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Ross

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My economic knowledge is piss poor. Looking for a bit of background in the last few years of economic matters - the bailout/recession/current crisis etc. Incredibly boring topic I know but if anyone has any ideas for something to read it'd be great. P.S I'm a lefty.

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My economic knowledge is piss poor. Looking for a bit of background in the last few years of economic matters - the bailout/recession/current crisis etc. Incredibly boring topic I know but if anyone has any ideas for something to read it'd be great. P.S I'm a lefty.

Doesn't matter what hand you use, books still work the same.*

 

* I realise he was talking about his political stance (I hope) and that was my attempt at a joke.

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Joseph Stiglitz "Freefall: Free Markets and the Sinking of the Global Economy"

Paul Krugman "The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008"

 

Both (I believe) generally respected left/liberal economists. Krugman got the Nobel Prize and Stiglitz was a former World Bank economist noted for his criticism of unfettered capitalism prior to the crash and generally knows his shit. Both kind of establishment so I'm not sure if you want a far left, anti-globalist book who to look for.

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^^ Agreed on those two.

 

Stiglitz has long been demonised by the Establishment because he was extremely critical of the "Washington Consensus" that describes the actions of the World Bank and IMF, even when he was the latter's president. I'm pretty sure he was on Clinton's Council of Economic Advisors.

 

Krugman writes for, I think, the New York Times. He's highly readable and very forthright in his views, such as his belief that the road to a better USA lies in providing universal health coverage.

 

Give them a go; you might surprise yourself at how easy you find their books to read.

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I read Globalization And Its Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz a few months ago,and it was surprisingly easy to read,would definitely recommend it.

Yep, there's a range of economists who write wonderfully well when taken outside the academic world. Their books actually tricked me into going back to university to start a PhD in economics; I lasted a year but just couldn't take the awful academic style so left to earn a living. I wanted to write comprehensibly in clear, correct English, mimicking the style of economists in their books and newspaper articles. Unfortunately that's not the way in economics, where the importance is centred on largely impenetrable mathematics, in which I have absolutely no more skill than the layman and zero staying-power. I was told that my stuff would be better for a PhD in politics or sociology. Bollocks.

 

The most memorable part of "... Discontents" for me was Stiglitz's revealing that these highly paid economists at the IMF who were supposed to write detailed, individualised plans to improve the economies of struggling countries would simply engage in the schoolboy art of "find and replace". They all got the same "Washington Consensus" plan of financial liberalisation etc. Well worth reading even for people with no specialist knowledge, as long as they're of moderate intelligence.

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I must give Stiglitz' other book a read,I've been trying to learn as much about the IMF and their policies,as possible ever since they took basically took control of our (Ireland's) fiscal policy last year.It hasn't been pleasant reading so far unfortunately.And things are inevitably only going to get worse in the forthcoming budget later this month.Austerity really isn't the way to boost a flagging economy.

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