Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality

Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality

James Kwak / Sep 19, 2019

Economism Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality Here is a bracing deconstruction of the framework for understanding the world that is learned as gospel in Economics regardless of its imaginary assumptions and misleading half truths Economism a

  • Title: Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality
  • Author: James Kwak
  • ISBN: 9781101871195
  • Page: 216
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Here is a bracing deconstruction of the framework for understanding the world that is learned as gospel in Economics 101, regardless of its imaginary assumptions and misleading half truths Economism an ideology that distorts the valid principles and tools of introductory college economics, propagated by self styled experts, zealous lobbyists, clueless politicians, and iHere is a bracing deconstruction of the framework for understanding the world that is learned as gospel in Economics 101, regardless of its imaginary assumptions and misleading half truths Economism an ideology that distorts the valid principles and tools of introductory college economics, propagated by self styled experts, zealous lobbyists, clueless politicians, and ignorant pundits In order to illuminate the fallacies of economism, James Kwak first offers a primer on supply and demand, market equilibrium, and social welfare the underpinnings of most popular economic arguments Then he provides a historical account of how economism became a prevalent mode of thought in the United States focusing on the people who packaged Econ 101 into sound bites that were then repeated until they took on the aura of truth He shows us how issues of moment in contemporary American society labor markets, taxes, finance, health care, and international trade, among others are shaped by economism, demonstrating in each case with clarity and elan how, because of its failure to reflect the complexities of our world, economism has had a deleterious influence on policies that affect hundreds of millions of Americans.

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    • Best Read [James Kwak] ¾ Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality || [Biography Book] PDF ↠
      216 James Kwak
    • thumbnail Title: Best Read [James Kwak] ¾ Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality || [Biography Book] PDF ↠
      Posted by:James Kwak
      Published :2018-09-26T16:04:17+00:00

    About "James Kwak"

      • James Kwak

        James Kwak has had a successful business career as a consultant for McKinsey Company and as a software entrepreneur.


    375 Comments

    1. James Kwak emerged on the scene when it was time for Simon Johnson to expand on his seminal article in the Atlantic (the one about how our governments are “captured” by finance and about how he recognized the pattern of “capture” from his previous experience at the IMF) and turn it into a book. Kwak was the co-author of the resulting opus, “13 Bankers.”I enjoyed that book a lot less than the much punchier original article, but the premise behind “Economism” appealed to me enough [...]


    2. This was incredibly eye-opening, now so much about Republican politics and policymaking makes sense to me. (I think it is very wrong, but now it makes *sense* as opposed to "wtf why would ANYone say that, maybe I just don't get it because I'm from somewhere else?!".)The book's premise is is that instead of actual economics as a science, misleadingly taught Economics 101 principles form the basis of vast amounts of American policymaking on both sides, but especially the right. These principles al [...]


    3. There is a basic theory taught in introductory economics classes that goes something like this:Maximum economic efficiency is achieved through market forces of supply and demand.Extending this premise, the following conclusions may be (and have been) derived.-Government intervention in free markets is detrimental.-Regulations on business activities stifle production and innovation.-Restrictions on the financial sector lead to misallocation of capital.-Lowering taxes on wages incentivizes work.-L [...]


    4. A well-argued debunking of the ideology of free markets, perfect competition, and rational actors, the book explains how these have become the excuses for cruel policies leading to the impoverishment of the overwhelming majority in the USA. The book is deceptively simple in its organization: the first chapters is an overview of the book's argument, the second explains the economistic (Econ 101) model of markets and the third covers the marketing of the model. Following chapters explode, with dat [...]


    5. A simplistic and catchy dumb-down econ 101 has basically been foisted upon our political culture. Where markets and misleadingly basic ideas of supply and demand have been foisted upon the American public and dumber parts of the political class (right wingers I am looking at you.) It places the market as the ultimate arbiter of value. Your poor too bad you make what you are worth the market decides. It has lead to a reconstructed Laissez-faire where the wisdom of markets (or wall street financie [...]


    6. This is a short must-read. I found several of Kwak's points to be a perfect summation of our current political problems. Economism has become a dogma and I think calling it out like Kwak has done is the first step in loosening its grip from our policies.


