Posts Tagged ‘Economics in Two Lessons’

Economics for the general reader


Economics professor, John Quiggin, continues with his Economics in Two Lessons text. A draft piece he has made available at the crooked timber blog for comments and critiques, which may lead to a tightening up of the text directed at the general reader. (The privatisation of public enterprises is a timely topic.)

In the current post, Public Services: Excerpt from Economics in Two Lessons, Quiggin provides a link to the draft text to date, and in pdf format.

A slight investment of time should bear rich fruit, and confirm nagging doubts on the honesty of economic analysis so often proffered by the corporate MSM. The internet offers many rewards, and inexpensively – this is but one powerful example.

A journey into useful economics


Prof John Quiggin progresses along with his ‘Economics in Two Lessons’. The intended text, while much more substantive, is still aimed at the general reader. Its title, as is known, is a take-off on that of ‘Economics in One Lesson’ of Henry Hazlitt, which was rather popular in the US.

Quiggin posts his drafts for comment and critique over at the crooked timber blog, then tidies up his draft as he goes along. His current offering is a timely one, Intellectual property: Extract from Economics in Two Lessons (expanded and amended)

This chapter is quite useful to also better appreciate the arguments against the secretly negotiated, corporate-friendly ‘free trade’ agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), under which the role of the state would be subordinate to that of the multinational/transnational corporations (MNCs/TNCs), especially of the US. (In essence, the corporate control will be reside in the US, with the power of its government and military).

Another element of the proposed ‘free trade’ deals, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism would represent another concession to the MNC, where the MNC can sue the state, but not the other way around, and even for potential loss of earnings. Thanks to citizen activism, continuing leaks and information secured through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests in the US have tended to strengthen the arguments against the trade deals.The deterioration in the economic fortunes of the average citizen since the 80s will increase, as those of the MNCs and their sponsors increase.

The draft Intellectual Property (IP) chapter should help shine a brighter light on the reliability, the credibility of media reports and pronouncements of politician advocates for such ‘free trade’ deals.

War, what is it good for?


John Quiggin continues to iterate his draft, ‘Economics in Two Lessons’, intended for the general reader. And he invites and engages comments at Crooked Timber.

Here he examines war and its opportunity cost. There is notion that the US has a near reflex predilection for war – in other countries. Of course, an instinctive observation would be the wealth generated by the merchants of death for a select group. And the fait accompli follows the fact that such a group is sufficiently persuasive over critical decision makers.

The opportunity cost of war (slightly updated) An excerpt,

What is true of natural disasters is even more true of the disasters we inflict on ourselves and others. Of these human-made calamities, the greatest is war. The wars engaged in by the US, Australian and other governments come at the opportunity cost of domestic programs that could save thousands of lives every year. The cost of war, in terms of American (and Australian) lives, is many times greater than battlefield casualty counts would suggest.

As many an example from history shows, the power of reason and facts is seldom victorious over the unbridled power of manipulated emotions and the resulting hysterical jingoism unleashed.

The lay reader reads again – econ in two lessons


John Quiggin at crooked timber posts another excerpt of his Economics in Two Lessons. This one, To help poor people, give them money (Draft excerpt from Economics in Two Lessons).

This offers a pleasant but energetic excursion into the nuts and bolts of book writing, and an opportunity to pick up some strong economics pointers. In addition, the curious adventurer will be well-conditioned for just a tad more intellectual rigour when Quiggin’s book does become available.

Economics for the general reader


John Quiggin has another draft excerpt from his work in progress, Economics in Two Lessons. He invites comments and critiques from his readers, and certainly does receive them.

Economics in Two Lessons (draft excerpt)

One comment on the origin and authorship of the term ‘opportunity cost’ would prompt curiosity; and curiosity, research to find out that Friedrich von Wieser did first use it, as Quiggin states, not in a book, but in an early paper, where he set out the ‘alternative/opportunity cost’ concept. DI Green would come later, in 1894, in the downloadable paper at JSTOR.

Economics in one lesson? Not so fast


Henry Hazlitt had written his ‘Economics in One Lesson’ in 1946. The little book has enjoyed immense popularity, going through many reprints. Its focus on free markets, market economics, ensured its popularity among promoters of the school of thought, ideology. Comes now Prof John Quiggin, who thinks, well, that it is not all that all simple, yet not all that complicated.

Author of ‘Zombie Economics’, he uses the blog, Crooked Timber, to elicit the views of commenters on draft excerpts of his ‘Economics in Two Lessons’. In the process Prof Quiggin also underscores one of the strengths of the blogs. Like Hazlitt’s book, his is aimed at the general reader.

Here he posts another draft excerpt, Draft Preface: Economics in Two Lessons. One of the pleasures, and benefits, of following this process, is that we can gain an insight into the art of communicating, clearly and concisely, to readers of differing levels.