"Tim Harford's The Undercover Economist has just been published. It is not a principles of economics text, but it is perhaps the best book currently available in its genre. In my opinion there is more economic intuition behind this book than Freakonomics -- a judgment which might shock some readers. But the persistent and consistent applications of opportunity cost reasoning and explaining how order emerges out of the behavior of individuals even though it is not anyone's intention to promote the overall order is revealed throughout The Undercover Economists in a vareity of illustrative stories from throughout the developed and developing world. We get stories of wonderful unintended desirable consequences within some regimes, and the horror of unintended undesirable conseuqences in others. Harford's work is one which champions 'looking out the window' and making sense of what is seen through the economic way of thinking. In many ways this is what it is all about, and once you 'get it' it is wonderfully addictive and transformative. Economics is the mind-quake everyone needs to make sense of the world around us, and on the basis of that understanding arrange our political, legal social and economic affairs so we can simultaneously achieve liberty, peace and prosperity."
Thursday, November 03, 2005