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For fifty years, economists have been developing elegant theories or how markets facilitate innovation, create wealth, and allocate society's resources efficiently. But what about when they fail, when they lead us to stock market bubbles, glaring inequality, polluted rivers, and credit crunches?
In How Markets Fail, John Cassidy describes the rising influence of “utopian economies”—the thinking that is blind to how real people act and that denies the many ways an unregulated free market can bring on disaster. Combining on-the-ground reporting and clear explanations of economic theories Cassidy warns that in today’s economic crisis, following old orthodoxies isn’t just misguided—it’s downright dangerous.
“Both a narrative and a call to arms, How Markets Fail 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.” —Publishers Weekly
“An elegant, readable treatise on economics, swathed in current headlines . . . Cassidy delivers on the promise of his title, but he also offers a clear-eyed look at economic thinking over the last three centuries, from Adam Smith to Ben Bernanke, and shows how the major theories have played out in practice, often not well . . . Cassidy writes with terrific clarity and a finely tuned sense of moral outrage, yielding a superb book.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
John Cassidy is a journalist at The New Yorker and a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books. He is the author of Dot.con: How America Lost Its Mind and
Money in the Internet Era and lives in New York City.
|Warnings Ignored and the Conventional Wisdom||p. 17|
|Adam Smith's Invisible Hand||p. 25|
|Friedrich Hayek's Telecommunications System||p. 37|
|The Perfect Markets of Lausanne||p. 49|
|The Mathematics of Bliss||p. 61|
|The Evangelist||p. 72|
|The Coin-Tossing View of Finance||p. 85|
|The Triumph of Utopian Economics||p. 97|
|The Prof and the Polar Bears||p. 111|
|A Taxonomy of Failure||p. 125|
|The Prisoner's Dilemma and Rational Irrationality||p. 139|
|Hidden Information and the Market for Lemons||p. 151|
|Keynes's Beauty Contest||p. 166|
|The Rational Herd||p. 177|
|Psychology Returns to Economics||p. 192|
|Hyman Minsky and Ponzi Finance||p. 205|
|The Great Crunch|
|Greenspan Shrugs||p. 221|
|The Lure of Real Estate||p. 235|
|The Subprime Chain||p. 251|
|In the Alphabet Soup||p. 268|
|A Matter of Incentives||p. 285|
|London Bridge Is Falling Down||p. 299|
|Socialism in Our Time||p. 317|
|Afterword: The Great Disconnect||p. 347|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|