Taking Economics Seriously
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Taking Economics Seriously

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  32 ratings  ·  13 reviews
A leading economist's exploration of what our economic arrangements might look like if we applied basic principles without ideological blinders.
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Published May 31st 2010 by MIT Press (first published April 30th 2010)
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It's not about regulation or deregulation, but about the structure of regulation and which interests it serves, Dean Baker argues. He shows how regulation has benefited corporate interests and how an approach closer to a free market and basic economic principles (pricing just above marginal cost for pharmaceutical, competition from immigration for doctors etc.) can benefit the nation in general, not just a few protected and powerful groups.
I was, however, slightly disappointed by this book. The...more
Michael Powe
Really a monograph, not a book, this short work makes best use of its pages.

Highlights the ways in which the concepts of economics have been misused in public discourse in the United States. Baker clearly delineates the ways in which "free market" vs "gov't interference" is a false dichotomy. The so-called free market advocates have never had a complaint about patents and copyrights, e.g., which represent major gov't interference in markets. Especially apropos is Baker's explanation of how mode...more
In terms of size and scope, this is less a book than a paper -- not even a long paper. I read it in about 90 minutes.

I think Dean Baker means two thing by his title: that there are large areas of the economy in which the logic of neo-classical economics is not pursued, health care and finance for example. We should not only wonder why this is the case but also push society to follow out the economizing aspect of markets in these sectors. Second, I think he means to show that, in practice, no on...more
The name of this book is a little misleading, but the argument he makes is one this country really ought to have internalized by now.

The central thread of the book is that America is stuck waging a false debate between the 'free market' and regulation -- when in fact there is no such thing as a 'free market'. There are only markets with different ground rules, and without enforced rules, functioning markets are unthinkable. Because regulation is an ineradicable feature of our economy, the real q...more
I'll admit at first that I was initially worried this tiny little book would be an ideological pamphlet for promoting one political position against another. Until the final essay, I was generally wrong. This small read briefly an easily sums up the massive financial issues the Unites States currently experiences, and offers reasonable solutions or outcomes for each issue. I would wonder that every politician, right or left, should read this. I was rather disappointed by the final essay, briefly...more
So when I'm stuck in a hotel room at 2am and can't sleep I tend to pick up texts discussing economic theory. 45 min later it did the trick. I was asleep, but I'd almost read the whole book anyway. Boston Review (with the help of MIT Press) publishes attractive little titles, and while, fiscally speaking, I lean to the right these books tend to lean to the left. With this said, Dean Baker makes some interesting claims on the nature of how political parties frame the debate regarding free markets...more
This is a great book that reads like a well-written pamphlet. Not a word is wasted, and there's no filler or length-padding. Ideas and arguments are presented logically and precisely. Baker quickly distills long-running multifaceted debates to their fundamental conflicts, inherent incentive structures and strategic games.

The section on health economics is particularly strong.

I wish other non-fiction authors could be as concise and incisive with their writing as Baker is in Taking Economics Serio...more
Kiehl Christie
Tightly argued, cleanly written critique of the tangled up narratives that invoke economic language. Baker also provides suggestions on how to eliminate many of the bizarre, arbitrary things that individuals and corporations do (like patent hoarding, punitive copyright enforcement, gigantic per-capita health costs, etc.)

I really enjoyed it. Read it twice in less than 3 hours.

Hat tip to Naeem. Saw it in his reviews.
This is a wonderfully concise book; it can easily be read in an afternoon. That said, if you've already read Loser Liberalism or The Conservative Nanny State (or even if you follow Beat The Press), you probably won't take much away from it. Taking Economics Seriously is mostly the same ideas in a smaller package.
A bit of a ideological rant, but short and with some interesting and relevant examples of market failure and how our policy conversations are missing the mark..
A really quick read, and very enjoyable. But then again it subscribes to my point of view. Nice to have some academic backup.
Jun 17, 2010 Don added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Tea Party
The folks in the Tea Party need to read this book. Some very, very good ideas and a new look at what really needs to be de-regulated.There is nothing wrong with economics, Dean Baker contends, but economists routinely ignore their own principles when it comes to economic policy. What would policy look like if we took basic principles of mainstream economics seriously and applied them consistently?

In the debate over regulation, for example, Baker—one of the few economists who predicted the meltdo...more
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Dean Baker is an American macroeconomist and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, with Mark Weisbrot. He previously was a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and an assistant professor of economics at Bucknell University. He has a PhD in economics from the University of Michigan.
More about Dean Baker...
The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy Getting Back to Full Employment: A Better Bargain for Working People The United States Since 1980

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