Cogs and Monsters: What Economics Is, and What It Should Be (Hardback)
  • Cogs and Monsters: What Economics Is, and What It Should Be (Hardback)

Cogs and Monsters: What Economics Is, and What It Should Be (Hardback)

Hardback 272 Pages
Published: 12/10/2021
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How economics needs to change to keep pace with the twenty-first century and the digital economy

Digital technology, big data, big tech, machine learning, and AI are revolutionizing both the tools of economics and the phenomena it seeks to measure, understand, and shape. In Cogs and Monsters, Diane Coyle explores the enormous problems—but also opportunities—facing economics today and examines what it must do to help policymakers solve the world’s crises, from pandemic recovery and inequality to slow growth and the climate emergency.

Mainstream economics, Coyle says, still assumes people are “cogs”—self-interested, calculating, independent agents interacting in defined contexts. But the digital economy is much more characterized by “monsters”—untethered, snowballing, and socially influenced unknowns. What is worse, by treating people as cogs, economics is creating its own monsters, leaving itself without the tools to understand the new problems it faces. In response, Coyle asks whether economic individualism is still valid in the digital economy, whether we need to measure growth and progress in new ways, and whether economics can ever be objective, since it influences what it analyzes. Just as important, the discipline needs to correct its striking lack of diversity and inclusion if it is to be able to offer new solutions to new problems.

Filled with original insights, Cogs and Monsters offers a road map for how economics can adapt to the rewiring of society, including by digital technologies, and realize its potential to play a hugely positive role in the twenty-first century.

Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691210599
Number of pages: 272
Dimensions: 216 x 140 mm


"Financial Times Best Economics Book of the Year 2021"

"A CapX Book of the Year"

"Winner of the Gold Medal in Business Commentary, Axiom Business Book Awards"

"Eloquent. . . . Thought-provoking."---Felix Martin, Financial Times ​​​​​​​

"Coyle’s contribution is valuable. The book reads like a timely intervention delivered by a perceptive friend, in the kindest tone they can muster. Economists would do well to listen."---James Plunkett, Prospect

"[Coyle] is extremely wise, and the best friend economics could have—one willing to offer some serious tough love."---Tim Harford,

"Full of illuminating anecdotes about the gap between theory and practice."---Simon Torracinta, Boston Review

"An inspiring read for those developing, using or seeking to understand economics in a rapidly changing world."---Dr Anna Valero, London School of Economics Blog

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