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Angrynomics

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Why are measures of stress and anxiety on the rise, when economists and politicians tell us we have never had it so good? While statistics tell us that the vast majority of people are getting steadily richer the world most of us experience day-in and day-out feels increasingly uncertain, unfair, and ever more expensive. In Angrynomics , Eric Lonergan and Mark Blyth explore the rising tide of anger, sometimes righteous and useful, sometimes destructive and ill-targeted, and propose radical new solutions for an increasingly polarized and confusing world. Angrynomics is for anyone wondering, where the hell do we go from here?

208 pages, Paperback

First published June 17, 2020

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About the author

Eric Lonergan

7 books20 followers
Eric Lonergan is a macro hedge-fund manager at M&G Investments in London. He studied PPE at the University of Oxford and has an MSc in economics and philosophy from the London School of Economics.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 85 reviews
Profile Image for Venky.
961 reviews348 followers
May 23, 2020
In a concise albeit compelling new book, imaginatively titled, “Angrynomics”, Eric Lonergan, a macro hedge fund manager, economist, and writer, joins forces with Mark Blyth, William R. Rhodes Professor of International Economics at Brown University, to dwell about a form of anger, a moral outrage even, that has currently enveloped the world brining about in its wake, changes and trajectories that are both undesirable and welcome.

The book is written in a unique manner. The primary essence of the work is captured and retold in the form of a measured, informed and nuanced deliberation between the authors themselves. They engage in a ‘Platoesque’ dialogue, bouncing off ideas, planting seeds of doubts, upending received wisdom, and all the while leading the reader towards a set of novel and ingenious ‘prescriptions.’

The duo at the beginning of their work distinguish between two types of anger, public and private. Public anger is a collective form of expressing an extreme emotion in response to an act that is perceived to be against the common good. For example, as the authors illustrate, the chagrin of the Icelanders when they found out after the infamous “Panama Papers” leak that their political elites were siphoning off money in caches to tax havens, provided a perfect example of a spontaneous exhibition of public anger. Private anger on the other hand, is one that is synonymous with shame. People who are privately angry are more in need of counselling than retribution. Stressed parents being a classic case in point.

Where the book gets very interesting is when the authors posit a more serious and venomous variant of anger – tribal rage. When public anger casts aside its moral outrage in a positive form and begins forming exclusive ranks and groups, it takes on a more dangerous and devious shape. Mostly seen in sports in the form of fanatical fan support, tribal rage manifests itself in the maniacal railings of fans, at times against their own teams, when the squad’s performance does not match the various expectations. But the biggest fall out of a tribal rage is its remorseless and deliberate exploitation by politicians of various divides, hues and colour to further their own interests, push their party’s ideologies and peddle otherwise unacceptable policies. The election of the maverick Donald Trump to the highest office in the most powerful nation of the world is a monumental testimony to the channeling of tribal rage to fuel personal aspirations. While the genuine woes of a neglected Rust Belt represented public anger and an honest moral outrage, Trump, in promising to alleviate the grievances of those affected, also pulled out a very dangerous tactic by foisting unverified and unwarranted blame on immigrants. This induced a wave of tribal rage across the country unleashing a false perception that immigration had a linear bearing on other economic and social distresses such as job losses, recession and a spurt in crime. Similar was the case with Cameron’s referendum and a tumultuous Brexit.

The authors bring the reader’s attention to the various ‘triggers’ that induce moral anger. First proposed by Martha Nussbaum, who in turn, relied on the works of the psychologist Carol Travis, moral anger is an outcome of perceptions such as ‘insults’, ‘slights’, ‘condescension’, ‘being treated as if I were of no account’ etc. These are exactly some of the myriad feelings which the common man experienced when subsequent to the Financial Recession of 2008, unscrupulous bankers and too-big-to-fail financial institutions were bailed out by Governments, whilst the ordinary citizen who was far removed from the scheming contrivances of Wall Street, was left holding the bag. “Not many people know the intricacies of the banking sector, but they do know when they are being ripped off. Whether it was the Tea Party movement in the US; outraged at capitalism for the people and socialism for banks, Los Indignatios in Spain protesting austerity cuts, or in the UK with Brexit, the crisis provoked a politics of anger that is now transforming politics everywhere.”

Personally, my favourite part of the book refers to the portion where Lonergan and Blyth employ an analogy of capitalism being like a computer that crashes from time to time and requires rebooting. The authors identify three versions of capitalism 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. Without spoiling the pleasure of a fellow reader, I would let him/her be regaled by the authors themselves on the potentials and pitfalls of each version of the Capitalism Model. But as a juicy tidbit, the three versions in chronological order take the form of the postulations put forward by Karl Polanyi, John Maynard Keynes and Michal Kaleckirespectively.

With the world currently being ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lure of a vaccine still quite some time away, the micro and macro stressors that incite public anger and resentment are only bound to increase. The resonance of such an increase would be felt uniformly across the globe. For example, with the concept of social distancing more or less being a permanent facet in the lexicon of employment, the need for automation would only increase exponentially. Similarly, the gig economy would face a future that is uncertain, if downright, perilous. So are there measures that may be instituted to ameliorate the real uncertainties plaguing a majority of the global populace?

