Why are financial markets and housing markets so prone to bubbles? Why doesn't rising prosperity make people happier? Why do many people contribute generously to charity but fail to save for their own retirement? What is the economic answer to global warming? These questions all involve behaviour that many would regard as irrational - and market ...
Why are financial markets and housing markets so prone to bubbles? Why doesn't rising prosperity make people happier? Why do many people contribute generously to charity but fail to save for their own retirement? What is the economic answer to global warming? These questions all involve behaviour that many would regard as irrational - and market outcomes that are far from ideal. Standard economics has been dominated by rational choice models, which regard the free market as a giant super-computer that magically coordinates the activities of consumers and firms, to the benefit of all. Using fascinating new insights from behavioural economics, and vivid contemporary and historical examples, Cassidy shows how people's myopia, gullibility, copycat behaviour, overconfidence, loss aversion, and sense of altruism and fairness all help us understand the world in ways that rational choice economics does not. This is the book that both explains the current moment and explains past and future such moments. We will continue to get things wrong. But at least now we will be having the right conversation.
Good. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine. 416 p. Intended for college/higher education audience. Intended for professional and scholarly audience.
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Borrowed it from the library and decided later I needed to have a copy always handy. A useful antidote to the free market fundamentalist idiocies that we keep being subjected to.
Mar 4, 2010
With wit and clarity, Cassidy provides a compressed history of economics beginning with Adam Smith and leading to the murky behavioral psychology that makes comprehensible the devastating suicidal plunge of bankers and brokers over the edge of reasonable risk. Wall Street emerges as the Id of the national psyche, driven by dark and irresistible forces, and regulation, our Superego, seems the only remedy for the passionate irrationality of which all of us -- financiers, consumers, politicians -- are guilty. Most instructively, Cassidy points to the fact that all markets are not the same or subsumable under the same theory. Economic behavior is, first of all behavior, not mathematics, and requires a more subtle and flexible understanding than classical economics or ideologies can provide.
Publishers Weekly, 2009-10-05 Market disasters-and the cycle of delusions responsible-receive lively, engaging analysis by Cassidy (Dot.con), a journalist at the New Yorker. The author focuses primarily on the rise and fall of free market ideology and the mostly unrealistic ideal of a self-correcting marketplace. An excellent comprehensive history of the economic thought that led to this kind of utopian economics provides a refresher course in Adam Smith, Friedrich August von Hayek, Kenneth Arrow and Hyman Minsky. Both a narrative and a call to arms, the book provides an intellectual and historical context for the string of denial and bad decisions that led to the disastrous "illusion of harmony," the lure of real estate and the Great Crunch of 2008. Using psychology and behavioral economics, Cassidy presents an excellent argument that the market is not in fact self-correcting, and that only a return to reality-based economics-and a reform-minded move to shove Wall Street in that direction-can pull us out of the mess in which we've found ourselves. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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