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Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism [Paperback]

Jim Stanford
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 20, 2008 0745327508 978-0745327501
--A highly readable guide to how the economy really works--
Economics is too important to be left to the economists. This brilliantly concise and readable book provides non-specialist readers with all the information they need to understand how capitalism works (and how it doesn't).
Jim Stanford's book is an antidote to the abstract and ideological way that economics is normally taught and reported. Key concepts such as finance, competition and wage labor are explored, and their importance to everyday life is revealed. Stanford answers questions such as "Do workers need capitalists?", "Why does capitalism harm the environment?", and "What really happens on the stock market?" He offers both a realistic assessment of capitalism's strengths, and a robust critique of its many failures.
This book will appeal to those working for a fairer world, and students of social sciences who need to engage with economics. The book is illustrated with humorous and educational cartoons by Tony Biddle, and is supported with a comprehensive set of web-based course materials for popular economics courses.

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Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism + Economics for Social Workers + Ego Psychology and Social Work Practice: 2nd Edition
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Editorial Reviews


Stanford is that rare breed: the teacher who changed your life. He has written a book - both pragmatic and idealistic - with the power to change the world. -- Naomi Klein, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Jim Stanford has a unique ability to explain economics in ways that average working people can totally relate to. -- Bob White, Former President, Canadian Labour Congress, and Former President, OECD Trade Union Advisory Committee. I have been waiting all my adult life for this book. Jim Stanford, brilliant economist himself, wrote a terrific book that demystifies economics and makes the subject accessible to us all. Now there's going to be trouble! -- Maude Barlow, Voluntary Chairperson, Council of Canadians, and international water rights campaigner. Is economics the 'dismal science'? Not in Jim Stanford's capable hands. If we are to have better economic policies in the future, 'everyone' needs a guide, and this one is short but sweet. -- Lars Osberg, Chair of Economics, Dalhousie University, and Former President, Canadian Economics Association. Economics For Everyone is a marvelous tool for activists. It is simple but by no means simplistic, with clear explanations and clever cartoons -- Cy Gonick, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Manitoba, and publisher, Canadian Dimension. This book is a timely and important contribution to the intellectual fightback against economic fundamentalism. Written in Jim's incisive and practical style, this book is a 'must have' for anyone engaged in the fight for a good society. -- Doug Cameron, Australian Senator, and Former National Secretary, Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union. Jim Stanford has provided a highly readable yet rigorous guide to the economics of capitalism. It is to be highly commended for its comprehensive yet critical coverage - from work to globalisation, the environment to high finance. -- Malcolm Sawyer, Professor of Economics, Leeds University, U.K. Jim Stanford has written a wonderfully accessible and useful book for union activists or anyone else who wants to learn about how the economy works in order to change it. -- Thea Lee, Economist, AFL-CIO, Washington DC. This book fell on my doorstep alongside newspapers reporting (another) financial crisis. It helps us understand what the newspapers never explain: these crises are a product of the inequalities and incapacity for social foresight that is capitalism's everyday economics. This understanding helps turn these crises into opportunities for change. -- Hilary Wainwright, Editor, Red Pepper

About the Author

Jim Stanford is economist for the Canadian Auto Workers union, and economics columnist for the Globe and Mail newspaper.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press (May 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745327508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745327501
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #799,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A primer on heterodox economics August 5, 2009
By LuigiR
Of all the books I have bought for myself over the years, this is definitely one of the most useful ones I have read. Rather than being one of those books that try to present economics as a universal science, capable of explaining everything from a few absolute truths, "Economics for Everyone" showed me a side of economics I had never experimented. All of the economics courses I took as an undergrad focused on neoclassical economics. The problem, however, is that I was never told that neoclassical economics is just one possible explanation of economic phenomena. "Economics for Everyone" made me understand this.

From the very beginning, Jim Stanford (a New School graduate and trade union economist) approaches the subject in a critical manner, emphasising the fact that economics should be a more democratic subject of study, where the visions of all segments of society ought to be meaningful for the purpose of seeking solutions to everyday problems. Economics is not just the sacred knowledge of a caste of economic gurus. Instead, Stanford advocates a more grassroots approach to economics and a more critical stance vis-à-vis capitalism, as - may I add - capitalism is there to try and make our lives more prosperous, not vice versa: if it doesn't work, we must have the courage to challenge it, and advocate its reform.