The authors, before concluding their book, offer a couple of innovative and out of the box suggestions for transferring cash directly into the hands of the deprived. The first of these “helicopter money” mechanisms involves the Government taking advantage of zero to negative interest rates. The authors propose the establishment of National Wealth Funds to tackle global inequality. Governments can issue a certain percentage of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in long term bonds at zero real interest rates. Hence after a few years, the real value of the debt would remain unchanged. If the relevant proceeds are invested in a diversified basket of global equities, the value of the assets would more than double in real terms over the same period. These proceeds may then be distributed in the form of individual trust funds to 80% of the households owning the fewest assets.

Another solution could be to extract a data dividend from the technology companies such as Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook. Notwithstanding the issues of intrusion of privacy, these entities may be made to fork out a fee every time the data of a user is extracted and used. The payments can either be made in the form of a one-off royalty or a data license can be granted for 30 – 40 years on the same model as those that are currently being done for digital spectrum auctions. But what about those who do not use the internet? The authors do not address the issues that may arise as a result of cross subsidization and cream skimming.

“Angrynomics” is a very essential and relevant work especially considering the unprecedented times that we find ourselves in. It provides a very justifiable template for the public angst that is influencing global politics and also lays down a platform for utilizing such angst to achieve measures that are in the general interests of humanity.

(Angrynomics by Eric Lonergan and Mark Blyth an Agenda Publishing endeavour distributed by Columbia University Press in the USA and Canada will be published on the 30th of June, 2020)
Profile Image for W.D. Clarke.
Author 3 books272 followers
September 8, 2021
An excellent companion to Yanis Varoufakis's Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: or, How Capitalism Works - and How It Fails—in that both books 1) presume that you are not a professional economist but 2) do not take your intelligence for granted, and 3) present what could have been dry and lifeless material in a spirited, even artful manner (YV's is more the champ at this, to be honest, but Lonergan and Blyth make a pretty good effort).

And if Varoufakis's book cruises at a high altitude and gives you the Big Picture on capitalism, this book is unafraid to get down in the weeds: while, it, too, gives us a potted history of how we went from classical Robber Baron liberal capitalism through Keynesianism and then, after 1973 and until 2008, neo-liberalism, much of what you'll find in these pages gets down to the gritty details as to, e.g., the macro-economics of how and why nationalism made a comeback after 2009, and the micro-economics of why so many of us have turned to populism. But the best is saved for last: some really innovative, politically and economically "do-able", post-partisan solutions to or at least ameliorative starts toward fixing the big problems of whatever-version-of-capitalism we are living through now (the authors employ, mostly successfully, the Socratic dialogue form as well as an extended computer science analogy...Capitalism 1.0. 2.0. 3.0, with very good analytical componentry and only very occasional mixed-metaphor-izing), namely: inequality, climate change, precarious employment and a loss of faith in liberal institutions and politics. Also a good place to start with Mr. Blyth, whose Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea was one of the most illuminating books that I've read on the various roles "classical" economic thought has played over the 20th and early 21st centuries.
50 reviews2 followers
September 15, 2020
Really good summary of some simple things governments can do to address inequality and assuage anger and fear in society. They're currently doing none of it though. Get the finger out lads!!
129 reviews3 followers
October 5, 2020
interesting discussion on some policies which could help tackle inequality (in developed countries at at least)
Profile Image for Binit Agrawal.
32 reviews1 follower
July 23, 2020
A very well written and easy to read book which lays bare the anger that we often see in the masses today. The anger against certain races, religions, classes and so on. The book delves into why we, as a global society, have become angrier and are increasingly becoming sectarian. What role does politics play in making this happen? What role has economics played in making this happen? How do we look and understand anger from a macro (felt on a society level) and a micro (felt at the individual level) perspective? Lastly, how do we end this anger and how do we enrich the lives of people, so that they stop getting angry? The authors are at a dialogue with each other to answer these questions.

The conclusion they reach is that anger is like income. If an individual feels he is earning well, and if many others feel the same, we say that society as a whole is optimistic. Similarly, if an individual is stressed, worried, and angry, and many others too are placed similarly, we feel that society as a whole is angry. Today, people are more worried than ever before: inequality is rising, wages are stagnating, tech is dystopian and things are changing way too fast for us to adjust. Here, the authors failed to discuss one of the other big reasons for stress: social media and the polarisation and anger it generates.

They conclude by arguing that if we are to relieve our society of tension and the resultant anger, we must make policies which provide people with a sense of security and tell them that they are not doomed. That technology is not going to eat their jobs. That healthcare will not be forever unaffordable. That our environment is not going to be plundered. How do we do that? Well, find it for yourself.
Profile Image for Emilis Kuke.
96 reviews30 followers
May 15, 2022
I avoided this book for a while, because from Mark Blyth podcasts it seem'd to me that book would be about tribes, anger and not much about the economics. And it sounded somehow a bit boring. Now I hardly could understand how did I get such an impression. It was totally and utterly wrong. Yes, book has parts about angryness and tribalism, but for me surprisingly they were very interesting, not boring. Especially how politicians exploit it for getting votes instead of addressing real economical issues. And also there was quite a lot of very good stuff about economics which I enjoyed enormously. Especially I liked idea about well funds.

