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Economics of good and evil - Toms Sedlcek

9780199767205
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Title
Economics of good and evil - the quest for economic meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street
Author
Toms Sedlcek
format
Hardback
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20110616

Tomas Sedlacek has shaken the study of economics as few ever have. Named one of the "Young Guns" and one of the "five hot minds in economics" by the Yale Economic Review, he serves on the National Economic Council in Prague, where his provocative writing has achieved bestseller status. How has he done it? By arguing a simple, almost heretical proposition: economics is ultimately about good and evil. In The Economics of Good and Evil, Sedlacek radically rethinks his field, challenging our assumptions about the world. Economics is touted as a science, a value-free mathematical inquiry, he writes, but it's actually a cultural phenomenon, a product of our civilization. It began within philosophy-Adam Smith himself not only wrote The Wealth of Nations, but also The Theory of Moral Sentiments-and economics, as Sedlacek shows, is woven out of history, myth, religion,and ethics. "Even the most sophisticated mathematical model," Sedlacek writes, "is, de facto, a story, a parable, our effort to (rationally) grasp the world around us." Economics not only describes the world, but establishes normative standards, identifying ideal conditions. Science, he claims, is a system of beliefs to whichwe are committed. To grasp the beliefs underlying economics, he breaks out of the field's confines with a tour de force exploration of economic thinking, broadly defined, over the millennia. He ranges from the epic of Gilgamesh and the Old Testament to the emergence of Christianity, from Descartes and Adam Smith to the consumerism in Fight Club. Throughout, he asks searching meta-economic questions: What is the meaning and the point of economics? Can we do ethically all that we can dotechnically? Does it pay to be good? Placing the wisdom of philosophers and poets over strict mathematical models of human behavior, Sedlacek's groundbreaking work promises to change the way we calculate economic value.

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Tomas Sedlacek lectures at Charles University and is a member of the National Economic Council in Prague, where the original version of this book was a national bestseller and was also adapted as a popular theater-piece. He worked as an advisor of Vaclav Havel, the first Czech president after the fall of communism, and is a regular columnist and popular radio and TV commentator.

Beautifully written...A compulsive read

Samuel Brittan, Financial Times

A Washington Post Politics 'Must Read'

Steven Levingston

Type
BOOK
Keyword Index
Economics - Philosophy.|Economics - Moral and ethical aspects.|Good and evil.|Civilization - History.|Literature and morals.
Country of Publication
England
Number of Pages
352

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