DoctorM's Reviews > ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism

ECONned by Yves Smith
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Dec 21, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: economics, politics

"ECONned" is a strangely-assembled book--- a kind of mulligatawney stew of essays put together into a single volume. Yves Smith's editors need to be soundly thwacked over this. It's not that the book is bad, or that it's poorly written. It's just that the pieces of the book don't really quite fit.

Her first section is a sharp critique of economic modelling and neoclassical economics as a theory...plus a critique of economics as a profession (she doesn't think it is...or maybe can ever be...a science). Jos. Stiglitz covered a bit of the same ground in "Freefall", and a great many of Smith's points are worth considering. The theoretical chapters, though, really do need to be hived off and expanded into a separate book. The critique of economics as a discipline doesn't fit altogether well with her discussion later in the book of the finance industry in the US over the last 30 years, and deserves space on its own.

Smith's discussion of What Went Wrong in the Year Eight is excellent, and manages to hew closely to an analysis of events that may not be as Savonarola-like as Matt Taibbi, but offers up clear and crisp description of how and why the Meltdown occurred. Again, though--- she tries to do too much. A history of the finance industry and a history of 2007-09 sit next to one another, but the book lacks the space to properly flesh out each story.

I liked this book--- but I'd have liked it more as three separate books.
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Reading Progress

December 21, 2010 – Shelved
January 19, 2011 – Started Reading
January 19, 2011 – Shelved as: economics
January 19, 2011 – Shelved as: politics
January 20, 2011 –
page 59
16.3%
January 21, 2011 –
page 98
27.07%
January 22, 2011 –
page 178
49.17%
January 24, 2011 –
page 218
60.22%
January 27, 2011 – Finished Reading

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