Actually, this book has audio version which I lisened and which I highly recommend. It is very lively narrated by authors. So to listen them was a double fun. Fascinating content, fascinating voices and everything explained in simple and understandable language. What to want more? Maybe a next book written by them again?
Profile Image for Alexandru.
258 reviews18 followers
March 27, 2021
Angrynomics is short book touching on the current economic climate and the anger which has surfaced as a result of the post-economic crisis downturn and its political effects such as Brexit, the election of Trump, popular unrest and more. The author explains that there are two types of anger: moral anger being the legitimate anger of the common people who have been ignored and disadvantaged by the economic elites, the other being the irrational tribal anger stirred by populists and demagogues who take advantage of the bad economic times.

The author proposes a few solutions to today's economic problems including creation of sovereign wealth funds, doing cash transfers to households, introducing dual interest rates to support small households and enterprises, perpetual zero interest loans from central banks, getting rid of austerity and the introduction of profit sharing for companies which reap huge profits from big data collection.

The book also has a covid pandemic postscript touching on newer issues which have come up due to the lockdowns and the resurgence of anger and frustration.

Would have given the book more stars but it is too brief and as such there was not enough room to provide clear explanations of the conclusions and solutions proposed.
309 reviews3 followers
July 8, 2020
I know it's been a string of readings, and this book is VERY short (~100 pages, 2.5 hours of reading), but it addresses a critical problem right when it's most critical. Blyth and Lonergan talk about the economic reasons people are so viscerally angry, how this anger is manipulated, and what can be done to allow the world to progress rather than head off a cliff in swift pulls in one direction or another.
Profile Image for Grant.
558 reviews3 followers
December 31, 2020
A great intro to why the economy doesn't work for all a great summary of the current economic issues that cause anger in the lower classes.
Profile Image for Iel.
511 reviews12 followers
March 19, 2022
Strange book, that is apparently only available via audio? I'm torn on the format, which was both crisp and awkward. The authors try to get a back and forth going, but everything is scripted and both authors are incapable of voice-acting.

Still, there are some highlights. Overall, the authors spend the first four chapters teeing up the opportunity to talk about their own work and macro ideas (hellicopter drops etc). The first two chapters are pedestrian takes on different types of anger. I mean it was ok and nothing was bad per see, but it still felt like they were reciting other peoples' ideas.

Chapter three is a gloriously accessible overview of political economy describing three incremental perspectives on capitalism, while also explaining the corresponding political structure too. They take Polanyi's idea that labour rebels against being thought of as a commodity, and that Keynes' response was to use govt spending to placate labour, but that this created the problem of full employment and the corresponding inflation of the 1970s. Neoliberalism broke that down by a mixture of union busting, globalising supply chains, financialisation etc. And now we're back to the 1930s world in which labour rebels against becoming a commodity. They also draw out the inter-generational inequality underpinning the current instantiation of capitalism.

I've actually forgotten what happened in the fourth chapter. And then the fifth chapter justifies their arugments for innovative macro economic policy. Imo they don't take the Lucas critique seriously. It is completely unclear how the US adopting a sovereign wealth fund would impact the stock market, and similarly how actual helicopter money would function. They take the pandemic as vindication of their ideas because some countries adopted helicopter-ish money, but don't mention the contemporaneous distortions in the labour and stock markets.

Still fair play to them. Its a nice way to communicate inaccessible macro economic theory to the lay reader.
Profile Image for Tommy.
338 reviews32 followers
July 30, 2020
Most of this is quite banal but it'll make most Guardian readers self-satisfied and increase their midwit points. The idea people are rightfully angry at a dysfunctional system isn't particularly controversial but he does a good job problematizing those statistical counterpoints and pointing out any nugget of truth in reasons to celebrate might just translate into making people madder. [Marshall McLuhan was always cynical about the global village FYI]
The framework isn't quite clear but he's implicitly accepting very conventional thinking on macro constraints (scoffs off MMT and the name Marx is used twice to emphasis what something is not) but since certain contingent factors are favourable today (low interest rates) we can do things we otherwise couldn't. He isn't starting with waged labour being anything special and side-steps into talk about a better distribution of asset ownership and getting every citizen good guaranteed nominal returns for being spied on by Silicon Valley tech corporations which is kinnda strange since he just sorts of accepts it as inevitable.
Profile Image for Achtung Englander.
103 reviews1 follower
August 23, 2020
This is a timely read (2020/2021) of why people are rightly angry with why Western economies have failed the majority of people and what it can be done on a macro level to reverse some of the damage before history repeats itself with the 2008 crash.

I really liked the structure of the book as a two way conversation between Eric Lonergan and Mark Blyth. It keeps the structure fresh with two educated, well thought out, opinions without necessarily always agreeing with each other. I found that better than the usual delivery of information from a single voice.

The use of everyday examples to explain complicated macro economic issues is really good and makes it easy for people to understand.

The book is broken down into 5 big dialogues between the two economists that cover most of the macro and micro economic reasons why people are so angry today as well as the social aspects that led to Trump, Brexit and disillusion with Capitalism 3.0.

The book may not be a complete eye opener as many of these issues will have been covered in the mass media and in films/TV but to their credit Lonergan and Blyth take on what needs to change to make the situation better with theories and ideas, some which have already been employed during the COVID-19 pandemic, like dual interest rates.

The Kindle version had a post-script that touches upon the effect of COVID-19 on the situation of "Angrynomics".