Content-wise, the book presents an incredibly accessible overview of macroeconomic topics. In particular, it starts from presenting a basic "closed" economy featuring just workers and firms, and later goes on adding players to this picture, such as governments, the environment, the financial sector and foreign trade.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Sky
Excellent text for individuals seeking for a source introducing and critically examining the key economic concepts and issues. The format is very accessible and enjoyable. It will be suitable for high school students and adults without a background in critical theory. This is much more than a standard textbook in economic theory and if you are choosing between this text and a textbook, this one should be the one you read first. If you do have a basic background in economics but not critical theory, this is still a required reading for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best introd book on Distribution Issues January 31, 2012
In preparing to teach an introductory course on economics, I have been reviewing all the available textbooks and popular books that I could find. The Financial Crisis of 2007-09 formed the current setting of Economic Issues facing us today. One of these key post-Financial Crisis of 2007-09 issues is the rising inequality in income distribution in the U.S. capitalist economy. Yet there is a major lack in competent coverage of this very subject. Stanford does a fine job in laying out the basics of this subject: a discussion of different types of mixed economies, surplus created, wage/profit distribution, growing poverty, non-productive firms that still grow, and a report card that evaluates US capitalism. Heartily recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! July 30, 2010
One of the few books on capitalism that 'get it'

Stanford picks apart neo-classical economics and understands that neither people nor markets are rational or stable and should not be treated as such, he also is a gifted writer and delivers complicated economic theory to the reader in a splendid and funny way.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good intro to how capitalism works (or not) December 8, 2009
Jim Stanford, who is economist for the Canadian Auto Workers union, has produced a useful introduction to the economics of capitalism. He shows us capitalism's basics: work, tools and profit; how it works (or doesn't) as a system; its complexity; and various challenges to capitalism. He shows up capitalism's inherent failings and proposes policies that would be in the interests of the working class, the vast majority of the population in industrial countries.

He points out, "Most modern jobs and careers fall into the category of wage labour - whether they are in private companies or public agencies, blue-collar or white-collar. The stereotype of a `worker' as someone who performs menial tasks on an assembly line is badly outdated. Workers today perform a wide variety of functions, many of them requiring advanced skills. But they are still workers, so long as they perform that work for somebody else, in return for a wage or salary. Scientists in a research laboratory; surgeons in a large hospital; engineers in a construction firm - these are all workers (although culturally, they may not like to define themselves as such). They perform their labour in return for a salary, and they do not own or significantly control the organization which they work for."

He shows that the capitalist class is just two per cent of the population, and note, "Many of these rich individuals work; but the key distinction here is that they don't have to work, since they own enough business wealth to support themselves very comfortably without working."

He praises Cuba: "Socialist Cuba - where average health outcomes are superior to those in the US - manages to do more, given its GDP, to improve human welfare than any other country in the world. ...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars After this you can understand the business news
This is an excellent stepping stone for getting into economics. Nowadays the Big Money and their lackeys would like to keep the average people from understanding anything about... Read more
Published 22 days ago by N.Fred
5.0 out of 5 stars Inexpensive book
Well written and excellent book for non-economic majors. I love the author's treatment of the subject. A liberal Canadian perspective on economics that's very refreshing.
Published 5 months ago by D. Watkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
This man make Econ fun and easily understandable, I wish most of congress could read this and I do mean could read this and understand what this man is putting down. Read more
Published 13 months ago by touristamou
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books on Econs
I got this for my son-in-law who knows the author and been to his talks. I asked for his rating and he has given it 5, for all the good reason. He shares Jim's views.
Published 14 months ago by S. Somasundaram
5.0 out of 5 stars straight-forward, truth-talking
This book is a rare economic book that challenges the "main stream" economic books and enlightens average everyone. Read more
Published 18 months ago by B. Liu
1.0 out of 5 stars Anyone seeking an education instead of a circlejerk should look...
I'm a graduating econ major who was forced to purchase and read this book for a college politics class. Read more
Published on December 15, 2010 by Brassmouth
1.0 out of 5 stars terrible book
The author is a socialist, I get that. according to the author the workers should not feel bad if the company they work for goes bankrupt. Read more
Published on November 29, 2009 by fence post!
2.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but he shouldn't treat his readers like they are stupid
Ok, I agree with a lot of the political stances that he advocates, but my main area of criticism of this work is the childlike cartoons littered throughout the book... Read more
Published on August 11, 2008 by Frank Ramirez
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