In Naked Economics, journalist Charles Wheelan does “the impossible”—he makes economic principles relevant, interesting and fun. Brimming with scores of down-to-earth examples and sprinkled with humorous anecdotes, this comprehensive overview will keep listeners smiling and wide awake.
©2002; 2010 Charles Wheelan (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
“Gain an understanding of basic economics with little pain and much pleasure.” (Gary Becker, 1992 Nobel Prize winner in economics)
"This is a thoughtful, well-written introduction to economics, with the author projecting a genuine excitement for his material that makes it not quite so dismal." (Library Journal)
I've always found it sad that what passes under the term "economics" today is really neoclassical economics, a very unrealistic, ideological, and reductionist interpretation founded on some very problematic assumptions (rational agents who maximize their own personal utility ignoring contextual economic conditions, equilibrium conditions, methodological individualism, physics envy, Consumer Demand Theory, General Equilibrium Theory, instantaneous adjustments, etc.). Wheelan seems to uncritically accept a lot of this orthodox dogma.
1.) Rational agents can't be coerced into accepting available economic choices. Suppose you like a certain product (i.e. beef steak) but don't like how it's produced (i.e. by torturing the animal). To the neoclassical economist you have two choices, or voting on your economic options: you buy or you don't buy. To people living in the real world you could try to change the product. Wheelan simply makes the conclusion that if employees choose to work at a sweatshop then it must be what maximizes their utility so let's respect their choice.
2.) The myth of perfect taxes that doesn't cause "distortions." Actual preferences are usually labile and can adopt themselves to the available choices. Behavioral econ does a better job of explaining the sort of compartmentalized thinking people actually engage in.
3.) The successful must somehow have deserved their success since the free market efficiently allocates societal resources: There's a strange example given of how Steve Jobs and Bill Gates could recreate their wealth but that dropouts would have problems adjusting, ignoring the fact that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are university dropouts.
4.) There's fawning worship of economic experts with a lot of name-dropping and I was told that in the text version there was an unabashed lauding of Alan Greenspan as having done everything right with his "Greenspan put."
But there is some useful info offered: good explanations of real vs. nominal int...
Three and a half stars. This is a good introductory text to basic economic principles. It covers the standard areas that are traditionally covered without a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo. It has a lot of interesting stories describing the ideas presented. All of that said however it is still a basic economics text and it is hard to make that an interesting listen or read for most people.
This is the perfect book for people learning to understand basic economic concepts- similar to the Undercover Economist. I would highly recommend this book.
This book is well written, but it is important the recognize the target audience. It is targeted at people that have either never studied economics, or have not looked at it is some time. It is not putting anything new forward, but it is explaining basic economics in a simple way.
This book can be a little smug and a little slanted. I tended to forget that it was trying to make the listener understand certain points of view because it got to the point where it assumed certain beliefs as infallable.
This is the book I wish they had when I was in college! Naked Economics breaks down what happens in the real world versus the theory. Well written, well read, well understood.
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