The only caveat to the book is that events are moving fast in this day and age, so the book is timely now but may feel its age as we head into the 20's.
Profile Image for Marc Menz.
68 reviews7 followers
September 24, 2020
Excellent and timely read. The authors, using a simple dialogue have captured the essence of what is essentially going wrong in economics and politics today. By looking at both tribalism and moral outrage - two primary forms of anger - they've summed up the situation that's allowed for multiple demagogue world leaders. In many ways they argue this anger and frustration is justified.

It's a short and snappy book that gets right to the heart of the issue, and doesn't waste time in providing solutions. Personally I quite like the hardware/software analogy they use for explaining the past hundred years of capitalism. Explaining how we're due for another sort of reset, not necessarily an entire overhaul, is really helpful in passing on this message.

And ultimately, the solutions are quite clear cut and easy for most people to get their head around. A national savings and investment fund, where everyone gets a piece. Sensible fiscal policy anticipating recessions are also a fantastic idea, so that when a crisis does come around, no time is wasted in arguments and debate in turning things around. It's just a solid, relatively unbiased and rational dialogue. There's nothing in here that defies logic. I highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Dale Dewitt.
104 reviews1 follower
May 6, 2020
I liked the authors and their discussion format. It was a quick read and the conversational nature of the book was interesting . I liked how the discussions flowed from one to the other the topic was simply frightening about how our politics are ties to economics.
Profile Image for Ramon.
133 reviews7 followers
February 12, 2022
¿Qué puede decir ?

Me ha gustado mucho.
Un modelo de libro ensayo diferente que parte de una conversación entre dos amigos con ideas distintas que debaten poco a poco sobre posibilidades de solución y origen de la ira que nos invade como sociedad.
Muy apto para todo el mundo, me ha sido muy fácil de entender los conceptos básicos de los planteamientos económicos y lo más interesante soluciones que podrían aceptar las vieja polaridad de izquierda y derecha. Sin tener que tomar partido.

Son buenas conclusiones, con ejemplos reales de su implantación en mayor o menor medida, pero no hay utopías imposibles, ni partidismo sin autocrítica.

Pequeño pero matón un libro muy recomendable:

Algunas frases que me resultan interesantes:

La política se ha convertido en el patio trasero de aquellos que disponen de grandes fortunas.


Existen dos tipos de ira: la energía tribal y la indignación moral.


Los más enojados suelen ser las minorías motivadas.


La ansiedad y el estrés pueden arruinar nuestras vidas privadas.


¿Cuál es la función social de la tribu? Es muy simple. Los humanos resultan mucho más exitosos cuando actúan en grupo, y ser parte de un grupo aumenta sus probabilidades de supervivencia.


En tiempos de paz y prosperidad, la identidad tribal pasa a un segundo plazo.


La ira tribal, después de todo, está a solo un paso de la violencia tribal.


El tribalismo no es la única identidad política motivadora, pero sí un poderoso reflejo cuando estamos estresados y enojados.


La identidad tribal, que contiene una alusión tácita o explícita a la etnia, el lugar o el origen, es una forma muy distinta de alinear la orientación política. El nacionalismo es la forma moderna predominante de tribalismo político.


El nacionalismo es una tecnología política


La política tribal secuestra el debate político. Nos desvía de lo importante para la gente, los salarios, la vivienda, el cuidado de la salud y la educación.


La política ha descendido a la movilización táctica de las pequeñas minorías del electorado para ganar elecciones.


Es un error común pensar que la democracia es el gobierno de la mayoría. Los sistemas electorales mayoritarios son en realidad gobernados por la minoría.


No debe subestimarse la interacción entre la histeria, los estereotipos, los enemigos ficticios y los temores, generada por los medios de comunicación y entre nuestras tribus online.


La era posterior a la Guerra fría se caracterizó por la pérdida de identidad política y la retirada de la política de grandes segmentos de la población, especialmente de los más perjudicados por los cambios económicos del período.


Describimos la era del neoliberalismo como la del fomento de la pérdida de la identidad política.
La élite establecida no ha ofrecido opciones alternativas al neoliberalismo.


El Estado-nación ha sido neutralizado por la globalización.


Existen mercados que son de alcance global mientras la democracia es intrínsecamente local.


Cuanto menos control tengas, más abierto estés, menos control tendrás. Cuanto menos control tengas, menos podrás responder a lo que la economía global te exige.


El 1% superior, a nivel mundial, aumentó tanto sus ingresos como el 50% inferior de toda la economía mundial.


En Europa, el 10% superior posee el 37% del capital nacional.


El resurgimiento del llamado populismo se traduce entonces como la lucha por proteger la nación y la economía nacional contra las fuerzas externas que producen estas desigualdades.


La participación de los trabajadores en el ingreso nacional de los EE.UU, llegó a su punto máximo en 1973, los sindicatos están casi extintos en los EUA.


El 40% de los adultos EUA afirmaron que no podrían cubrir un gasto inesperado de 400 dólares.


La mayor parte de lo que consumimos hoy en día son servicios, no bienes.


La inflación media en EUA ha rondado 2% en los últimos 20 años. Pero en el mismo periodo la educación ha aumentado el coste un 120% y la atención médica un 80%.


El cáncer es una de las mayores causas de bancarrota personal en los Estados Unidos.


