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Economyths: Ten Ways That Economics Gets It Wrong
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Economyths: Ten Ways That Economics Gets It Wrong

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  178 ratings  ·  28 reviews
From the inability of wealth to make us happier, to our catastrophic blindness to the credit crunch, this book reveals ten ways in which economics has failed us. It explains how the economy is the result of complex and unpredictable processes; how risk models go astray; and, why the economy is not rational or fair.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 6th 2010 by Icon Books Ltd (first published January 1st 2010)
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This is one of the better popular economics books that I've read. David Orrell is an applied mathematician and currently works in the area of complex systems research. That will probably give you an idea of his bent: he's not an economist, he is a scientist. More importantly—for me at least—he's an empiricist. And his message is that the economic data do not support the model of classical economics.( - (view spoiler) ...more
Muhammad al-Khwarizmi
Economyths is not a bad book. If you're new to this sort of thing, you might get more out of it than I would. Frankly, I'm not entirely sure why I read this, given that I'm already familiar with most of the points the author is making. Anyhow, the long and short of it is that, by emphasizing tractability in the language of calculus over, you know, FACTS, neoclassical economic theory has fallen dangerously short and failed to deliver on its promise of delivering judicious advice for the economy a ...more
Economyths is written in equal parts flourish and frustration as the author frequently points out the ignorance of the main heroes of (what he calls) neoclassical economics theory while in turns celebrating their lofty aims, which he understands as ultimately wanting help relieve the world of inequity.

While he disparages orthodox economics as "ideology", the author's understanding of ideology seems weak and often merely rhetorical. In the end, he characterises economists as schizophrenics who, r
Carles Codony ribera
I agree with the book that current economic theories aren't good to model or predict the economy (or any model at all, because the model by itself changes the economy it tries to predict) but it puts a bit too much emphasis on how dogmatic and close minded economists are, while the reality (at least based on what I read elsewhere, since I'm no economist) isn't really like that, even for "neoclassical" economists as he describes them.

After reading it, one might think that economists are putting p
Mayur Patil
Considering my very limited knowledge of economics, I found Economyths as a very good book. It was completely new finding for me that economics has been influenced by various scientific theories during 19th and 20th century. Author has also substantiated his claim that basic fundamental taught in economics are not correct in Current Scenario.
I completely agree with the thought of considering environment and ethics while teaching economics. But I am not convinced with the comparison made by autho
Economics is a mathematical model of human behaviour. David Orrell is an applied mathematician and knows about mathematical modelling. He is not an economist; he sees that as an advantage. He says that the orthodox economic model has proved so flawed that it is useless.
He says he does not want to put up a straw-man to knock it down, but I think that is what he is doing. Economics students are not taught that their discipline is governed by simple laws, they know it is more like weather forecasti
James Elder
One sentence summary: neo-classical economics is bollocks.

Orrell is a mathematician with a background in complexity theory and non-linear dynamics.

His argument, reasonably convincingly put, is that neo-classical economics (i.e. the dominant school of thought running from Adam Smith, through Pareto, Hajek, Milton Friedman to the likes of Alan Greenspan) has tried to position itself as being, like physics, based on immutable, eternal laws (supply and demand, perfect markets, rational maximising of
The economy is broken. It doesn't take a global financial crisis, rampant wealth inequality, and a collapsing ecosystem to realize it, but it certainly brings the issue into sharp focus. David Orrell argues that one of the main causes of the problem is that neoclassical economics -- the kind taught in every introductory university class and espoused by every government economist -- is founded on flawed assumptions.

The book is divided into ten chapters, each detailing one of these assumptions and
M.G. Mason
Economics is not the sort of subject I would normally grab hungrily at and I haven't read a book or article on the subject since A-Level Business Studies. Yet our lives are driven by economics, our jobs and lifestyles depend on our countries having a strong one, the prices of the our day to day necessities are driven by fluctuations in the global market. In short, it is important to know about these things but it is not the most interesting subject to write or read about.

2008 saw the most horrif
David Orrell's position as a mathematician and historian of science working in finance gives him a unique vantage point from which he can relentlessly criticize in an analytical manner the myths of classical economics, i.e. what he refers to as "The Ten Economyths". Despite whatever economists would like us to think (and teach to their students) the markets are neither fair, nor efficient, nor rational, nor many other things that are used as alibis by free market proponents from the mid 20th cen ...more
Geert Hofman
That there is something wrong with the economy should be clear to everyone by now. If you listen to those people that manage the economy and the social fabric that is supposedly build on top of it, what is happening around us is perhaps not ideal but it is the best we may expect. That inequality and power concentration is a result of this "imperfect" system is just a side effect that will ultimately bear fruit.

