New Principles of Economics Textbook

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Pro­fes­sor John Kom­los has just released a new text­book on eco­nom­ics which breaks away from the mold of pro­duc­ing clones of Samuel­son’s genre-defin­ing opus. Its title is “What Every Eco­nom­ics Stu­dent Needs to Know and Does­n’t Get in the Usu­al Prin­ci­ples Text”. At a price of $26.55 via Ama­zon, it is priced to be an afford­able sup­ple­ment to a stan­dard text­book. Giv­en the fail­ings of the dis­ci­pline that were so vivid­ly high­light­ed by the glob­al finan­cial cri­sis, this book is well worth con­sid­er­ing as an alter­na­tive to the Neo­clas­si­cal mono­cul­ture that dom­i­nates eco­nom­ic tuition today.

The fol­low­ing blurb is lift­ed from John’s web­site:

About the book

The recent finan­cial cri­sis illus­trat­ed vivid­ly the flaws of weak­ly reg­u­lat­ed mar­kets, yet text­books remain unchanged, fail­ing to con­vey the sys­tem­at­ic lim­i­ta­tions of free mar­kets. This book redress­es this imbal­ance in the tra­di­tion of G. Akerlof, R. East­er­lin, J.K. Gal­braith, H. Min­sky, D. Kah­ne­man, J.M. Keynes, P. Krug­man, A. Sen, R. Shiller, H. Simon, J. Stiglitz, Th. Veblen, and the Insti­tute of New Eco­nom­ic Think­ing.

It does so by explor­ing impor­tant top­ics that are gen­er­al­ly over­looked in intro­duc­to­ry eco­nom­ics cours­es and by jux­ta­pos­ing black­board mod­els of the econ­o­my with real-world empir­i­cal obser­va­tions. Kom­los argues con­vinc­ing­ly that it is mis­lead­ing to focus on mod­els of per­fect com­pe­ti­tion in a world where such mar­kets have become an insignif­i­cant share of eco­nom­ic activ­i­ty. Rather, even begin­ning stu­dents ought to be intro­duced to the work­ings of oli­gop­o­lis­tic mar­ket struc­tures with imper­fect infor­ma­tion and endem­ic under­em­ploy­ment. In such cas­es mar­kets are no longer effi­cient and there is plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ties to enhance the qual­i­ty of life of its par­tic­i­pants. Kom­los pro­pos­es a human cen­tered eco­nom­ics that attains full employ­ment and an equi­table dis­tri­b­u­tion of income striv­ing above all toward a just econ­o­my.

Con­cepts cov­ered in the book include often neglect­ed top­ics such as:

  1. Behav­ioral eco­nom­ics
  2. Cog­ni­tive bias­es
  3. Reg­u­la­to­ry cap­ture
  4. Bound­ed ratio­nal­i­ty
  5. Dot-Com Bub­ble
  6. Sub-prime mort­gage cri­sis
  7. the Great Reces­sion
  8. Cor­po­rate com­pen­sa­tion
  9. Basic needs
  10. Income inequal­i­ty
  11. Oppor­tunis­tic behav­ior
  12. Moral haz­ard
  13. Prin­ci­pal-Agent prob­lem
  14. Asym­met­ric infor­ma­tion
  15. Finan­cial melt­down of 2008
  16. Cap­i­tal­ism with a human face
  17. Preda­to­ry lend­ing
  18. Rel­a­tive income
  19. Sig­nal­ing
  20. Coun­ter­vail­ing pow­er
  21. Hap­pi­ness eco­nom­ics
  22. Bailouts
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About Steve Keen

I am Professor of Economics and Head of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University London, and a long time critic of conventional economic thought. As well as attacking mainstream thought in Debunking Economics, I am also developing an alternative dynamic approach to economic modelling. The key issue I am tackling here is the prospect for a debt-deflation on the back of the enormous private debts accumulated globally, and our very low rate of inflation.