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Economics in Two Lessons: Why Markets Work So Well, and Why They Can Fail So Badly Hardcover – April 23, 2019
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"This is a highly readable introduction to the intellectual framework of modern policy economics, with plenty of lively examples."---Diane Coyle, Enlightened Economist
"His book would be a useful supplement to a principles of economics course, with the advantage of avoiding resort to any graphs or equations . . . . [It] provides an essential completion of the basic story . . . . It is essential reading for anyone interested in the practical side of economic policymaking."---Max B. Sawicky, Jacobin
"The themes are complex, but the writing is clear, and the journey is rewarding." ― BizEd
"Quiggin writes well and [this] book is full of useful erudite information."---Warwick Lightfoot, Financial World
"Many economists consider ‘opp cost’ to be the single most important and fundamental concept in economics, and the discipline’s most useful contribution to the betterment of mankind. Indeed, that’s the view Professor John Quiggin, of the University of Queensland, takes in his book Economics in Two Lessons, which I recommend as the best book to introduce you to economics."---Ross Gittins, Sydney Morning Herald
"Quiggin reckons with the incoherence of markets-only thinking in his masterful 2019 book Economics in Two Lessons, which explores the power, limitations and dangers of using markets to solve our problems in a thoughtful and clear way."---Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
“This popular, accessible introduction to economics is organized around an idea that is brilliantly simple yet encompassing.”―Suresh Naidu, Columbia University
"With apologies to Isaiah Berlin, Quiggin is a foxy hedgehog: He knows two big things, and these twin lessons―about the virtues and limits of markets―sustain a pioneering, persuasive, and even passionate case for democracy and the mixed economy. Make room for two lessons in your mind, and on your bookshelf.”―Jacob S. Hacker, coauthor of American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper
"With a confident style, John Quiggin weaves together clear theory and fascinating stories to explain why markets work and why they fail. He makes the case that one-lesson economics, based on the idea that market prices are always right, is as useful as a one-wheeled bicycle. If you want to understand what free-market economics gets right, and when governments need to step in, this is the book for you. My two lessons: buy it, and read it."―Andrew Leigh, member of the Parliament of Australia
"Anyone who wants to understand the real workings and real limits of real markets should read this book.”―Ingrid Robeyns, author of Wellbeing, Freedom, and Social Justice
- Publisher : Princeton University Press; Illustrated edition (April 23, 2019)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 408 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0691154945
- ISBN-13 : 978-0691154947
- Item Weight : 1.5 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.7 x 1.4 x 8.6 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #990,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Yet, this book may be worth reading for the following reason: sophisticated readers will get a good idea why America has outpaced both Britain and to a lesser degree, Australia, since the beginning of the twentieth century.
As to the substance of the book, I was annoyed by the author’s repeated ad hominem attacks on economists who disagree with him. (One footnote I checked to see if it elaborated on an ad hominem attack made in the book was itself a summary ad hominem attack.)
The author plays semantical games. For example, he defines any period of economic activity that is below a prior peak as a period of recession. Thus, even if unemployment is falling and GDP is growing (even very rapidly), this period would qualify as recessionary.
Perhaps I misunderstood the author, but I had trouble following the logic of his analysis of the economic consequences of a broken window. He points out that repairer of the window may spent his/her earning on the purchase a suit, which would replace the foregone transaction of the owner of broken window buying a suit, which he/she can no longer afford. But this analysis fails to acknowledge the second transaction that would have occurred if the tailor had money from selling a suit to the owner of broken window.
The author appears to claim that it is impractical to have nationwide transport businesses that are not actively managed by the government.
One of the major stratagems of propaganda is to blinker readers to conflicting information. That's what "Economics In One Lesson" did, and what Quiggin undoes. Much more politely than "Economics In One Lesson" deserves.
This is an essential book for understanding what's wrong with most conservative economic claims. It also presents many fascinating historical aspects of economics along the way.