In his book "Economyths" David Orrell clearly demonstrates that the above thesis is ju
I already knew that it is deluded to depend on economics to solve all the world's problems. Instead of that realization, what I got out of this book was increased clarity on how ideologies create blind spots and how the application of economics is more like the practice of medicine than the practice of physics or mechanics (actually the author's emphasis is on ecology rather than medicine). Orrell argues that economies are like living organisms, only less stable: "The only systems that achieve s ...more
Soren Molander
I' ve read a number of books on the shortcomings of neoclassical economics and how it affects the daily lives of people. This book by a non-economist supports the view that neoclassical economics as it is still taught in universities is fundamentally flawed and is overly reliant on 19th century ideas of balance and conservation. It is also flawed in the sense that growth can never be exponential, that the price is always right, that GDP doesn't measure progress. The book also stresses that the c ...more
Lars Williams

Do the proponents of laissez-faire capitalism really believe the guff they spout, about the self-correcting nature and fundamental rightness of the market, the desirability and sustainability of continuous growth, etc? Or are they all, like Bernie Madoff, knowingly colluding in a massive Ponzi scheme, safe in the knowledge that they won't be the suckers on the bottom floor taking the hit? Either way, this very readable book demolishes the bizarre and wrong-headed assumptions of neoclassical eco
Samuel Rødal
Orrell explores and exemplifies the consequences of modern economics' flawed assumptions; those of rational and independent actors, free and fair markets, as well as inherent stability. He argues against the recent trend of deregulation, pointing for instance to the crashes in 2008 due to speculation in bad debt in the American housing market; suggests lowering the risk level and improving the robustness of the economy by making sacrifices in short-term efficiency; and urges to not use GDP as a ...more
Henry Manampiring
This is an AWESOME book, if you have the slightest interest in Economics, or today's financial crisis. If you studied economics for your undergrad/Masters, you will appreciate it even more. But this is still a book for layman.

It reviews the "classic" economic principles that have been taken at face value by most people, and turns it upside down based on latest findings in behavioral economics, mathematics, and even neuroscience. It shows how these "principles" were also product of culture and bi
Samuel Smith
Typical writing to cure the worlds problems book.
A well researched and well written book that is equal parts informative and entertaining. The failings of neoclassical economics, how the 'experts' get the real economy wrong, are highlighted through answering ten questions - which, yes, form the basis of ten chapters in this book.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an introduction to the shortcomings of economics that won't be covered in Econ 101; this volume is well researched yet not densely written.
Ankur Banerjee
The book certainly makes some interesting points, but I can't help shake the feeling that it could have been wrapped up far more succinctly. It was quite interesting to read how current reductionist models in neoclassical economics potentially oversimplify, and possibly contribute, to financial collapse. By the end, the book almost reads like a sales brochure or a religious manual, desperately trying to convince the reader that it's right.
Even from a layman's perspective the simplifications, applied by the author to get his point across, are obvious. Nevertheless, he manages to outline problems of the prevailing fundamental convictions and points out possible remedies.
I would be interested in an economist's view on the book.
Elizabeth Sheldon
An essential read if the recession has at all affected you. The reasons for the collapse are explained clearly and comprehensively. I also felt that ere needed to be a change in the way economics are assessed and predicted if we are to be prevented from suffering the same economic downfalls again.
I really liked this book. It asks good questions about the economic system we live in currently and points, a little bit, towards where we should be heading. Fully recommend this book for people interested in our broken system.
Puneet Kapoor
A tad too simplistic. some of the arguments are repetitive. Logic of a few like the unfair and oversized economy is self evident. A good read nonetheless.
Orrell is not a very impressive writer, but it does give a interesting peeks into economic history and contemporary economic idealogies.
Rebecca Hanley
Very readable. Makes sense to me - the foundations of economic theory are built on very shaky ground.
Jun 25, 2012 Ben is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
It's a decent book that raises a lot of questions about economics. I think it is too dry for me.
Lots of worthwhile material, rather polemic
Joseph Reynolds
Some chapters better than others. Pick and mix.
Beki marked it as to-read
Nov 28, 2015
Rifda Annelies
Rifda Annelies marked it as to-read
Nov 28, 2015
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David Orrell, Ph.D. is a scientist and author of popular science books. He studied mathematics at the University of Alberta, and obtained his Ph.D. from Oxford University on the prediction of nonlinear systems.

His work in mathematical modeling and complex systems research has led him to diverse areas such as weather forecasting, particle accelerator design, economics, and cancer biology. He has au
More about David Orrell...

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