How Markets Fail

How Markets Fail

The Logic of Economic Calamities

Book - 2009
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Behind the alarming headlines about job losses, bank bailouts, and corporate greed is a little-known story of bad ideas. For fifty years or more, economists have been busy developing elegant theories of how markets work--how they facilitate innovation, wealth creation, and an efficient allocation of society's resources. But what about when markets don't work? What about when they lead to stock market bubbles, glaring inequality, polluted rivers, real estate crashes, and credit crunches?
In "How Markets Fail," John Cassidy describes the rising influence of what he calls utopian economics--thinking that is blind to how real people act and that denies the many ways an unregulated free market can produce disastrous unintended consequences. He then looks to the leading edge of economic theory, including behavioral economics, to offer a new understanding of the economy--one that casts aside the old assumption that people and firms make decisions purely on the basis of rational self-interest. Taking the global financial crisis and current recession as his starting point, Cassidy explores a world in which everybody is connected and social contagion is the norm. In such an environment, he shows, individual behavioral biases and kinks--overconfidence, envy, copycat behavior, and myopia--often give rise to troubling macroeconomic phenomena, such as oil price spikes, CEO greed cycles, and boom-and-bust waves in the housing market. These are the inevitable outcomes of what Cassidy refers to as "rational irrationality"--self-serving behavior in a modern market setting.
Combining on-the-ground reporting, clear explanations of esoteric economic theories, and even a little crystal-ball gazing, Cassidy warns that in today's economic crisis, conforming to antiquated orthodoxies isn't just misguided--it's downright dangerous. "How Markets Fail "offers a new, enlightening way to understand the force of the irrational in our volatile global economy.

Publisher: Toronto : Viking Canada, c2009
ISBN: 9780374173203
Branch Call Number: ANF 332.042 CAS
Characteristics: viii, 390 p. ; 24 cm


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Gary Geiserman
Dec 18, 2014

Economics isn't a science with various choices (philosophies). It's just propaganda for stealing. The only thing to know is who stole what and how did they do it. (And why did we let them.)

Dec 17, 2014

I've read - - and stopped reading - - several of this fellow's articles in the NYer. A capitalism apologist would be a more apt description than a journalist. The description claims: /// the book 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.\\\ Years of careful planning by the Derivatives Research Group [the Wall Street banks lobbying group], extensive promotion of legislation, the in-crowd report from JPMorgan Chase, titled, Glass-Steagall: Overdue for Repeal, and a host of other activities, led to the massive transfer of wealth by legalized theft from the middle/working class to the super-rich. To say anything else is completely dishonest. FYI: a simple statistical analysis comparing the Federal Reserve's interest rate machinations, and the house bubble, will easily disprove this book.

Feb 09, 2010

great overview of the 2007/08 credit crisis, but a bit too much economic review for my liking, warning that the current recovery may soon cloud the need for radical change in the financial sector is too true

Jan 11, 2010

This book offers a really interesting primer into economic theory then goes on to examine the market failures of 2008/9 in a very insightful way.

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