    7. Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality, by James Kwak, is an interesting look at Economics 101 principles and how prevelent they are in modern political discourse. If you have ever studied economics, introductary courses are usually basic, theoretical and idealized. One looks at supply and demand equilibrium in a small market, concepts such as price elasticity, marginal utiility and so on. These principles are useful tools to quantify and understand economic principles. Kwak takes a [...]


    8. Good overview of current uses (and mostly misuses) of economic. Specifically, how one brand of economics theory has been accepted as Gospel Truth in part because it oversimplifies things dramatically and doesn't really reflect really. Decent job by Kwak, but you can find a half-dozen other books making similar arguments.One thing I never understood: why does he term it "Economism"? He's making up this term for it, when the ideology he's opposing already has a name: Market fundamentalism. I've se [...]


    9. Full disclosure: James is a good friend.But even if he weren't, I would think this book was just terrific. Clear, compelling, and persuasive, it creates both a powerful critique of economism and an effective argument for both better economic policies and a better way to look at what makes for a good society.Highly recommended.


    10. Kwak defines economism as an idea that "reduces complicated issues to a simple abstract model that is immune to facts. Its simple, catchy arguments are not published in peer-reviewed journals, they are generated by politically-motivated think tanks, amplified by the media, repeated by lobbyists, and adopted by politicans as applause lines in stump speeches. Economism is economics 101 retold as a fable, as narratives that lodge easily in the popular consciousness."Here's what Kewk coveres, as he [...]


    11. Really well written and solid thinking. You can tell by the fact that economists got mad about it. Ivy tower academics that fail to consider that the world is drastically different from the models upon which they base their "theories" (that don't equal the true scientific meaning of the term theory). The sheer volume of their reliance on a historical cannon of work by wealthy white men from eras in which women were not allowed to work (except the poor perhaps, taking in poor single men's laundry [...]


    12. The author, James Kwak, writes out an easy to follow set of examples about why economic policy is failing in this country. Economism is the term used for applying a very simplified of Econ 101 principales to everything in the world. The assumptions made by policy makers are distorted by simple thinking and a simple graph. The world of humans is messy and does not follow any consistent set of rational rules. My take is Economism is trying to make human psycology a set of logical rules. Unfortunat [...]


    13. A somewhat dry exploration of an important concept, Economism is ultimately frustratingly better at explaining the positions it argues against than at making the case for the alternatives. Kwak does a good job of explaining the worldview he calls Econ 101, efficiently describing the fairytale that comes from naively applying basic supply and demand theory to very complex real-world problems. Unfortunately, Kwak is on far less firm ground when it comes to explaining how these naive stories are at [...]


    14. About how traditional economy taught in school and nailed down in press articles and current politics is wrong. It's simplistic and monomaniacal and leads to poor results (inequality, financial ruin such as that in 2008, poverty etc.). About how the wealthy hijacked the political and economic system by using economics to justify their success, claiming that minimal wages are bad, increase in taxes are the worst, free trade is just for all and free medical care is horribly wrongheaded. Beautiful [...]


    15. A fluid, well-written account of how descriptions of supply and demand curves taught in Econ 101 classes fail to describe the way the economy works in the real world. After a long chapter summarizing the principles of supply and demand, he shows how textbook supply and demand justifications for wages, incentives, rational consumerism, unleashed financial capital, and comparative advantage simply fail to explain what happens when we examine the empirical data. Theory and practice are split asunde [...]


    16. Have you felt something is wrong with economics, which leads to bad politics inequality? This book explains in great detail and clarity exactly what that is, and deeply validates your intuitions.The wealthy and powerful have indeed been using economic arguments to further their own calls, in a way which is neither true to scientific and the data driven economics -- you know, economics that tries to understand the actual world that we live in.This is a great short book, especially the first three [...]


    17. I study economics at the graduate level, and I think Kwak did a great job outlining the limits of the introductory economics course. This book assumes no economic background, and takes the reader through basic concepts covered at the level, discussing the assumptions, which many, especially in politics, seem to overlook. If your assumptions are not met, your conclusions aren't valid for that circumstance. When politicians or their critiques make "economic claims", people should be wary of the va [...]


