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Paperback New Ideas from Dead Economists : An Introduction to Modern Economic Thought Book

ISBN: 0452280524

ISBN13: 9780452280526

New Ideas from Dead Economists : An Introduction to Modern Economic Thought

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. Over 150 years ago, Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle dubbed economics the "dismal science." But it certainly doesn't seem that way in the skillful hands of Todd G. Buchholz, author of New Ideas from...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

I Can spot a great BOok when i read oNe

Economics is a very interesting subject. For many it is very confusing. Economics itself is confusing because its not very concrete. Its hard to predict things in real life using economics because there are MANNYYY variables in real life that cannot all be taken into account by specialists, so i have always wondered, how can economists spot cause and effect relationships. This book explains many things, in simple words, starting from the 12th hundreds, from mercantalism, to Adam Smiths oposition to it with "free trade" as a response, to economists of today. This book takes ideas from dead economists (and some living ones, as the author himself states apologetically to them) and analyzes them now, in simple situations that will make the simpleton understand it. I hate reading didactic books. But this one is not boring, mind-boggling or annoying. Its easy to read, and fun. I recommend to anyone who wants to learn a few things that affect the lives of people.

Much Better Than Heilbroner's Worldly Philosophers

I've read both Worldly Philosophers by Robert Heilbroner and New Ideas From Dead Economists, by Todd Buchholz. I wanted to get a good rounded layperson introduction to great economists in the past.First let me examine Heilbroner's book first since that's more widely known, has sold more, and more Economics 101 classes use it as a supplemental text. I'll then compare Heilbroner's book to Bucholz's and explain why I think Bucholz's book is far superior in every way.I found Heilbroner's book to be neither useful to the layperson nor to people who have a good background in Economics. Let me explain.Heilbroner spends a LOT of time in awe of these economists and spends a great deal of time explaining how great they were, how revolutionary, how brilliant, how much of a genius, how wonderful these men were, ad nauseum. Ok, I get the point. Unfortunately, all this fawning and fan worship clouds what should've been the more interesting and more important part of the book, which are the central economic ideas put forward by these thinkers. In fact, there's a lot of emphasis on putting their economic ideas in perspective to the prevailing moral philosophical thought at the time.It's almost as if this books is written for people who have already taken Economics 101, and know all the basic economic principles and can nod, "yes, uh huh, I didn't know those personality quirks or their moral philosophical outlook about these economists - good to know. By the way, it's great that he didn't go over his economic ideas since I already know them."For example, the entire chapter devoted to David Ricardo fails to mention the theory of Comparative Advantage anywhere in the chapter. Isn't that a MAJOR omission? That's just one example. Omissions such as this are everywhere.So the layperson is stuck getting a vague feeling that these people were wonderful people, but that a little less fuzzy on their ecnomic ideas. It also leaves a person with economics background feeling like this is less a book about economics and more a book about Heilbroner's fan worship.Neither audience is served. I can't recommend the Heilbroner book.Right after I read this book, I read Todd Buchholz's New Ideas From Dead Economists.Where Heilbroner failed, Buccholz succeeds in so many ways. He puts the central ideas of these economists as the main focus of each chapter. When talking about David Rircardo, the theory of Comparative Advantage is front-and-center. When talking about Marx, Heilbroner meanders and throws a lot of Marx's ideas around and you don't get a sense of how they all fit together in Marx's mind or why modern economists find fundamental flaws in his reasoning. In Buccholz's book, the central point is Marx's ideas, how they fit together and it's very clear why most economists (and the reader) will find Marx's basic premise wrong in light of emperical evidence. This goes on and on.I initially thought Heilbroner would be a good read, since it was recommended by econ majors when I was

A Must Have Economics 101

Buchholz gives the reader a lucid book on introductory economics. I call it introductory because this isnt a book written for advanced economic analysis. Its not for people who already did many courses in economics. Its definately not for economic teachers. This is a must have book for all those people who are interested in understanding or at least knowing about this complex subject. Its will more than enrich you, in case you started reading the book with no knowledge of economics.Buchholtz starts with the father of modern economics, Adam Smith and follows with giving (almost biographical) details of Malthus, Ricardo, Marshal, Keynes. The chapter on Monetarist and their attack on Keynes follows and its worth reading twice. Then he gives a brief description of all other important economists of last century. This is followed by chapters on new methods such as Public Choice and Rational Expectations. All chapters are written in a very informal, witty style and this helps the reader keep interest. Economics, being a rather dry subject is taught well here, with good illustrations and in a very non-technical way. The downside of the book is not being able to cover more economists. The author talks about Rational Expectations without mentioning anything about John Muth or much of Robert Lucas. This was missing, but I assume he did that because anyone reading or learning about economics for the first time (the intended audience of this book) might not have to know about these economists. Like wise, Veblen, Galbraith, Samuelson and new economists such as Paul Krugman, Joseph E. Stiglitz are not covered. But again, its not possible to cover so many and I guess also due to the fact that teh author wanted to cover schools of economic thought more than individual economists themselves. All in all, this book is very interesting to read as it is very well written. If you have read this review and have no idea of economics but want to have one, here we go, just buy the book!

Introductory Economics Text Par Excellence

The first time I read this distinguished work by Buchholz, I began the book having half forgotten the economics which I took at college level, and ended the book self-congratulating myself for picking up most of what I had forgotten. When I re-read the book, this time the economic theories that I was taught in a post-graduate course still fresh in my mind, I was in awe with the brilliance and clarity with which Buchholz explains the insights of economic theories without compromising the insight and depth of difficult concepts. As economics comes increasingly under the grips of ever more esoteric mathematics, Buchholz shows the path toward a refreshing style of describing economic behaviors, sans mathematica, without compromising the dazzling insights elucidated by gurus from Adam Smith through Alfred Marshall, John Maynard Keynes to present day giants in the field (e.g. Coase, Friedman, Buchanan). While Buchholz clearly intended the book for the layman, it is actually an introductory economics text par excellence.

An insightful combination of economics and philosophy.

I had to read this book for an introductory economics course and finished it over 2 months in advance. This is so much more than an economic text; combining elements of sociology, philosophy, and politics, I recommend this to anyone who wishes to grasp a more complete view of American society through an economic standpoint.
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