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How Markets Work: Supply, Demand and the Real World

2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1847206145
ISBN-10: 184720614X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert E. Prasch, formerly Associate Professor of Economics, Middlebury College
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Edward Elgar Pub (November 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184720614X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847206145
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,282,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book seems to come from the fifties of the sixties, but it has only be published in 2008! It gives criticism on the neoclassical market theory. A lot is well funded, like the fact that contracts are important when assessing market characteristics, but the reasoning is old-fashioned, without any reference to empirical studies.
It is true that the neoclassical oversimplification is ideologic, sometimes ressembling more religion than science. Unfortunately, the author does not succeed in presenting an alternative that is useful for further research. Like many heterodox economist, he gives lots of criticism, but no viable alternative. This is a good book for those eager to learn the flaws of neoclassical economics.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title of this book suggests that it will explain how markets work. No, it explains how the author wishes they worked. True, the author is employed as a “professor of economics,” but it turns out that there are two branches of economics: positive and normative.

Positive economics is what most people think of as neoclassical economics. It’s the social science that studies economic activity to gain an understanding of the processes that govern the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services in an economy. It’s the attempt to understand and explain economic phenomena.

Normative economics, in contrast, isn’t about understanding anything. Its focus is on economic fairness and what the goals of economic policy ought to be. Viewed that way, our author Mr. Prasch is an economist in about the same way that Al Sharpton is a sociologist. Both may have studied their subject and accumulated masses of data, but an agenda-driven analysis of a subject is designed to persuade the reader of the benefits of a certain course of action, not to provide real understanding. This lack of intellectual independence makes a balanced presentation impossible, especially if the end goal is to understand. Positive economists may want to understand, but normative economists want to control.

As an example of the normative thrust of this book, 8 of the 13 pages of “Lecture IV” on asset markets (stocks and other financial assets) address instabilities in the foreign-exchange (FX) marketplace. The entire presentation culminates in a proposal for a special sales tax on such transactions to reduce speculation and make the market more orderly.
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