    18. If you're frustrated with how economics (barley a science on the best of days) somehow came to be the guiding truth to organizing society that must never be questioned (if something is 'uneconomic' it is dismissed as bad and vice versa regardless of real world implications) you will find a good summary here. If you're already well informed of the failings of the modern political system that is under the command of the finance industry and already realize how far to the right the Overton window i [...]


    19. Before reading Economism I read Milton Friedman's 'Capitalism and Freedom', where the free market argument is put forward very convincingly. But I thought I had better read some criticism I'm glad I did. In Economism, Kwak clearly explains the limitations of applying the simplistic 'Economics 101' model espoused by Friedman. He does so in laymans terms using real world examples. Critically, Kwak shows that he understands the Econ 101 arguments very well, and even acknowledges them as good starti [...]


    20. I loved this relatively short look at the history of "Economism" - rampant oversimplification of economics concepts and how they're used to distort conversations about everything from the minimum wage to free trade agreements to universal health care. This book evaluates the claims made by those who think the free market can solve all of the world's problems and demonstrates that things are far more complicated than what you learn in an Econ 101 textbook. Unsurprisingly, this oversimplification [...]


    21. James Kwak puts forth a compelling argument for how simplified Economics 101 arguments, what he calls 'economism', has taken over our America's political discourse resulting in a society that is not the "best of all possible worlds" for a large majority of the country by taking what some economist might call, if seeing them individually, "anomalies" in the basic model that key political figures put their stock in actually appear more to be closer to fatal flaws in the view itself and, in fact, a [...]


    22. "If you raise the minimum wage, you'll force more people out of work.""Raising taxes on the rich just makes them stop creating value.""Too much regulation kills the free market."These sayings sound true, and they may stand up to Econ 101, but this book does a great job showing the disparity between Econ 101 and the real world. In the real world, transactions are not arms' length, consumers do not have the freedom of buying power, and people and businesses do not act rationally. How else to expla [...]


    23. The audio edition runs a bit less than seven and a half hours, so it's a pretty quick "read." Give a copy to a young person, before they encounter the cult of the Invisible Hand. Will the wealthy stop "giving people jobs and enriching the country" if their capital gains are taxed more? Is more money really going to make the Walton Family happier and more productive than it is with a Hundred and Thirty Billion Dollars?


    24. I think the book just expands on many of the thoughts that I had when I was taking my Intro to Microeconomics class and currently in my Intro to Macroeconomics courses. Kwak correctly identifies what aspects of simplified-economics can be detrimental towards society when utilized for political gains. I wouldn't say this is the tell-all-be-all book, although I do believe this to be a great start for those who are not satisfied with the modeled efforts of economists to explain how capitalism shoul [...]


    25. This book is an amazing introduction as to how the basic principles of economics has been used to justify social and economic inequality in the United States. Briefly reviewing the principles of economic 101 (supply and demand, the free market model, etc.), the author does an amazing job breaking down seemingly complex economics concepts and revealing the flaw in trying to apply said theoretical concepts in a real world setting.


    26. Minimum Wage- no connection between minimum wage and unemployment- $10.10 minimum wage would reduce employment by 500,000 jobs, but increase incomes for most poor families (900,000 people would move above the poverty line)- a 10% raise in minimum wage reduces the number of families living in poverty by 2-3 percent.- reduce inequality by lowering the pay gapMarginal Utility and Taxes- optimal tax rate on the very rich is 73% (Diamond and Saez)


    27. Probably would have benefitted from an economist writer for the later chapters, but makes an important and sound argument nonetheless. Don't expect to learn anything (or agree with everything) if you've studied Econ academically, but it's a short and fun read.


    28. Inequality hurts more than those on the margins. It's a sign of a deeper problem that threatens everyone's future. Ideas we have been told are unassailable in textbooks are in fact quite vulnerable in the real world. This book explores the ways that harms all of us.


    29. An accessible account of the shortcomings inherent in what thinking in terms of Economics 101. James Kwak shows that the dogma behind free-market fundamentalism often hides some self-serving policies.



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