El capitalismo inicial se basa en tres mercancías ficticias : Trabajo, tierra y capital.


El mundo producido por el capitalismo puede ser uno de alto desempleo y de gran desigualdad.


El fascismo fue un intento del Estado de salvar el mercado aboliendo la sociedad. La ira tribal se desplaza contra el extranjero y el impuro.


El pleno empleo sostenido elevaría de manera sustancial los salarios y mataría los retornos a la inversión.
La única forma de retener a los trabajadores cualificados sería pagándoles sueldos aún mayores. Y eso implicaría aumentar los precios de los productos. El objetivo de la política no era el pleno empleo, ya que eso producía inflación sino la estabilidad de los precios.


La 3 versión del capitalismo fue diseñada específicamente para restaurar el poder del capital.


El error de la 3 versión fue la desigualdad en los ingresos y la riqueza. Ese error fue el estancamiento salarial.


Hay tres causas principale detrás de nuestra ansiedad. Las cosas que van mal pequeñas o grandes. La incertidumbre sobre nuestro futuro y los cambios inesperados en nuestro entorno.


Los economistas han secuestrado los términos riesgo e incertidumbre al decidir que el primero es mensurable y se le puede asignar , una probabilidad , mientras que la incertidumbre es incognoscible. no merece la pena ser debatida.


Los ahorros son un elemento antiestrés. El dinero es una cobertura contra posibles estados futuros del mundo.


Esta muy claro que la incertidumbre y la inseguridad en nuestra vida laboral han aumentado de manera desconcertante y estresante.


El hecho es que, cada vez que se ha producido un cambio tecnológico importante, la demanda de mano de obra ha aumentado, no disminuido.


Mientras que algunos aspectos de casi todos los trabajos pueden automatizarse, incluso el nuetro, no todas las partes de un trabajo pueden descomponerse.


La desigualdad intergeneracional es una parte necesaria de nuestro futuro, a menos que decidamos hacer algo al respecto.


Una economía de ancianos crecerá más lentamente.


Debido a la política terminamos a un mundo en el que los pasivos se distribuyen hacia los jóvenes mientra que los activos se distribuyen desproporcionadamente hacia los ancianos.


La forma en que se experimenta subjetivamente la inmigración varía según la distribución de ingresos.


Las fuerzas proinmigración tendían a ser más ricas y no sufrían ningún coste por ser proinmigrantes. Es más fácil castigar a los pobres por su racismo que hacer algo contra su pobreza.


Una inflación baja y una reglamentación estricta de los bancos pueden dar lugar a fases muy prolongadas de pleno empleo y estabilidad secular.
La experiencia de los años setenta les enseño que la inflación era la principal fuente de recesión.


Los impuestos sobre la renta y el patrimonio se introdujeron no solo para luchar contra la inflación o para aumentar la recaudación, sino también para combatir a la plutocracia.


Nuestro nuevo versión del capitalismo debe abordar la desigualdad en la riqueza para que nuestras sociedades se adapten mejor a los cambios.


Crear un Fondo Nacional de Riqueza para hacer frente a la desigualdad.


Son irritantes los debates políticos que se centran en lo que es óptimo. Necesitamos priorizar lo que es efectivo.
Profile Image for Justinian.
525 reviews5 followers
September 8, 2020
2020-08 – Angrynomics. Mark Blyth (Author) Eric Lonergan (Author) 2020. 192 Pages.

I watched the author Mark Blyth give a talk on C-Span about this book and put it on reserve well before the half way point of his talk. The book is short and approachable. It is written not for the specialist but for the layman. It is set up as a freewheeling conversation within certain themes between two people. This format gives it an energy and verve you do not normally find in economic books. The premise is simple enough … why with an increasing broad economic prosperity is there a growing unrest and feeling from segments of people that they have been left out, and why are those voices exerting such strength in the political sphere? The book really is limited in its discussion to the period from after WWII to the present … touching on the current COVID-19 era. The thing people need to understand first is that the economic system is not a separate system. It can be changed and has been changed over time. Two of the significant changes were the shift in policy from a bias towards workers to a bias towards consumers. In the short run this created expansion and a perception of rising tides but those policies have come home to roost and are responsible for a lot of the anger that we see by those who feel left out, left behind. Labor has been denigrated and people are evaluated and thought of as consumers with much less tough t given to where that consuming power comes from. One of the tools of that policy shift was the deregulation of finance and capital that had existed for 200 years in the United States and by extension Europe and the rest of the world. Money was free to travel and find the area of its greatest return. Capital became global and international while politics and especially representative democracy remained local and focused on local issues. These issues were often at odds with the requirements of an international financial system and the growth and strength of that system too often forced local political policies to kowtow to its needs or be bypassed and left out. This is serious stuff. It is a radical imbalance that has occurred since the 1980’s. But … there are areas where this has not been as dramatic. Countries with strong social safety nets like health care have less poverty and volatility than other countries. This became apparent during the 200’s and the doubling down on programs of austerity which were mindsets of a different era and ideas not tied to the current economic reality. The authors talk at length about this and about two notions for changing economies to reduce anger and promote greater economic inclusion. One is investment in different economies. Creating whole new economies to develop and implement renewable energy and break away from the limitations and long term ill effects and diminishing returns of fossil fuels. The other solution is the notion of a sovereign wealth fund. This is something several nations and at least one US state already use. The goal is to give people ownership and skin in the game instead of the widespread alienation the majority have from the a nation’s wealth currently. It is a melding of global finance and local politics that makes sense. In some ways it is a challenge to traditional assumptions and patterns of thought … but … read the book and find out and judge for yourself. This is along with the book, “This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World”, by Yancey Strickler ( I read and reviewed in February 2020) one of the most informative and explanatory books on economics of the last 60 years I have read.
17 reviews
November 1, 2020
I think I went into this with slightly wrong expectations. This is not a book for someone hoping to hear a Blythe-esque analuysis of political economy. It's mostly a short, digestable presentation of thingds Blythe has said elsewhere. I am less familiar with Lonergan, so if you come to this book from his work it might be more novel, but I couldn't say.

