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EconoPower: How a New Generation of Economists is Transforming the World Hardcover – March 21, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0470138076 ISBN-10: 0470138076 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470138076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470138076
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,564,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...offers practical advice on personal finance matters, earning, saving, investing and retiring, based on the breakthrough contributions of behavioural economics." Pensions World July 2008 "...you can pick up nuggets of insight into behavioural economics, game theory, the flat tax debate, auction theory (particularly good)..." Financial World June 2008 "...check out Mark Skousen's Econopower...The book shows how economics has come to influence every aspect of our life" (Sunday Times Ireland Edition, December 18th 2008)

From the Inside Flap

In 2006, the Nobel Peace Prize was for the first time awarded to an economist. Once ridiculed as the "dismal" science, economics has now emerged as the "imperial" science that influences every aspect of daily life, from politics to education to religion to Wall Street. Like an invading army, the science of Adam Smith is overrunning the whole of social science—law, finance, politics, history, sociology, environmentalism, religion, and even sports. In EconoPower, professional economist Mark Skousen shows how this is happening—and how economists are solving the world's problems on both the individual and national level.

EconoPower offers practical advice on personal financial matters—earning, saving, investing, and retiring—based on the breakthrough contributions of behavioral economists. It reveals exciting discoveries by economists to solve domestic problems, such as road congestion, health care, public education, crime, and other issues high on the public's list. And it looks at how economists are working successfully on international issues from global warming to religious wars. Looking toward the future, the book also reveals what kind of new dynamic economic philosophy will dominate the new millennium.

Skousen reveals how economists have gone beyond writing abstract academic papers and books and are now applying their theories in the real world by running businesses, consulting companies, and taking positions in government. Economics can change people's lives and nations' fortunes for better or for worse, he explains, depending on how closely they adhere to or violate basic principles. Those key principles include accountability, cost-benefit analysis, investments, and entrepreneurship. By understanding and incorporating these principles, better decisions will be made on individual, corporate, and government levels. To explain this thesis, the author offers analyses of key economists who have changed their views over time, an examination of major domestic and international issues, and an explanation of how economists can predict which politicians will be successful.

With EconoPower as their guide, readers will gain a firm understanding of the influence of economics and how it can be used to improve the world we live in.


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Good, fairly quick read.
Amazon Customer
Things work better if you let things fail, and then let competition take over for a better future.
Reading Fan
This is an excellent discussion of many aspects of modern political economics.
Gderf

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Nelson Hultberg on April 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The late Milton Friedman was considered by many to be the libertarian ambassador to the American establishment. His sprightly laissez-faire perspective was, over the decades, a constant reminder to regnant Keynesian intellectuals of the manifold holes in the ship's hull of their paradigm. With an ever-gracious persona and unfailing logic, Friedman carried the flag of freedom brilliantly to those of this world who think. Now that he is gone, there needs to be someone to take his place.

Mark Skousen may just be that man. His works over the past two decades have been both prolific and profound. Like Friedman, he is an economist who can actually write in a prose style that is engaging. With his latest book, EconoPower, Skousen gives us a splendid analysis of why the intellectual progeny of Adam Smith is retaking the battlefield from the Keynesians.

EconoPower is all about how economists of the modern day are no longer satisfied with remaining in ivory towers to scribble out theories about the mysterious thing called Economy. Such a focus on "highly abstract mathematical modeling," says Skousen, is what is called the "Ricardian vice, named after the nineteenth-century economist David Ricardo who developed unreal and oversimplified models without testing them against factual evidence." This has taken economics "down the wrong road."

Today a whole new wave of Smithian progeny is going out into the real world -- the messy, problematic world that we all have to confront every day -- and showing how the science of economics can be applied to the ever-present problems of history to solve dilemmas often thought to be intractable. And they are doing so with dramatic results.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Reading Fan on December 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
According to economist Mark Skousen, there is no way we should be bailing out the banks, automakers, or whoever. Things work better if you let things fail, and then let competition take over for a better future. Government intervention should be kept at a minimum and free the supply-side of things to do its thing - - so that the money will trickle all the way down to you and me. In a nutshell, Skousen is a proponent of something called Say's Law which postulates that supply produces demand, with the keys being productivity and investment in the economy through savings. In short, don't let anything get between the buyer and the seller because "The market is wise and the state is stupid". The Keynesian economic system has been so prevalent since FDR's time but according to Skousen, it may have actually extended the affects of the Depression until after WWII, when the controls were finally lifted. On a closer-to-home level, Skousen recommends HSA's (Health Savings Accounts) to encourage competition for rendering of medical services and incentives for the individual not to overuse his account. Traffic gridlock could be solved by charging drivers according to time-of-day and traffic load according to key lanes. The voucher system for schooling our youngsters could be implemented to create competition among education providers and, at least theoretically, give kids a better education. He does recommend the Modern Portfolio Theory for personal investing - - diversify and hold, though he is skeptical of the Efficient Market Theory - - you can't beat the market because everyone has the same information at the same time.

Interesting book and good food for thought!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Herbert Gintis on October 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The uninitiated reader will probably never realize that the intellectual roots of this interesting volume lie deep in the past, with the great thinkers of the Austrian school of economics, led by Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek. The Austrians picked up the tattered banner of classical liberal economic thought (laissez-faire) in the first half of the twentieth century, and held it high while others were turning to Marxism, Keynesianism, Institutionalism, and other "statist" ideologies that recognized a need for state intervention in the economy to correct "market failures" and provide the tools that turn formal democracy into a substantive instrument with which the common folk can construct their society of the future.

Why does Skousen not make it clear that this "new generation" is really old wine (Austrian school economics) in new bottles (Skousen and a few modern economic policy experts who heed the ancient Austrian doctrine)? I think probably the reason is that the Austrians were extremely elitist and arrogant, having little appreciation for the ignorant masses who actually vote leaders into and out of office in a democratic society. Hayek himself, a brilliant thinker and Nobel prize winner, once said, when asked what he thought of the brutal Chilean dictator Pinochet, that he preferred a "liberal dictator" to a "democratic government lacking liberalism" (of course, "liberalism" here means classical free market ideology, not the modern American liberalism, which is more akin to social democracy, which the Austrians despised).

Because of their rigid purism in defense of free markets and a minimal state, their policy views have been largely ignored in the modern world. There is no nation that even remotely conforms to the Austrian idea of laissez-faire.
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