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Economics After the Crisis: Objectives and Means (Lionel Robbins Lectures) Hardcover – March 23, 2012

4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A well-researched and profound rethink of macroeconomic and financial policy after the crisis. Lord Adair Turner not only challenges the consensus on short-term tactical approaches to regulation and macroeconomic management, but he forces the reader to think more deeply about the long term goals of policy, including unfettered growth and the role of the free market.

(Kenneth Rogoff, Harvard University)

Adair Turner insists that economics should analyze the world as it actually is and human beings as they actually are and avoid taking its simplifying assumptions too literally. In this short volume he sketches the elements of such an analysis and shows how they can be applied to policy problems of the day, from financial regulation and population growth to climate change and income inequality. No one who worries about the future of the economy -- and the planet -- will fail to be provoked.

(Barry Eichengreen, George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of California, Berkeley)

...With this book, Turner has proved that Britain still produces thinkers who combine ideas with practical experience.

(New Statesman)

Adair Turner is the jewel in the crown of British public servants. He is one of a tiny minority in public life today capable of thinking and acting at the highest level. Economics After the Crisis, based on three lectures he delivered at the London School of Economics in 2010, is a thinking person's delight, not least for the clear and lucid way in which Turner sets out his arguments.

(Robert Skidelsky The Times Literary Supplement)

About the Author

Adair Turner, Chairman of Britain's Financial Services Authority from September 2008 to March 2013, is a Senior Fellow of the Institute for New Economic Thinking. He is Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics and at Cass Business School, City University London, and the author of Just Capital: The Liberal Economy.

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Product Details

  • Series: Lionel Robbins Lectures
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (March 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026201744X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262017442
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,805,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Samuel J. Sharp on June 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In this short (96 pages excluding introduction) book, Lord Turner sets forth three major arguments in three chapters: 1) Contrary to conventional economic understanding, increases in economic growth beyond some level of per capita GDP will not necessarily produce meaningful increases in welfare or happiness; 2) Some forms of increased market liberalization (especially in financial markets) does not produce greater efficiency and instead can create unjustifiable instability and inequality; 3) The field of economics should move from simplified models that do not reflect reality and instead become a moral science that incorporates lessons from history, politics, and philosophy.

These arguments include a number of nuanced qualifiers but a highly simplified, one sentence summary of his conclusion would be: "In advanced economies, because of the decreased marginal gains in utility from increased economic growth, and because of the large decreases in utility from sharp recessions, markets should be regulated to provide stability and equality rather than be left free to pursue growth as the ultimate end of economic activity." Proponents of lightly regulated free markets will likely disagree with most of this book, but I think they will find Turner's efforts scholarly, well-thought out, and fairly presented. Turner relies heavily on the work of others, and even if a reader is not impressed with this book, there are several studies and books cited that may lead to works that otherwise would not have been encountered because many of those sources are from British authors not normally cited in U.S. books on economics.

There are a few downsides to note. The price is somewhat high for such a short book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Turner's work is masterful -- he's one of the few (actually, I don't know of any other) who has the skill set to drill down from several perspectives -- all necessary for a proper analysis, and to cogently and elegantly document his P.O.V. Why haven't I seen him on Charlie Rose or any of the top interview shows in the U.S.? It's rumored that he's a candidate for head of Bank of England. If this should happen, I shall have gained the first ray of hope about the world's financial future I've had in years. Bravo, Adair! Good work!
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Format: Hardcover
Growth has been the focus and holy grail of economic policy. GDP has been the measurement of success according to economists and bureaucrats. Turner believes this is wrong. Page 3 "We have no good reason for believing that additional growth in average income as measured by national income accounts, will necessarily and limitlessly deliver increased happiness, well-being, welfare, or whatever we define as the objective."

Economic policy has pushed for an ever increasing GDP. But we know that 1% have grown their income and thus GDP, while masking all the loss of income by the rest. So using GDP numbers to define success is false. Page 77 "GDP figures are almost useless as measures of long -term changes in human well-being. Even as measures of long-term changes in what we think they measure (`real income') they are highly imperfect, because they depend on conventions and assumptions that are to a degree arbitrary."

Stock brokers never recommend "sell". They just say to "hold" or "neutral". Similarly, the money and government people never say "depression". They just say "slow growth". Ditto for admitting the inflation we all see in our monthly bills.

The delusions of this crowd about insurance protecting risk if something should invalidate their sacred models is now legendary. Page 52 "The IMF's Global Financial Stability Review on April 2006 noted with approval that credit derivatives `enhance the transparency of the market's collective view of credit risks and thus provide valuable information about broad credit conditions and increasingly set the marginal rive of credit'". Page 53 "It is now obvious that this dominant ideology was wrong, failing to allow for the potential downside of the instability that increased financial complexity might produce.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Turner's lectures are insightful on the limited scope of economic theory and the elements that it does not cover. He makes a convincing case that economics is a tool for policy makers but does not include all of the factors that governments and others should take into account in formulating public policies. His final chapter is disappointing only because he does not offer a magic formula for integrating all relevant factors in economic models. The problem, which he admits, is that many of these factors are not quantifiable and thus do not fit existing economic modelling.
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