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Licence to be Bad: How Economics Corrupted Us
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Licence to be Bad: How Economics Corrupted Us

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  97 ratings  ·  14 reviews
'It is going to change the way in which we understand many modern debates about economics, politics, and society' Ha Joon Chang, author of 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

Over the past fifty years, the way we value what is 'good' and 'right' has changed dramatically. Behaviour that to our grandparents' generation might have seemed stupid, harmful or simpl
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 6th 2019 by Allen Lane
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Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Big time academic economics is a strange area at times and is certainly an acquired taste. Theory has been highly abstract and mathematical for quite a while and the empirical tribulations of trying to show evidence in the world for some theoretical claim are daunting. Readers of popular books and policy summaries may easily fail to notice that this is also an elaborate occupation here, with its own detailed rules and status orderings. Academic jobs that pay well are highly competitive and much ...more
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
Keynes quip that every person who considers themselves a practical person of action is in thrall to some dead economist or other. Economic thinking contains values and shapes our view of the permissible. Economics in the mid-twentieth century the author pins it on Austrian School, Chicago Boys, and Strangelovian characters at the Rand Corporation but the villain is homo economicus becoming the paragon of ethics is the problem. We abstracted away a lot of moral strictures in the pursuit of being ...more
Simon Tidd
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. The author takes a critical look at some of the major trends and schools of thought in contemporary economics.

He first provides an overview of the significant figures involved in each, be they Nobel prize winners, authors etc. Then he discusses the thinking, it's interpretation, and its effect on modern economics and society.

Often, the interpretation is not as originally intended by the major proponents of the initial research. His conclusion and general thread is tha
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
If you read Swedish I have written a longer review in Smedjan which will be published shortly. In summary, Aldred basically makes the same old tired criticisms against "neoliberalism" and disguises it as criticism of economics. I had many an angry rant while reading it and I was not very impressed by his critique.
Anagha M.
Sep 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
A more appropriate sub-heading would be "How Neoliberal Economics Corrupted Us". The choice made is understandable, given that broader titles attract more eyes, so not so much a criticism as an observation. And given that most of contemporary economics is held together by the principles of neoliberal ideas anyway, the 21st century reader won't be left wanting for much.

Aldred spends the vast majority exploring the source of such economics, by scrutinizing 20th century, Chicago School economics th
Tĩnh Hàn
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Đây là một quyển sách mình thấy được gợi ý bởi chị Jenny Tue Anh Nguyen – một người phụ nữ vô cùng giỏi đang làm việc tại Oxford. Với lại nó cũng được review bởi idol Ha-Joong Chang, tác giả quyển Economics thần thánh. Do đó, trong một lần tình cờ mình thấy nó ở một nhà sách ở Ý (đương nhiên là bằng tiếng Ý), mình đã đứng đọc nó suốt 2 tiếng. Tuy nhiên thì do vốn tiếng Ý ngâu si của mình nên phải cực kì chân thành cảm ơn sự cao thượng của bạn *Minh Nguyen* vì đã tài trợ mình ebook tiếng Anh cho ...more
Donn Lee
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I gave up on this book a couple of times. Shelved under DNF ("did not finish"). But my mind would keep going back to it, thinking about the things it brought up, and I couldn't help but want to read more. So I'd fish it back from my DNF bin and push on. I was rewarded with a better understanding of what the author was getting at, and a new way of looking at the world.

So, let me first talk a little about the reason why I thought this belonged to the DNF bin. I felt that the author wasn't particul
Sep 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Book was just hard for me to follow. There was no roadmap to follow and it was not clear where the author was trying to take me nor what he was trying to convey. I may have been able to understand individual examples but I continually failed to place them into the larger context. In addition to that, there seems to be an overly large (in my opinion) emphasis on the role that individual economic theorists have played in the development of the economy as it stands today.

I was not able to understa
Jul 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Overly simplistic explanation of economic theories that assumes all economists are the same, despite the differences among economists that he himself outlines in the book. He sets up a straw man designed to be torn down. Economics is complex because it is about people and the tools of economics are designed to allow for scenario building and thinking through scenarios. Hence the joke that economists always say ‘on the one hand and on the other hand’.
Tom Drissi
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hugely enjoyable and important book. As an Economist, it’s probably my favourite piece for much needed “self-reflection” by the profession. Would deem it recommended reading for every Economics graduate that is set to continue working in the field. Puts important empirical and (vitally) political context to what we are taught at university - and often taught as though some neutral science/as separate from politics and moral value judgements.
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
This is an interesting and educating read, but pretty hard to grasp if you are not already familiar with the mentioned theories. This book is so packed with information that it's hard to read at one go, so you will have to put this down and digest what you have read. The ending seems somewhat abrupt, and Aldred doesn't bring up any research to back up his claims so it falls a bit flat (especially after such a great beginning).
Ron Pri
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Economics is the perfect case of obsession with quantification gone wrong. The effort to formalize the socio-economic complexity of world into physics like simple laws had led many a disciplines astray but more so with economics ( mainstream).

The most sinister aspect is the rationale the economists give when their ideas are challenged even though the snake oil they peddle has life and death consequences especially for people on the other side of the planet.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: study, favorites
All economics, business and public policy students should read this. This book really challenged a lot of the ingrained classical economic theories/assumptions that I have been exposed to, and Jonathan Aldred does so by shedding light on their implications onto our realities by using real life events and making readers question these repercussions (e.g. game theories and its dangerous effects on military security/strategies, Coase theories and its impacts onto law-and-economics arguments, “wealt ...more
Daneel Lynn
Jun 29, 2020 rated it did not like it


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