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Om forfatteren

Dr Ha-Joon Chang is Assistant Director of Development Studies at the University of Cambridge

Omfatter også følgende navne: Ha-Joon Chang, by Ha-Joon Chang, Ха-Джун Чанг

Image credit: Ha-Joon Chang

Værker af Ha-Joon Chang

Economics: The User's Guide (2014) 598 eksemplarer
Sanayilesmenin Gizli Tarihi (2015) 2 eksemplarer

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Good overview of what we really mean when we discuss capitalist markets. The book is formulaic in its structure and because of this cannot go in very deep in many cases.
 
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yates9 | 39 andre anmeldelser | Feb 28, 2024 |
In Economics: The User's Guide, Ha-Joon Chang wants us to know enough background to be able to understand economic news, what it means, and when it might be trying to fool us. So he provides nearly 400 pages of history, theory and real world numbers. Some of the numbers might be out of date by now, but Chang gives advice on where to find newer information. I say information, because there is more to econ than numbers.

After a short prologue explaining why we should be interested, there is a half page guide to reading the book, depending on whether we want to spend ten minutes, maybe two hours, half a day, or are willing to go through the whole thing.

That's the kind of author Chang is, wanting to tell us what he knows and believes, but aware that we won't all be willing to follow through completely. What he does, works for me. I've tried to read about economics before, but have always bogged down and lost interest. This time it was different. I learned how econ is much more than markets and businesses, more than capitalism. Chang gives a quick history of how we, the whole world, developed the field of economics and how different countries got the kind of changing economies they have now, and how much of economics is really politics.

He writes about nine different "schools" of economics, explaining their points of view, how they grew, what they can explain well, and how they all have failings but also strengths. Maybe the best part of the book is a four page table in chapter four summarizing each school.

Of course, I can't remember it all, but the structure of the book makes sense, and the index is helpful. A kindle edition, which I also own, is searchable and in some ways even more useful. This is a keeper, a good reference book.
… (mere)
 
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mykl-s | 13 andre anmeldelser | Jan 13, 2024 |
I did not read this book page-by-page, but per the author's suggestion for ten minutes and two hours (chapter titles, first page of each chapter, Chapters 1 and 2 in their entirety, Epilogue). I also stopped at random sections that caught my eye. That said, the language of this book is very approachable and friendly without being patronizing, and humorous without cheap jokes. It's a good overview of economic principles, theorists, and history, as well as summaries of existing modern systems. I came away feeling better acquainted with economic concepts. Further Reading suggestions at the end of each chapter.… (mere)
 
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mimo | 13 andre anmeldelser | Dec 18, 2023 |
A good take-down of many of the orthodoxies of current politics, and something I'd recommend to someone who's starting out learning about this stuff. Doesn't really go far enough in its challenges though. I don't expect him to be a revolutionary or anything, but he takes a lot of stuff as given when there's no reason to think so. At one point he says that Finland had "previously had [a] very low level of [income] inequality - perhaps too low"! What does it mean to have "too low" levels of income inequality? Why does he consider this (possibly) a problem? It's not at all obvious and this seems like a somewhat important point in the wider context of the book. Similarly, he quotes Milton Friedman about "markets driving out racism" - despite attacking him elsewhere. There's no real evidence of this. In fact, the example he gives - South Africa considering Japan "honourary whites" - doesn't show this at all and is just a (very typical) example of the flexibility of racist doctrine in the face of various realities. Finally, he says "excessive equalization of outcomes is harmful" - I guess a given from his capitalist beliefs, but again no explanation. Only some orthodoxies can be challenged

That's the main problem with the book. It works within a discourse that puts clear limits on what's acceptable to talk about and doesn't go past them. The closest the book comes to talking about the effect of policies on actual human lives is when it says "working for longer to get more pay isn't always so great". Nothing about the many deaths caused by economic liberalisation in developing countries, even as he attacks said policies. He says he opposes "free-market capitalism" and pins the main problems of such to the last 30 years but - although at the end he lists his principles for some sort of new capitalist society - he doesn't really say what he believes instead. The first essay of the book is about how markets aren't really free and is probably the weakest one in the book - it goes something like "some market restrictions are popular and not taken away. This shows that the market isn't free. Therefore people who want to make the market freer are wrong" or something like that. It's very unpersuasive which is a shame as it seems like it should be a cornerstone of the book. Ultimately it's good but has too many limitations to be of interest as more than an introduction.
… (mere)
 
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tombomp | 39 andre anmeldelser | Oct 31, 2023 |

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