My top 3 favourite Economics books
Updated: Sep 7, 2020
There's so many interesting books on Economics which I've found to be a fun way of learning about Economics instead of reading chunky economics textbooks. Here are my top 3 favourite entertaining books out there, which will teach you so much about Economics without even realising it:
1) The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford
This is a book which shows you that economics plays a massive part in every section of your life, and how knowing about the economics behind these everyday things can help you understand the world slightly better. It answers questions such as: Who makes most money from the demand for cappuccinos early in the morning at Waterloo Station? Why is it impossible to get a foot on the property ladder? How does the Mafia make money from laundries when street gangs pushing drugs don't? Who really benefits from immigration? How can China, in just fifty years, go from the world's worst famine to one of the greatest economic revolutions of all time, lifting a million people out of poverty a month?
2) 23Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang
This book left me questioning everything I know. It explains in simple language how many of our present-day economic problems are related directly to free-market policies, the book is broad in its appeal and essential reading for anyone who wants to know more about why the weaknesses of capitalism need to be addressed.
Ha-Joon Chang looks at 23 things asserted by people with a neo-liberal economic viewpoint and discusses each in turn. For example: There is no such thing as a free market, companies should not be run in the interest of their owners, the washing machine has changed the world more than the internet has, assume the worse about people & you get the worst, free-market policies rarely makes poor countries rich, capital has a nationality, Africa is not destined for underdevelopment, governments can pick winners, people in poor countries are more entrepreneurial than people in rich countries, despite the fall of communism we are still living in planned economies and good economic policy does not require good economists.
Chang explains at the start of the novel that despite the name, the book is by no means anti-capitalist and aims not to take sides but to explain the realities, although he does say “despite its problems and limitations, I believe that capitalism is still the best economic system that humanity has invented.”
3) Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems by Abhijit V. Banerjee, Esther Duflo
The authors, who are actual #CoupleGoals, are both economics professors at MIT who won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty". I really enjoyed their previous book Poor Economics , so I pre-ordered this book as soon as I found out it was being released!
It's filled with exciting discussion of economics and what it can teach us about some of the most important issues in the world today ranging from: Immigration and inequality, globalisation and technological disruption, slowing growth and accelerating climate change.
A lot of the evidence is in the form of randomised control trials (RCTs), however, they do not limit themselves to RCTs and attempt to discern what can be learned without them on a variety of topics. They are also consistently sceptical of neoclassical theorising which is quite refreshing to read.
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