- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (April 13 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1554683955
- ISBN-13: 978-1554683956
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 544 g
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #279,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Filthy Lucre Hardcover – Apr 13 2009
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Quill & Quire
Like many things around us, the free-market system is a mechanism we blithely ignore until something goes wrong with it. So it’s no surprise that the recent economic downturn has also seen a rise in books on capitalism, finance, and the market. Filthy Lucre is another addition to this expanding field. In it, Joseph Heath, co-author (with Andrew Potter) of The Rebel Sell, addresses some of the popular misconceptions that surround economic debates. Contrary to its subtitle, Heath’s book isn’t just for activists and Naomi Klein acolytes. He spends about half his time debunking myths held by the right: government should get out of the way of markets, competition and Adam Smith’s invisible hand improve efficiency. Misconceptions regarding moral hazard and risk in a free-market system is a particularly timely topic, as experts of all stripes try to pin blame for the sub-prime mortgage crisis on everything from individual homeowners to banks and mortgage lenders to the government itself. Heath doesn’t spare those on the left, either. By the time he’s done, cherished progressive tenets such as the need to fix prices, the psychopathic nature of corporations, and the inevitability of capitalism’s collapse have all been thoroughly dismantled. An associate professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto, Heath isn’t a professional economist, but he writes convincingly about a number of basic economic ideas. More importantly, he explains them in a manner that should be emulated by writers of economics textbooks. He employs a logician’s ruthlessness and cold calculation, but underneath all of that are flashes of Heath’s anger that so many fiercely opinionated and seemingly well-educated experts on both ends of the political spectrum can espouse so many flawed ideas. Here’s hoping that Heath’s book will promote a better understanding of economics and capitalism. If he’s right, we’ll be living with this system for a very long time. It might be nice to know how to fix it the next time it breaks down.
?[Heath and Potter] are the genuine article: intellectual martyrs fighting the good fight.?(Rex Murphy on The Rebel Sell) See all Product description
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Overall, this is not only an entertaining and illuminating field; it would possibly be the best all-round introduction for those who have read little about economics. I say this not because the book is some kind of Dummies guide that will introduce you to all the key terms and allow you to bluff your way through an exam. It won't, and that isn't its aim. Rather, it will start to get you THINKING like an economist, which typically involves considering incentives, unintended consequences, equilibria and interesting social patterns arising from seemingly innocuous policy decisions. I understand that Heath's background is in philosophy and has gravitated toward economics and policy. The book does contain the clarity of explanation and frequent use of illuminating metaphor that often accompanies cross-disciplinary work.
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