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Economics Books That You Have Liked


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I feel like I've read the Piketty without having done so if that makes sense as read so many reviews.

The following are all available as pdfs on the web and I've really enjoyed them:

Chang-23 things they don't tell you about capitalism.

Don't let anyone tell you there is no alternative!

Polanyi-The Great Transformation

Reinforces lesson 1 from Chang, there's no such thing as a 'free market'. Great historical look at the growth of capitalism and the primacy of political decisions

Friedman-Capitalism & Freedom

As my first choices indicate, I'm not a hardcore capitalist but Friedman is very convincing. The arguments against what was at the time the Keynesian orthodoxy are in my opinion, irrefutable

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  • 3 weeks later...

Currently reading Antifragile by Nassim Taleb.

My boss hates it when I use Taleb to show how stupid some of our company decisions are.

Also I quite like the Rational Optimist a colleague gave me.

I've read Hayek and Ayn Rand but they fail in the real world.

In theory, practice is born from theory. In practice, theory is born from practice.

A roadmap is a model of reality without the potholes. If you stick to driving by a map without reference to reality you will crash... just like the banks.

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Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics by Daniel Stedman Jones (2012)

Stedman Jones is a barrister who writes history as a sideline. For me the value of the book resides in the fact that regardless of whether or not the beliefs are preferable on pragmatic grounds to competing beliefs, a great many people presently have absorbed ideological commitments rooted in the ideologies espoused by these scholars because of ideological commitments that these scholars themselves held dear. When Friedman made a technical economic argument he made it informed by beliefs from outside economics. I suspect that we'll in due course be moving from an era where we supposed collectivised labour to be the great bogeyman to a time of believing that an unconstrained and quasi-oligarchic finance sector is the great bogeyman. In light of this it is of interest to me to read a little about the people who knowingly laboured hard to promulgate the ideological commitments that were a big part of the road to here.

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Debt and the Devil - Adair Turner

Really enjoyed this. Had picked up a fair amount of his ideas from various lectures he gave during the writing of the book. His central thesis is echoed by a strand of thinking on hpc which is that you have too much of the wrong type of debt (debt used to bid up the prices of existing housing assets) in the UK economy and a corresponding debt overhang and that conventional methods of dealing with this problem are working out badly.

In a nutshell he offers that analysis that you can either turn over money creation to the private banks or you can maintain role in the process for the government. He argues, compellingly IME, that the run up to 2008 shows that if you take the former route given the inherently limited supply of housing where people want to live the private banks will pump asset price bubbles to the extent that the economy is crippled by the creation of debts it can't service. The best way to escape such a situation is for the central bank to create new base money which is spent directly into the economy.

The private bank money creation, backed by debt, is the debt of the title. The money creation by the central bank, to escape debt overhang, is the devil, given the need for the use of the tool to be restricted to avoid bringing ruinous hyperinflation.

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