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fundevogel's avatar

Do you know any really good books on economics?

Asked by fundevogel (15461points) August 21st, 2012

I’ve been needing to better educate myself on economics for a while, but there are so many books out there I’m not sure what to check out.

Here are the sort of topics I’m interested in:

—the rise of capitalism
—capitalism as a global system
—corporations and their influence
—how economics is driven by human society and how it in turn effects human society
—the industrial revolution and it’s relation to economic change
—Keynesian economics
—the East India Trading Company
—economic theory/philosophy/ethics

I’m really just interested in developing my understanding of the current economic system, how it came to be, to what extent it is or isn’t successful and what other systems or alterations are being proposed to promote a more fruitful and ethical economic climate. So don’t feel like you can’t recommend a book just because it’s about the triangle trade instead of tea. If it’s good tell me.

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10 Answers

Tachys's avatar

Try Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom.

jrpowell's avatar

Principle of Economics is a pretty standard textbook. I had to read it. It is easy to read and will give you a solid base.

After that you should be equipped to read The Wealth of Nations.

Coloma's avatar

I can see that all you guys are so very, very, EXCITING!!!! lol
Oooh baby, lets talk economics, that really turns me on. ;-D
Maybe you can all advise me on how to most efficiently run my retirement brothal. hahaha

CWOTUS's avatar

Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson is not only a classic (first printed in the 1940s and reprinted many times since) which is easy to understand, but it’s available free online at that link.

ragingloli's avatar

Das Kapital.

DaphneT's avatar

Oddly enough, I found a work of fiction to give the best synopsis of how our current economic environment came to be. Now remember, I came to that conclusion because I’ve been through the college classes on economics, business and organization theory. I’ve also loved the history courses and would love to get my hands on the text used for my college history 101 class. I’ve also studied systems analysis and have a large exposure to medical practitioners as family members. So what I’m saying is I have a varied background of information to draw on and I thought this author did a grand treatise on the system of the world as we know it and how it came to be. From trying to make gold from mercury to finding gold to banking gold. His exploration of the legacy of the Enigma Machine in a different novel and the potential of internet gaming in yet another novel shows more facets of today’s economic climate and the motivations that are driving it.

I suggest this author because much of what he draws on can be researched and verified, and he gives the systems perspective a personal tweak that makes it more interesting to learn the information. Questions that are something like, “really, how is that possible?” to “is that true?” spur one to search the topics on the internet just to see what hits.

I’ve found that many works of historical fiction give interest to otherwise dry subjects.

fundevogel's avatar

Thanks for the suggestions guys. I’ve saved them all and actually started the Hazlitt (way to make it easy for me @CWOTUS). And of course, if you think of anything else don’t hesitate to add it :)

Shippy's avatar

“The Richest Man in Babylon”

Thulenord's avatar

Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class for an off the wall look at economics. Fred. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, will cure you of Keynesian nonsense, as will Hazlitt, above. Anything by Tom Sowell or Walter Williams. All the above are well written, engaging, and poke fun at the received wisdom. Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac is good old American horse sense.

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