L’Imposture Economique Hits #10 in France

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Bravo to Les Edi­tions de l’Atelier, the pub­lish­ers of L’Imposture Economique (the French trans­la­tion of Debunk­ing Eco­nom­ics), who have achieved the seem­ingly impos­si­ble: L’Imposture Economique entered the Top Ten out of all books on Ama­zon France yes­ter­day (Decem­ber 4th 2014). It was the top-sell­ing non-fic­tion book, out­rank­ing even Piketty’s Cap­i­tal (as I write, L’Imposture is #12 in books while Cap­i­tal is #53).

I don’t expect it to last at that rank­ing, but I didn’t expect it to achieve that posi­tion in the first place, so it feels great to see it there. Con­grat­u­la­tions again to Les Edi­tions de l’Atelier, and to Gael Giraud who took the ini­tia­tive in arrang­ing its trans­la­tion into French.

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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.
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  • sadoma

    Con­grat­u­la­tion Mr. Keeen, félic­i­ta­tions pour la France,

    here in Ger­many we wait des­per­ately for the ger­man Edi­tion 😉

  • Bhaskara II

    Con­gradu­la­tions! Well deserved! 

    The French peo­ple might be a lit­tle smarter at think­ing about eco­nom­ics than those in some Eng­lish speak­ing coun­tries. Your book might take off even more!

    I fig­ured Euero­peans who have a months vaca­tion in sum­mer plus more at easter and Christ­mas were a lit­tle sharper in the eco­nom­ics depart­ment. Many North Amer­i­cans have no clue about vaca­tions. I think your Chi­nese edi­tion might be wildly pop­u­lar too.

  • Bhaskara II

    If all goes well maybe you might be able to sell lots of futures cotracts on a text book! ; b

  • xanechu

    Hi mr Keen. i m one of our new French reader and i think that your book deserves such a sucess. It was a real plea­sure to see that my opin­ion about how fool­ish the econ­ics we are told is shared. i think you even miss those argu­ments in your demo­li­tion task (for exam­ple the mys­ti­fi­ca­tion of the unique price of a good)
    It is also very nice to read that a accure the­ory is begin dev­el­loped far away of the micro­econ­ics silli­ness.

  • Thanks Xanechu! I am delighted as you can imag­ine, and for­ever grate­ful to the pub­lish­ing team and espe­cially Gael Girard, who directed the trans­la­tion and whose inter­view pro­pelled it to the sales suc­cess it is now hav­ing. I have great hopes for progress in French eco­nom­ics now, with this being just one of sev­eral strong devel­op­ments in France in sup­port of a more plu­ral­ist approach to the dis­ci­pline.

  • zweig100

    Dear Mr Keen,
    I am a retired French chem­i­cal engi­neer and I am read­ing your book fol­low­ing the debate held at “Journées de l’histoire” in Blois early Octo­ber.

    Read­ing your book is not read­ing a novel, it is chal­leng­ing (I have not yet fin­ished it) but very inter­est­ing and
    May I sug­gest you some ideas to bet­ter illus­trate your views about the con­cept of equi­lib­rium and sta­tic.
    I will refer to ther­mo­dy­namic sci­ence.
    From a ther­mo­dy­namic and kinetic stand­point the con­cept of equi­lib­rium cor­re­spond to a “dead” closed sys­tem. All chem­i­cal reac­tions have been com­pleted and the rate of all reac­tions is nil. The sys­tem has used all of its energy and no change will ever occurs.This will refer to the ther­mo­dy­nam­ics devel­oped by Carnot, Gibbs, Hel­moltz dur­ing the XIX cen­tury

    Life is an opened sys­tem (I think one could described the eco­nomic sys­tem and an opened sys­tem in which money is the equiv­a­lent of energy). The end of the opened sys­tem is only reached when you stop import­ing energy in it.
    A new branch of ther­mo­dy­nam­ics describ­ing sys­tem out of equi­lib­rium was devel­oped by Onsager in the 1930s (for lin­ear behav­iour) and by Pri­gogine in the 1960s (for non lin­ear behav­iour). I donot intend to go into details, because I do not know whether these con­cepts will be use­ful for you (and I will have to work to refresh what I stud­ied in the early 70’s.
    see link below for ref­er­ence
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-equilibrium_thermodynamics

