Edition:
"Debunking Economics may not delight economic conservatives, but it is certainly  necessary. Our hope must be that it will be read by enough people to prompt reform of our economic thinking and save our endangered societies" -- James Cumes, author of How to Become a Millionaire without Really Working
"Particularly useful to those, like myself, who are interested in economics but not formally trained in it.  Debunking Economics reveals that neoclassical economic doctrines are faulty...because the fundamental assumptions from which such doctrines have been derived are less than self-evident." -- Henry C.K. Liu, Chairman, Liu Investment Group

"If you are interested in how the economy really works (and want to challenge an economist) then read this book." -- James Dick, Professional Members Division, The Economic Society of Australia

"Keen's serious but accessible look at the shaky logical and mathematical foundations of neoclassical economics will be of great interest to students and open-minded economists alike.  And his insightful survey of alternative schools of thought lends substance to his call for a new economics." -- Don Goldstein, Associate Professor of Economics, Allegheny College

"A wide-ranging yet accessible critique of the staples of neoclassical pedagogy." --Alan G. Isaac, Associate Professor of Economics, American University

"This text carefully follows the form of argument familiar to all economics undergraduates, through to conclusions from which under-graduates are more usually protected. Avoiding polemic or hyperbole, the case that he presents is all the more damning for its clarity and systematic approach." --John M. Legge, Associate Professor, LaTrobe University

"Debunking Economics...will transform the way economics is taught and thought." --Jan Otto Andersson, Professor of Economics, Åbo Akademi University, Finland

"Professional economists include their own best critics. Steve Keen is one of the very best...translating the algebra into plain language, he deploys a devastating theoretical attack on neoclassical theory." --Hugh Stretton, Fellow of the Academies of the Humanities and Social Sciences, and author of Economics: A New Introduction

"Refreshingly provocative." -- Geoffrey Fishburn, Department of Economics, University of New South Wales

About the Author

Steve Keen is Associate Professor of Economics & Finance at the University of Western Sydney.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 554 pages
  • Publisher: Zed Books; 2 Exp Rev edition (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848139926
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848139923
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Steve Keen's "Debunking Economics" is a thorough and most challenging document in the ongoing struggle to understand the limitations of modern social science and economics in particular. It deserves a most careful reading and comparison with other credible studies of economics listed below.

It is similar to, but much longer than Hill and Myatt's "The Economics Anti-Textbook" in that they both follow the main topics of undergraduate textbooks (micro only in EAT). Hill and Myatt present the orthodox textbook economic positions clearly, succinctly and sufficiently to understand their eclectic critique. By comparison, for the depth and extent of Keen critique I doubt his summaries of the orthodoxy will truly be understood by the non-economically trained general reader, and therefore his critique might also not be fully appreciated: One still needs to study an economics textbook to fully understand and test Keen's critique.

But what a critique it is! Eminiently clear and precise it is hard to find fault with it.

Taken overall, Keen's is the far more comprehensive, deeper, more integrated, and more cogent critique. Both are helpful to grasp the weakness of positivist economics with its false and fictional 'value free' status (concealed value judgements abound in every choice made in every textbook!) and the urgency of the need to radically revise it, as mentioned above, for truth sake and the public interest. Just one question: Does the self-referencing throughout the text help or hinder the argument?

Perhaps a second, shorter simpler version for the general public (say between 50-250pp with a catchy title like "The Market Mechanism: Why it doesn't work and what does.
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164 of 180 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keen's Magnum Opus November 23, 2011
In the new 2011 edition of his magnum opus Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor Dethroned, Australian economics professor Steve Keen comes out guns blazing, blasting the "Panglossian view" of neoclassical economics that did so much to get us into the credit boom and bust that we are still struggling to recover from.

Keen, unlike most of his peers, understands the role of debt in the economy, both as fuel for a boom and as an enormous anchor that prevents recovery during a bust. He also clearly shows how private financial institutions create most of the debt in the economy, not the government or central banks. Mainstream economists did not see the 2008 crisis coming because, frankly, the tools they use have no way to take the role of private debt into account. It's not that mainstream economists are stupid; far from it. Most are highly intelligent. There just happens to be a rather large hole in their body of research that Professor Keen has sought to fill.

