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Economix

done is better than perfect. 为了完成记录读这本书这件事,我就把昨天刚看完后发在Goodreads的评论贴一下,然后自我欣赏一下看看有没有想补充的。。。

This book does the job of explaining the history of economics and economic ideas very effectively in comics form. People may be alarmed at how opinionated the book is, and they are right at being alarmed when opinions are served along with facts. I suppose it’s not possible to explain economics without appearing opinionated, and I wish most books exposed their opinion more clearly! At the very least, an opinionated book invites you to agree or disagree with it, instead of nodding along.

I summarize the book’s ideas as the following – the market’s ability to optimize resources to benefit the whole society only works when its cost to the whole society is included in the working, not just cost in capital, which, among other things, includes cost to the environment, cost to social welfare, and the distribution of the cost. A traditional economics textbook labels those costs as externalities and depends on the government to excert them. In reality, the government is hijacked by big coorporations, who endorse ‘small government’ while wielding government power for their own benefit. There doesn’t seem to be a mechanism in the U. S. system to ensure other costs to be visible, if you don’t count the populace being educated and pressuring the government and the coorporations, which is what the book is aiming to do.

Now that a few years has passed since this book’s publication. I may add that the failing of the U.S. – flagship of the capitalist world, has give rise to authoritarianism of the socialist world, namely China’s Communist Party. You see? Promoting government regulations on big coorporations does not mean being in the ‘socialist’ camp. In fact, making capitalism work is the best deterrence against Communist China. There’s a lot of talk about China’s ‘State Capitalism’. The problem is, U.S. government, going hand-in-hand with big coorporations, is ‘State Capitalism’ all but in name, however the US cannot do it as effectively as China does because they cannot go full fledged in this path. I assure you planned economy does not work. If Captialism means optimizing resources by competition, then the term ‘State Capitalism’ is self-contradictory. The US and the world need to make market economy work by promoting real competetion instead of backing big coorporations.

I am very opinionated as well. I may be wrong, one day I may be ashamed of what I said today, but honest opinion is the first step to anything.

我不知道如果这本书的观点我不同意,我会不会同样喜欢。给自己的challenge:发现一本能喜欢的不同意其观点的书。不过至少,在Goodreads上看到一个三星的评论里的批评我是比较同意的:

While I can see how the dysfunctional nature of the stock market can give rise to that view – I’m sure the author realises the benefits of the stock market to society at large (pensions are one obvious example), but he doesn’t give them much attention for such an important area of the world-economy and its current problems, it’s quite likely that some will come away from the book asking why we have one at all. This is significant because in order to properly reform the market it needs to be understood why it works, not just how its been abused. Overall though worth a read even for those already familiar with the territory.

我又一次发现,我特别喜欢不掩饰观点的书和文章。可能我是个情感驱动的人,没有观点的文章我是看不进的。这本书最后列了一堆推荐的书,我连那些推荐语也看得津津有味,因为那些推荐语都写得很personal。

One Comment

  1. […] 今年有点特别的一点是,我居然和几个比较关注的不同程度的名人有一点点互动。一个是听了Tunnel 29这个节目后,发了一条推。几天后被主创和主持人Helena Merriman转了一下。另一次是前一阵转播了Davos’ Finger的星战电影排序,自己排了个序。居然得到了他们的点赞。我本以为我这样批评TLJ的不太会受欢迎。那么我要加把劲继续重读冰火以跟上他们的节目。年底读完Economix之后,在goodreads上发了review,同步到了推。同时我又fo了作者。结果我的review推被作者点赞了,这个感觉超棒,说明我读懂理解作者的意思了。 […]

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