The clarity is good, it's well articulated, and for the most part explains its concepts in a very accessible way. A decision was made not to reference this like a normal academic text, which I kind of wish they hadn't done. There are endnotes throughout, and they frequently provide either empirical support for a claim, or broader context for those interested. It is really not clear why some things were given this citation and other weren't. Throughout I found myself wishing that certain empirical claims were backed up with citation either because they seemed unintuitive, so I wanted to understand precisely what the evidence did suggest, or just because I'd like to understand that better. The endnotes that were included didn't seem to make the book unaccessible, and if someone isn't interested in them I don't see why they would ignore 30 endnote, but couldn't ignore 50.

My other large worry is with how the different kinds of Anger were divided up. Moral Outrage was taken to be a) a sort of public anger, b) justified, and c) useful. This is contrasted with Tribal Anger which, (we are told with support of some dubious EvoPsych), but it's not clear to me which of these are meant to be conceptual differences and which are just features the kinds happen to have. The argument is that we want to cool or remove one type of anger, and (at least in the short-med term) harness another, but either this claim is 'we should try be angry only in good ways' or it needs to make clear what distinguishes these and in what senses they are distinct. I feel the thinking about anger was confused and confusing, and it would have been useful to engage a bit more with the contemporary philosophy on emotions (Neo-sentimentalists for instance) rather than just cite Aristotle a few times and then point to Nussbaum once. I feel this really could have used another couple of phases in the edit.

I found dialogues 3 and 5 were the best, and had some pretty interesting stuff in it. D3 is a history of economics regimes since WW2. Blythe has articulated all this before on youtube for free, but having it laid out in print is as good. D4 focuses on microstressors, which was newer to me. Ifk if Lonergan has talked about this widely before. Either way, I found the discussion a little shallow. I wanted to know how anger functions in response to that (micro)stressful life. At times it sounded like Anger was just this thing that happens when people are stressed, almost epiphenomenally. If anger is the driving force of a lot of our political economy at the moment, and a lot of it is coming from these microstressors, it would seem worth asking 'what is this anger at/about' the same way the writers do for the Moral Outrage sort of anger they talk about earlier. D5 includes four policy suggestions and these are, I found, well argued for. Lonergan's three requirements that a policy work, we achievable, and be something that has a hope in hell of happening, are sensible and straightforward. I would have liked a little more details on some of them, but it's a good chapter worth diving into. Again, i wish they'd given a citation for the Czech Central Bank paper on helicopter money.
Profile Image for Florence.
67 reviews12 followers
October 30, 2021
The book discusses urgent and relevant issues, e.g. increase in populism, unequal distribution of wealth, extreme monopoly by big tech companies, and does so with lots of good analogy and examples.

While most economics books focus on the Western narratives, this book provides plenty of examples of situations in countries that may not be familiar to me. One of my favourites is the tablet analogy: tablets made by different companies will have different hardware and operating systems even if they are all tablets – you can’t run Apple’s operating system on a Samsung tablet without a lot of editing of the software. It would be next to impossible to run radical libertarian software on the German economy, and running the software for Swedish social democracy is likely to raise severe incompatibility issues in the US. Moreover, given that different hardware and software configurations have emerged over time in different places, it should not be a surprise that what Denmark produces, consumes and values, should be different from what China produces, consumes and values. To me, I always thought inequality is bad everywhere, but inequality matters less to Europe because healthcare is free.

The authors have made some interesting / daring suggestions which have actually been tested or proven wrong due to accelerated economic developments from covid, e.g. “the death of inflation” but covid or covid-related policy has led to inflation surge. The worry of covid rendering a lot of the claims irrelevant is mentioned in the closing remarks, while this may be somewhat true, overall this book is very useful in giving an understanding of the modern world and issues that seem to defy economics taught in school.

My complaint is that this book is definitely not as accessible as advertised and its stylistic choice has unfortunately worsened the reading experience. This book is written in a dialogue form as the authors believe it has the "force and dynamic of anger itself" and a series of dialogues can invite the reader to engage and disagree, rather than be lectured.