    This intro­duc­tion brings me to the point which looks of great of inter­est for your demon­stra­tion against the “stu­pid­ity” of equi­lib­rium con­cept to rep­re­sent a “liv­ing sys­tem” out of equi­lib­rium.
    I am think­ing of “oscil­lat­ing reac­tions” in which you go from state A to state B with­out reach­ing equi­lib­rium (until all reac­tants have been depleted and the sys­tem is “dead”). These reac­tions can be used to demon­strate what is a “liv­ing sys­tem” con­trary to a clas­si­cal acid-base reac­tion with colour indi­ca­tors in which you pro­gres­sively go from red to blue colour (sun­flower indi­ca­tor) when you neu­tralise acid­ity. When you have added all of your base you have a sys­tem that will not evolve.
    I give you below links to both the­ory of auto­cat­alytic reac­tions and to the belouzov zhabotin­sky reac­tion that you could use in lec­ture to illus­trate the actual econ­omy as a non equi­lib­rium sys­tem.
    In Eng­lish
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autocatalytic_reaction
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belousov%E2%80%93Zhabotinsky_reaction
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JAqrRnKFHo
    You can find more on you tube
    In French
    http://darrigan.perso.univ-pau.fr/media/Belousov-Zhabotinsky.mov
    http://www.di.ens.fr/~granboul/enseignement/formes/reactionsoscillantes/belousov.html

    I hope that I will not have bother you too much and if the con­tent of my mes­sage is of inter­est you will find some­one bet­ter able than me to explain it in full details
    Best regards and go on your use­ful work
    Dominique PITHOUD

  • Thanks Dominique,

    As it hap­pens one of my main research asso­ciates is Bob Ayres, who is one of the pio­neers in intro­duc­ing energy and entropy into eco­nom­ics. Bob now has his own blog: http://ruayres.wordpress.com/.

    I’ll see if I can put those cycli­cal chem­i­cal reac­tion equa­tions into Min­sky.

  • zweig100

    Steve,
    Steve, I hope I will not bother you too much with my com­ments which will cover two points:
    1) the debate held at “Journées de l’histoire” in Blois
    2) Ther­mo­dy­nam­ics and chaos the­ory

    1) I come back to you with some pro­pos­als to bet­ter illus­trate the role of money. Com­ing back to Mr Jean Marc Daniel’s com­ments at Blois where he assim­i­lated the the­ory of per­fect gases (PV=nRT) to the clas­si­cal econ­omy and tell that the per­fect gas the­ory is good enough to describe the actual behav­iour of gases (wan der waals equa­tion) and explain the the­ory of engine. The same applies to clas­si­cal ecom­nomy with respect to the actual econ­omy.
    In my view he com­pletely mis­un­der­stood how engine works. The move cre­ated by an engine is not related to that the behav­iour of gases, but the com­bus­tion of fuels and the energy gen­er­ated dur­ing the com­bus­tion process. So ther­mo­dy­namic and per­fect gaes the­ory is the expla­na­tion for engine mov­ing.

    In clas­si­cal econ­omy: money can be con­sid­ered as a lubri­cant. Its role is to form a film to reduce fric­tion and avoid seizure between mov­ing metal­lic parts. As soon as you have a con­tin­u­ous film sep­a­rat­ing the mated sur­faces, increas­ing the amount of lubri­cant is use­less, it will even increase energy losses by splash­ing
    In actual econ­omy, money is not a lubri­cant, but the fuel. The fuel when burn­ing gen­er­ated energy (through increased tem­per­a­ture and gases volumes).The expan­sion of gases will allow to gen­er­ate mechan­i­cal energy. Then vol­ume of exhausted gases after com­bus­tion exceeds the gas vol­ume enter­ing the engine. The more fuel you burn, the more energy you get.

    2) I went to a lec­ture on can­cer and chaos. I have dis­cov­ered the chaos the­ory and as a result of my inter­est I read John Grib­bin book (no math­e­mat­ics only “lit­ter­a­ture”), first pub­lished in 2004 under the title “deep sim­plic­ity. chaos, com­plex­ity and the emer­gence of life”. You might have read it. In case you have not, I would like to men­tion a few points cov­ered in the book.
    Chap­ter 4 : on the verge (close to) chaos
    This chap­ter deals with the ther­mo­dy­namic of non-equi­li­bium, build-up of struc­ture. The belousov-zhabotin­sky reac­tion is given as an exam­ple of oscil­lat­ing reac­tion. It is men­tioned the the­ory of chaos ( attracteur etrange in french — strange attrac­tor??) can be used to describe the path of evo­lu­tion of the reac­tion (Work done at The Austin Uni­ver­sity (texas) by a team of which Harry Swin­ney was a mem­ber.)
    Chap­ter 5 : Eart quake, extinc­tion end
    There are 3 pages deal­ing with econ­omy (work of Brian Arthur men­tioned). The econ­omy is con­sid­ered as a sys­tem close to chaos.

    I hope this infor­ma­tion will proved use­ful for your work.
    best regards
    Dominique PITHOUD