Beyond the Invisible Hand: Groundwork for a New Economics

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9780691137162: Beyond the Invisible Hand: Groundwork for a New Economics
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One of the central tenets of mainstream economics is Adam Smith's proposition that, given certain conditions, self-interested behavior by individuals leads them to the social good, almost as if orchestrated by an invisible hand. This deep insight has, over the past two centuries, been taken out of context, contorted, and used as the cornerstone of free-market orthodoxy. In Beyond the Invisible Hand, Kaushik Basu argues that mainstream economics and its conservative popularizers have misrepresented Smith's insight and hampered our understanding of how economies function, why some economies fail and some succeed, and what the nature and role of state intervention might be. Comparing this view of the invisible hand with the vision described by Kafka--in which individuals pursuing their atomistic interests, devoid of moral compunction, end up creating a world that is mean and miserable--Basu argues for collective action and the need to shift our focus from the efficient society to one that is also fair.

Using analytic tools from mainstream economics, the book challenges some of the precepts and propositions of mainstream economics. It maintains that, by ignoring the role of culture and custom, traditional economics promotes the view that the current system is the only viable one, thereby serving the interests of those who do well by this system. Beyond the Invisible Hand challenges readers to fundamentally rethink the assumptions underlying modern economic thought and proves that a more equitable society is both possible and sustainable, and hence worth striving for.

By scrutinizing Adam Smith's theory, this impassioned critique of contemporary mainstream economics debunks traditional beliefs regarding best economic practices, self-interest, and the social good.

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"Deftly, with the carefully chosen anecdote, and the sparing but subtle thought experiment, Kaushik Basu again and again dispels the myth that the invisible hand of free markets leads to the best of all possible worlds--indeed, often far from it. With great wisdom, Beyond the Invisible Hand describes the frequently shocking consequences of the free markets of modern economic theory; it also sets the agenda for where that theory needs to go next."--George A. Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics and coauthor of Animal Spirits and Identity Economics

"In this remarkable tour de force, Kaushik Basu scrutinizes the foundational assumptions of economics and asks new and important questions. In his quest for a better and more equitable society, Basu leaves no room for complacency. This thought-provoking book will generate debate in the economics profession and beyond."--Justin Yifu Lin, chief economist, World Bank

"Beyond the Invisible Hand poses a fundamental challenge to the way that economists think about many of the most important issues of economic theory and policy. Written for both economists and educated laymen, the book lays out a new vision for economics, one that will stimulate the reader to rethink current practice and give deeper consideration to issues often slighted in contemporary economic analysis. While the reader may not always agree with Basu's prescriptions, the importance of his contribution to the debate over the future of economics cannot be ignored."--Steven G. Medema, University of Colorado, Denver

"With standard economic perspectives under question, the need for alternative perspectives is great. Eminently readable and timely, this book is appropriate for general readers and professional economists."--Arjo Klamer, Erasmus University

About the Author:

Kausik Baus is professor of economics and the C. Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University. He is eurrently chief economic advisor to the Ministry of Finance of the Government of India. His books include Prelude to Political Economy: A Study of the Political and Social Foundations of Economics and of People, of Places: Sketches from an Economist's Notebook.

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. One of the central tenets of mainstream economics is Adam Smith s proposition that, given certain conditions, self-interested behavior by individuals leads them to the social good, almost as if orchestrated by an invisible hand. This deep insight has, over the past two centuries, been taken out of context, contorted, and used as the cornerstone of free-market orthodoxy. In Beyond the Invisible Hand, Kaushik Basu argues that mainstream economics and its conservative popularizers have misrepresented Smith s insight and hampered our understanding of how economies function, why some economies fail and some succeed, and what the nature and role of state intervention might be. Comparing this view of the invisible hand with the vision described by Kafka--in which individuals pursuing their atomistic interests, devoid of moral compunction, end up creating a world that is mean and miserable--Basu argues for collective action and the need to shift our focus from the efficient society to one that is also fair. Using analytic tools from mainstream economics, the book challenges some of the precepts and propositions of mainstream economics. It maintains that, by ignoring the role of culture and custom, traditional economics promotes the view that the current system is the only viable one, thereby serving the interests of those who do well by this system. Beyond the Invisible Hand challenges readers to fundamentally rethink the assumptions underlying modern economic thought and proves that a more equitable society is both possible and sustainable, and hence worth striving for. By scrutinizing Adam Smith s theory, this impassioned critique of contemporary mainstream economics debunks traditional beliefs regarding best economic practices, self-interest, and the social good. Seller Inventory # AAH9780691137162

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. One of the central tenets of mainstream economics is Adam Smith s proposition that, given certain conditions, self-interested behavior by individuals leads them to the social good, almost as if orchestrated by an invisible hand. This deep insight has, over the past two centuries, been taken out of context, contorted, and used as the cornerstone of free-market orthodoxy. In Beyond the Invisible Hand, Kaushik Basu argues that mainstream economics and its conservative popularizers have misrepresented Smith s insight and hampered our understanding of how economies function, why some economies fail and some succeed, and what the nature and role of state intervention might be. Comparing this view of the invisible hand with the vision described by Kafka--in which individuals pursuing their atomistic interests, devoid of moral compunction, end up creating a world that is mean and miserable--Basu argues for collective action and the need to shift our focus from the efficient society to one that is also fair. Using analytic tools from mainstream economics, the book challenges some of the precepts and propositions of mainstream economics. It maintains that, by ignoring the role of culture and custom, traditional economics promotes the view that the current system is the only viable one, thereby serving the interests of those who do well by this system. Beyond the Invisible Hand challenges readers to fundamentally rethink the assumptions underlying modern economic thought and proves that a more equitable society is both possible and sustainable, and hence worth striving for. By scrutinizing Adam Smith s theory, this impassioned critique of contemporary mainstream economics debunks traditional beliefs regarding best economic practices, self-interest, and the social good. Seller Inventory # AAH9780691137162

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