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The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers | [Mark Skousen]

The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers

Here is a bold new history of economics, the dramatic story of how the great economic thinkers built a rigorous social science without peer.
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Publisher's Summary

Here is a bold new history of economics, the dramatic story of how the great economic thinkers built a rigorous social science without peer.

Unlike other histories of economics, Mark Skousen's book provides a running plot with a singular heroic figure, Adam Smith, at the center of the discipline. Skousen unites the great thinkers by ranking them for or against Adam Smith and his "system of natural liberty". He shows how Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, John Maynard Keynes, and even laissez-faire disciples Robert Malthus and David Ricardo detracted from Adam Smith's classical model of democratic capitalism during periods of economic failure and upheaval, while Alfred Marshall, Irving Fisher, Ludwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman, among others, remodeled and improved upon Smithian economics as the world economy recovered and prospered.

Highlights include exciting new revelations about the lives of the great economists, provocative sidelights, humorous anecdotes, and even musical selections reflecting the spirit of each major economist.

©2001 Mark Skousen; (P)2002 Blackstone Audiobooks

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  •  
    David Sterling, VA, USA 05-30-04
    David Sterling, VA, USA 05-30-04
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    "Fair Review of the Men Behind Modern Economics"

    Mark Skousen does an excellent job of bringing the history of economics to life. He weaves the lives of these great thinkers together in such an entertaining way that you don't even realize that you are listening to economics. He helps you to understand the theorists by sharing with you their personal histories. This was a great listen. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    47 of 53 people found this review helpful
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    Brad Beatty Monterey, TN, US 08-15-05
    Brad Beatty Monterey, TN, US 08-15-05 Member Since 2000

    I like to read things that provide a different perspective on seemingly ordinary topics. I want to learn something from every book I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting & Enjoyable Read"

    One of my two favorite audio books. It is filled with interesting facts presented in a logical sequence. The narrator is very easy to listen to. The book puts major economic thoughts into perspective with each other, primarily with respect to Adam Smith and free market theory. A few odd facts about economists are sprinkled in here & there.

    I listen to this book quite often -- I just start at a random point & go from there.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy Chapel Hill, NC, USA 05-15-05
    Timothy Chapel Hill, NC, USA 05-15-05 Member Since 2001
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    "Worth the read despite strong bias"

    Although this book gives a very detailed potrait of the history of economics and the story of major economists, I find the author's idiosyncratic style a bit disorienting. Skousen maintains a very free-market perspective in his narrative, judging economists by their adherence to Smith's free market principles. The book also repeats facts and other information, leading me to believe that the book is at least partly a compliation of Skousen's previously written materials. I am not sure why we need to know that David Ricardo's teeth fell out while Skousen spends less time on the development of Ricardo's theories. The suggested musical selections are a bit strange, but they don't detract from the book.
    Overall, I would suggest that you read the boook if you are interesteed in the story of economics, but be aware of Skousen's biases. Hopefully, Audible will release Heilbroner's The Wordly Philosophers to offer the other side's perspective.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jared Prosper, TX, United States 12-17-10
    Jared Prosper, TX, United States 12-17-10 Member Since 2010

    Software engineer and avid, lifetime student. I like deep, thoughtful non-fiction, and fiction that compliments and enriches it.

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    "Painfully Biased and Not Worth the Listen"

    Skousen's bias is unabashed from beginning to end. All Neo-Con ideas are "rescued" and any contrary ideas are a "step backward". I picked this book because I wanted to get a deeper background in the evolution of Economics. It will do that--somewhat--for the listener, but between suggested (subliminal) orchestra listening for each chapter and lengthy, hollow presentations of the economists' bios--complete with the subtle judgments of a Mormon author--relatively little time is spent actually analyzing both sides of what the various Economic theories imply and what evidence and arguments exist to support or refute them.

    When Skousen covers Liberal economists I know and have studied, I find the coverage to be mired with half-truths and bad representations followed by superficial refutations that would be laughable in a real debate. Economists compatible with Neo-Con views are given much more favorable treatment. This makes me deeply question the legitimacy of the rest of its information.

    I'm pretty sure a would-be learner can find better resources.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lance Taylorsville, UT, USA 12-04-06
    Lance Taylorsville, UT, USA 12-04-06
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    "Extensive Bibliography"

    I am amazed that Mark has taken an exhaustive look at the history and characters that have produced the world that we live in today. I do not believe that I would have had the time and focus to read this work with my eyes. I am glad that I was able to listen to it. I have a greater understanding of the ideas and personal beliefs that each of the recent economists have shared with the public. For me, having a foundation of understanding of the history of modern economics is indispensable. Everyone that has any inclination to learn about economics should have this in their library.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter beechboro, Australia 03-12-09
    Peter beechboro, Australia 03-12-09 Member Since 2008
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    "Detailed, but strong biased."

    Interesting and detailed, but has a very very strong bias against any non ultra-free market findings.

    One warning is that the author is somewhat homophobic and pro-theism(most obvious in talking about the early 1900's period and for Keynes). This seeps into some of his analysis and colors his opinions on the character of economists he talks about. Going outside of detailing the figures, he goes into simple vitriol and disdain for the figures he obviously has issues with.

    As long as you know that this is a specifically pro-free market analysis, the book is very interesting. But don't let the authors irrational points effect you, and keep an eye on all his analysis. This is only one side of the argument, but he does do a somewhat complete job of explaining that side. Buy this and a book that matches it but from a less supply/free market approach and you'll get a nicely balanced view.

    19 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erin&Merilee DeSpain Virginia 08-13-05
    Erin&Merilee DeSpain Virginia 08-13-05 Member Since 2001

    Family on the move.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Strange History of Economics"

    This book was wonderfully written, focusing on the odd people who made the history. I didn't realize how really different these economists really were until reading this. The dismal science has never been so fascinating.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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    Steven Memphis, TN, USA 11-24-04
    Steven Memphis, TN, USA 11-24-04 Member Since 2004
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    "Tremendous! Couldn't put it down."

    There are so few authors who really understand the absolutely vital and positive impact that the Austrian, Chicago and Virginia schools have had on economic science. It is written so very well that it is facinating to listen to. This is a great place to hear the real scoop on Marx. Not a bad critique of Mises either. Bravo Dr. Skousen, you are my hero! Now I will have to go out and buy the book.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John CUDAHY, WI, USA 10-01-05
    John CUDAHY, WI, USA 10-01-05
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    "What you'll never get in school"

    Mark's book is good for the reasons mentioned by other reviewers, but it's especially good, because you'll never get this material covered in college. Skousen is a follower of the Austrian school of economics, which is only taught at only several colleges around the country, such as George Mason.

    Holly said that this is "neocon" economics, which would be as absurd as calling John Adams a Jeffersonian. Well known "neocons" support at least some of Keynes ideas, such as using fiscal policy to spur the economy during recessions. Austrians universally support a gold standard and favor almost no government endeavors (some don't support it for any).

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Anchorage, AK, USA 06-01-04
    Steve Anchorage, AK, USA 06-01-04 Member Since 2002
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    "Mark Skousen is a genius!"

    This book is about more than money. Mr. Skousen makes sense of how the world works and brings it to you in an entertaining way that makes you not want to put the book down.
    I see that he has written quite a few other books and that makes me wonder what else I'm missing.
    I wish more of his books were available on Audible.

    30 of 38 people found this review helpful
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