50 Economics Classics: Your shortcut to the most important ideas on capitalism, finance, and the global economy

50 Economics Classics: Your shortcut to the most important ideas on capitalism, finance, and the global economy

by Tom Butler-Bowdon
50 Economics Classics: Your shortcut to the most important ideas on capitalism, finance, and the global economy

50 Economics Classics: Your shortcut to the most important ideas on capitalism, finance, and the global economy

by Tom Butler-Bowdon


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Explore the ideas of some of the greatest thinkers in economics. Gain the insights and research of contemporary economists and commentators.


Economics drives the modern world and shapes our lives, but few of us feel we have time to engage with the breadth of ideas in the subject. 50 Economics Classics is the smart person's guide to two centuries of discussion of finance, capitalism and the global economy. From Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations to Thomas Piketty's bestseller Capital in the Twenty-First Century, here are the great reads, seminal ideas and famous texts clarified and illuminated for all.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781857886733
Publisher: Mobius
Publication date: 05/30/2017
Pages: 386
Sales rank: 1,102,113
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Tom Butler-Bowdon is the author of seven books including 50 Politics Classics (2015), 50 Philosophy Classics (2013) and 50 Success Classics (2004). Bringing important ideas to a wider audience, his award-winning 50 Classics series has been read by over a million people and is in 23 languages. The 50 Classics concept is based on the idea that every subject or genre will contain at least 50 books that encapsulate its knowledge and wisdom. By creating a list of those landmark titles, then providing commentaries that note the key themes and assess the importance of each work, readers learn about valuable books they may not have discovered otherwise.

Tom is a graduate of the London School of Economics (International Political Economy) and the University of Sydney (Government and History). Prior to becoming a writer he was a policy analyst for The Cabinet Office and National Parks Service in Sydney, and worked in a variety of UK businesses. He lives in Oxford, England. Visit his website www.Butler-Bowdon.com

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Lords of Finance (2009): Fixed ideas in economics can have disastrous results Liaquat Ahamed 14

2 The Microtheory of Innovative Entrepreneurship (2010): Entrepreneurs are the engines of growth and must be valued William J. Baumol 22

3 Human Capital (1964): The most important investment we ever make is in ourselves Gary Becker 30

4 The Little Book of Common Sense Investing (2007): The most successful investing strategy is also the easiest John C. Bogle 36

5 The Second Machine Age (2014): Technological revolutions must allow for the advance of everyone Eric Brynjolfsson Andrew McAfee 42

6 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism (2011): Many nations succeeded by bucking the rules of orthodox economics Ha-Joon Chang 48

7 The Firm, the Market, and the Law (1988): Why firms exist; the role of transaction costs in economic life Ronald Coase 56

8 GDP: A Brief But Affectionate History (2014): How we measure economic output has consequences for people and nations Diane Coyle 62

9 Innovation and Entrepreneurship (1985): Success comes from taking management and ideas seriously Peter Drucker 68

10 The Ascent of Money (2008): Finance is not evil, it built the modern world Niall Ferguson 74

11 Capitalism and Freedom (1962): Free markets, not government, protect the individual and ensure quality Milton Friedman 80

12 The Great Crash 1929 (1955): It's government's job to stop speculative frenzies ruining the real economy J. K. Galbraith 86

13 Progress and Poverty (1879): The best and fairest way to ensure opportunity is a tax on land Henry George 92

14 The Rise and Fall of American Growth (2016): Living standards keep rising, but the greatest gains have already happened Robert J. Gordon 98

15 The Intelligent Investor (1949): We grow in wealth through long-term investing, not speculating Benjamin Graham 106

16 The Use of Knowledge in Society (1945): Societies prosper when they give up planning and control, and allow decentralization of knowledge Friedrich Hayek 112

17 Exit, Voice, and Loyalty (1970): Consumers have many options to get what they want Albert O. Hirschman 118

18 The Economy of Cities (1968): Cities have always been, and always will be, the drivers of wealth Jane Jacobs 124

19 The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936): To achieve social goals like full employment, governments must actively manage the economy John Maynard Keynes 130

20 The Shock Doctrine (2007): 'Neoliberal' economic programs have proved a disaster for many developing countries Naomi Klein 138

21 The Conscience of a Liberal (2007): The postwar consensus on how to grow an economy has been hijacked by ideology Paul Krugman 144

22 Freakonomics (2005): Economics is not a moral science, more an observation of how incentives work Steven D. Levitt Stephen J. Dubner 150

23 The Big Short (2010): Modern finance was meant to minimize risk, but it has only increased dangers Michael Lewis 156

24 Bourgeois Equality (2016): The world became wealthy thanks to an idea: entrepreneurs and merchants are not so bad after all Deirdre McCloskey 164

25 An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798): The world's finite resources can't cope with an increasing population Thomas Malthus 170

26 Principles of Economics (1890): To understand people, watch their habits of earning, saving and investing Alfred Marshall 176

27 Capital (1867): The interests of labor and capital are perennially in conflict Karl Marx 184

28 Stabilizing an Unstable Economy (1986): Rather than creating equilibrium, capitalism is inherently unstable Hyman Minsky 190

29 Human Action (1949): Economics has laws which no person, society or government can escape Ludwig von Mises 196

30 Dead Aid (2010): Countries grow and get rich by creating industries, not by addiction to aid Dambisa Moyo 202

31 Governing the Commons (1990): To stay healthy, common resources like air, water and forests need to be managed in novel ways Elinor Ostrom 210

32 Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014): The scales of wealth are tipping towards capital; if inequality widens there will be social upheaval Thomas Piketty 216

33 The Great Transformation (1944): Markets must serve society, not the other way around Karl Polanyi 224

34 The Competitive Advantage of Nations (1990): Competition and industry clusters make a rich nation Michael E. Porter 230

35 Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966): Capitalism is the most moral form of political economy Ayn Rand 238

36 Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817): A free-trading world will see each nation fulfil its potential David Ricardo 244

37 The Globalization Paradox (2011): Globalization agendas are often floored by national politics Dani Rodrik 252

38 Economics (1948): A combination of classical and Keynesian ideas creates the best-performing economies Paul Samuelson William Nordhaus 260

39 Small Is Beautiful (1973): A new economics must arise which takes more account of people than output E. F. Schumacher 266

40 Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (1942): No form of political economy matches the dynamism of capitalism and its process of 'creative destruction' Joseph Schumpeter 272

41 Micromotives and Macrobehavior (1978): Small behaviors and choices of individuals ultimately produce 'tipping points' with major effects Thomas C. Schelling 278

42 Poverty and Famines (1981): People starve not because there isn't enough food, but because economic circumstances suddenly change Amartya Sen 284

43 Irrational Exuberance (2000): Psychology, not fundamental values, drives markets Robert J. Shiller 292

44 The Ultimate Resource 2 (1996): The world will never run out of resources, because it is the human mind that drives advance, not capital or materials Julian Simon 298

45 The Wealth of Nations (1776): The wealth of a nation is that of its people, not its government Adam Smith 304

46 The Mystery of Capital (2000): Clear property rights are the basis of stability and prosperity Hernando de Soto 312

47 The Euro (2016): Europe's failed currency and its ideological underpinnings Joseph Stiglitz 318

48 Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics (2015): How psychology has transformed the economics discipline Richard Thaler 326

49 The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899): The great goal of capitalist life is not to have to work-or to take on the appearance of not needing to Thorstein Veblen 334

50 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904): Culture and religion are the most overlooked ingredients of economic success Max Weber 340

50 More Economics Classics 345

Chronological List 352

Credits 354

Acknowledgements 357

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