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.
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.