At first, yes, it is nice to hear an open, causal discussion between two economists: “what does this mean”, "please unpack those bold claims", and wait for the concepts to be explained. Yet after a while this feels like a lazy way to write a book. This is especially discernible as the book progresses with more complex concepts – I constantly feel like I’m at a dinner party with a table of accomplished economists. A book can be engaging yet still be in a book form at the same time. It would definitely have benefitted from some more structure.
Profile Image for Valerie.
40 reviews
January 6, 2021
I'm writing this review as someone who has never truly purchased a book to take a deeper dive on the state of our economy—aside from what I had to read in school to pass economics courses far too long ago. I found this book because a colleague mentioned it, and the idea of trying to have a better understanding of how anger influences the economy feels like such a relevant thing to try and grasp—especially since tensions are so high at the time of this review. I felt a little anxious going into this book, but came out the other side relieved that there are smart solutions to truly address areas like wealth inequality—one of the biggest driving forces of anger in the economy—among other topics that I don't want to spoil. Their definitions of moral anger vs. tribal anger really helped clarify the narratives I see and hear about on the news.

Admittedly, I wish I was more well-versed in economic jargon—I know this would have helped with my captivation in some areas. However, the format of this book makes the subject matter easy to follow. It was like reading a podcast transcript—a discussion between two people with short parables at the introduction of each chapter to set the tone of the following discussion. I don't want to dock a book simply because I may have bit off a little more than I can chew. They do claim that the format is supposed to be accessible and readable, but I don't particularly think it's for a complete novice. There are many moments where they recap what they are trying to say, which I appreciated.

Perhaps one of my favorite parts of the book is the post-script. Angrynomics was in the proofing stage just as the pandemic was beginning to ramp up—March 2020. It was really interesting to read the authors defend their proposals against the state of what's currently happening in the world. I think this post-script alone really makes this a unique book to have on our shelves. It's a live-action take on the subject and a test of their proposals right before our eyes. It made their conclusions even easier to follow because I could draw parallels between their discussions and what is happening to us currently.

Just some insight on the length of the book:
The post-script finishes on page 169
Further reading starts on page 171
Notes on page 177
Index on page 183
August 20, 2020
This is an original and serious take on how and why we're doing economics wrong, and why this is leading to the global anger that we see manifested in nationalist and populist movements throughout the world. The authors get serious points for the conversational tone of the book; indeed, the text is a discussion between Lonergan and Blyth. Each chapter is introduced with a vignette, setting the scene for the dialogue that follows and grounding the economics in real world settings. This is still surprisingly rare in economics texts, and a useful tool for both engaging the reader and pointing out why we should care.

Ultimately, I've knocked off one star because of the brevity of the book. This feels like a taster to a longer volume that delves into the issues in greater detail and cites a little more empirical research to justify their policy recommendations. I also, as a social scientist but non-economist, found some of the jargon off-putting in the later chapters. The book is aimed at a general audience, but one that reads the financial pages of the FT and can comfortably explain the difference between fiscal and monetary policy.

Regardless of whether this is you or not, there are some exciting take aways from this book, not least the renewal of interest in the works of Karl Polanyi, JM Keynes, and Michal Kalecki. There are also some concrete policy suggestions for politicians and researchers to take forwards, although the shorter nature of the book means that while there is an excellent reading list at the end of the text, it feels like there is a shortage of empirical references explored within the text itself backing up the key points. The authors acknowledge this as one of the trade-offs they made for readability, and their more academic publications answer these points.
Profile Image for Colm.
327 reviews7 followers
November 8, 2020
A very interesting piece of thought, constructed as a series of dialogues between the two writers. It breaks down the economy into three large periods, the New Deal to the 70s, the 70s until the 2008 Financial Crash, and that recession until now. It presents the economy as versions of software with inherent bugs which need fixing in the wake of each major crash.
After explaining the basic form taken by economics in the preceding two major eras, the authors allege that things were not put to rights in the wake of the crash of 2008, merely patched over, leading to great inequality and great anger.

Their stated mission is to analyse wherein lies the anger and to propose solutions to that anger that can be accepted by the left and the right. They want their solutions to be simple to explain, simple to implement, and, above all, effective. I get the impression that their solutions are potentially effective and I appreciate their efforts to explain a lot in a short space. There were some real moments of having my mind blown contained in the book and some really handy points to take away. All the same, I couldn’t help but be left feeling that there were parts of this book that I just wouldn’t understand, simply because their wasn’t space in the book for an explanation which kept the book from getting five stars.
Profile Image for dogo.
385 reviews60 followers
February 27, 2022
You cannot have an economist without a mist. (I cannot explain why this came up in my head when figuring out what to write here)

I think this book is a fair critique of the current economic model (Capitalism 3.0) and the one worth investigated by more readers as it also provides some sound ideas of moving forward.

We've been hearing about basic income ever since the crash of 2008, although it hadn't gone anywhere near major adoption, while the market as a whole now experiences a great resignation and more likely than not will soon experience a great stagnation.

The gap between the wealthy and havenots is ever higher, which is directly responsible for the increasing mistrust of the government-proposed solutions to various kinds of problems. Due to the current situation in Ukraine, it will only get worse - next winter we're likely to have even higher prices for warmth and food, the havenots barely surviving now will be even worse.

The smart friends I managed to discuss these situations of such people with always get very angry "Those people should get educated, yadayada". And so are the people who have not chose their upbringing or their skillset, the problem is that anger does not help us in the least and we haven't really got much time until the weather disruptions make it even more difficult to find the solutions that will be needed.
Profile Image for Reading.
531 reviews8 followers
September 4, 2022
It's incredible what a difference a few years can make when it comes to economic proposals and analysis; of course those few years include an ongoing pandemic, insurrection, military invasion and the resulting global economic turmoil. While I appreciate many of the observations and ideas proposed in this book overall I found it too cautious in its proposed solutions. Much of the analysis and the proposals in this book rely on inflation not being a factor and a low to zero interest rate, which certainly is not the situation we find ourselves in two years after publication.