In this age of popular angst in which our reigning politico-economic system--and the Federal Reserve in particular--is under attack from both the Tea Party on the right and Occupy Wall Street on the left, it is easy to dismiss Professor Keen as just another fringe, anti-establishment doom monger. But Professor Keen is no Johnny-come-lately, and I advise readers to take his words very seriously. While his fiery rhetoric has made him a bit of a black sheep among his peers in the profession, he can rightly call "scoreboard." He was one of the few professional economists to predict the 2008 meltdown, correctly pointing out the risks of the private-sector debt explosion and sounding the alarms of the disaster to come as early as December 2005.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prelude to a New Economics November 2, 2011
Thirty years ago I experienced a highly conventional education in Economics. I always had an immense difficulty in reconciling the irreconcible; the economics inside the lecture theatre and the seminar room with that in the outside world. Without the internet and books like Debunking Economics it would have taken extraordinary luck and perseverance to find the literature I needed to counteract the wrongheadedness of what I was being taught. I can even recall one of our lecturers saying that it was part of our role as Economics students to defend Neoclassical Economics.

What Professor Keen's book demonstrates is that these nuggets were out there at the time, but that the teaching of Economics conspired against these being discovered. Keenâ(tm)s description of Economics teaching today makes very familiar reading; things do not seem to have moved on that much at all. Indeed, just last week I checked out the Economics section for undergraduate textbooks and much of what was presented was eerily familiar.

So, despite the internet and the present economic crisis Economics undergraduates are likely to find themselves in the same predicament as my younger self. If that is the case, then my advice is quite simple: buy, read, re-read and absorb Debunking Economics. Counter the nonsense you are being taught at every level and tool yourself up for building a new academic subject.

Read this book and understand that Neoclassical Economics has never been able to successfully aggregate the behaviour of individuals, either as consumers or producers, to the level of a single market let alone a whole economy. Read and understand that markets have âaeemergent qualitiesâ, i.e. that they are greater than the sum of their parts.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars This book is definitely not for sissies.
Steve Keen won the "Paul Revere Award" for being the foremost economist correctly predicting the sub-prime crash and related financial panic of 2008. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Thomas R. Moorer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read.
If you ever have doubted what you are being told as being true, Steve Keen has the book for you.
Published 6 months ago by C. McDermott
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't agree with everything said in this book, but it was...
After studying economics for several years, I always felt there was a tinge of failure throughout the theory. Read more
Published 6 months ago by H. N. T.
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging thinking but easy read! Perfect combination for a great...
Awesome book! Not your average economics textbook...
You got to buy this one, its good one to have under your belt.
Published 8 months ago by Aliaksei Lada
5.0 out of 5 stars A lot that's clear and original, even if you've read other critiques...
During the past 7 or 8 years I've been reading quite a bit, and writing a little, about what's wrong with neoclassical economics (NCE). Read more
Published 8 months ago by A. J. Sutter
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for All Students of Economics
I had been meaning to take a look at this book earlier, as the premise sounded interesting, and Keen is an interesting fellow on the blogs and twitter, but the price for a... Read more
Published 9 months ago by J. Edgar Mihelic
5.0 out of 5 stars A severe critique of neo-classical economics and equilibrium theory
I didn't realize that traditional economics is like Ptolemy's epicycles and Aristotelean philosophy: Keen critiques the reigning economics for not being a science but a logical... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Spiderman
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable walk through economic thought from a master
I really liked this book. It takes the reader through the major schools of thought that influence the modern world. Dr. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Reluctant Badger
5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the tin
Convincingly argues that economics has been ignoring and downplaying and arguing against the various ways it is falsified by experiment - what Lakatos calls a degenerative research... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Johnicholas Hines
5.0 out of 5 stars NUDIST COLONY EXPOSED
"Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists" - Galbraith.

This book is not an easy read but Keen really knows his stuff. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Jet Lagged
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