I believe we are at a place in history where dramatic action is required, of course the division and the... 'leaders' we have in the US are far from ideal at carrying forward any dramatic action.

The proposed national wealth fund is a solid idea but the selling of our data suggestion is a bit frightening. Sure, we should certainly have much more control over our data but proposing that selling it is a solution vs confronting the chasm of inequality, for fear of a backlash or rejection, is shameful.

It's not an awful book by any means and it succeeds at its stated objective - a broad based economic analysis with very general proposals, it's just not that valuable any longer given the dramatic shift in economic reality.
132 reviews14 followers
August 21, 2021
2.6 stars.

If you have never encountered the ideas that inequality is causing some problems, that stagnating median income is causing some problems, that some people on both the left and the right are upset that this indicates that the elites are rigging things in their favor, then this book will helpfully introduce those notions.

In the real world, those are all very well known, and this book isn’t contribution much to the discussion. It also has this fake “dialogue” structure which is supposed to invite the reader in, but mostly it feels lazy and is a dialogue in the extremely limited way in which someone being “interviewed” at some conference with a series of scripted questions is a dialogue. And things are stated with the confidence level that one might have verbally (“policy X was an enormous mistake and the people who did it should be in jail”) but that in writing seem weird and off putting and very likely missing something.

On the positive side, (a) it has a good-ish description of what went wrong with the last couple economic paradigms, and (b) the policy proscriptions are broadly reasonable (although not the profound re-working of capitalism that the authors suggest).
Profile Image for Cristina Balan.
72 reviews28 followers
December 29, 2021
Angrynomics e scrisă de un profesor de economie și un manager de fond de investiții.

Nu are structura clasică, ci e construită ca un dialog între cei doi autori. Mi-a plăcut că fiecare dialog (chiar așa se intitulează capitolele: Dialogul 1, 2... 5) pleacă de la general (context), apoi se concentrează pe un subiect (macroeconomie, microeconomie, sursele frustrărilor oamenilor - ce le provoacă și cum se manifestă ele în special în fața urnelor de vot).

Fiecare contribuție a celor doi este valoroasă în sine, însă valoarea crește pe măsură ce partenerul de discuție pune încă o cărămidă de cunoaștere peste ce a ridicat celălalt. Sunt lanterne puse pe subiecte ignorate de mulți lideri - demografia, transferul intergenerațional, plusurile și minusurile tehnologiei, imigrația și globalizarea.

Am râs în hohote la exemplul dat pentru a ilustra lupta între om și tehnologie și cine a pierdut-o (e vorba despre prosciutto, deci despre animale). Un mare avantaj al cărții e că e scurtă (are cam 150 de pagini).

* Fondul de investiții la care lucrează Eric Lonergan gestionează 370 de miliarde de lire sterline și are o super-strategie de sustenabilitate, care-i vizează inclusiv pe investitori. E foarte tare.

Bonus: https://www.mandg.com/sustainable
Profile Image for Ryan Gard.
9 reviews
December 21, 2020
I'm a huge fan of Mark Blyth, so it will be difficult to be objective about this book. With that said I think everyone should read this book!

The reason I think this book is excellent for anyone is that it is a political economy book that in no way reads like one. The chapters are separated into dialogs between the two authors and is very conversational. Also the book is really short!

The book does an excellent job of simply explaining the last 3 economic regimes and how they were related. Most importantly the book explains how the rise and fall of these economic regimes intertwined themselves with the lives of the general public. And of course it dives deep into why people are so pissed!

The book lost me a bit at the end with solutions to the current socioeconomic problems that plague our societies. I found the solutions to be overly technical and prone to continued manipulation by the elites.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for James Thomas Nugent.
78 reviews1 follower
May 30, 2022
I got the audiobook and I recommend that.

I agreed with their diagnosis about anger and how economic policy directs it but sadly I don't agree with their resolution.

You can't just print money ad infinitum. At some point a debt has to have meaning otherwise the debt is meaningless. If debt is meaningless in a currency, the currency loses value. If it loses value you have inflation. Observe the inflation we are experiencing in the West in 2022.

Also, the idea of a data equity for everyone is problematic. How much equity do each of us get for having our data plundered? The discussion on data was simple at best. I'd recommend the Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff to explore the data question properly.

Overall a good book. I am far more pessimistic than the writers.

I think Mark will open that brown suit shop in Milan.
Profile Image for Quinns Pheh.
418 reviews12 followers
October 15, 2020
There is a trend of benefits not distributed evenly in the contemporary capitalism or even semi-capitalism. As a result, huge swaths of people are financially insecure and face an uncertain future. Dishearteningly, those at the top seem uninterested in addressing the concerns and legitimate outrage. In order to diffuse these anger that feeds dangerous tribalism like racism and nationalism, the author suggests policy-makers and people in power to implement better equipped economic policies, like national wealth funds and regional autonomy. One of the few ways would be to directly transfer wealth into the hands of citizens. This would be more effective in keeping the economy going as it would fixed recessions with direct support for consumption.
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