Free Lunch Thinking: 8 Economic Myths and Why Politicians Fall for Them (Hardback)Tom Bergin (author)
Economic theories and models shape our everyday lives. They are relied on by politicians when tax rises or cuts are being considered. They inform debates about everything from bonuses for CEOs to minimum wage rates to the level of job protection enshrined in law. They determine what levels of tobacco or petrol duty are charged, and influence government approaches to issues as diverse as obesity and climate change.
The question is: are policy makers right to be so slavishly reliant on them? Tom Bergin is sceptical, and in Free Lunch Thinking he subjects eight of the most prevalent economic mantras to close scrutiny, assessing how they play out in practice. Again and again, he shows how individuals, companies and markets fail to respond to policy changes as theory predicts. He exposes the missed opportunities and wasted resources that result. And by tracing the development of key economic tenets, he demonstrates how their champions' tendency to believe in phenomena for which they have little hard evidence leaves accepted economic wisdom frequently being more about faith than facts.
His book both exposes and challenges lazy thinking. It also sets out a path for more considered future.
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 605 g
Dimensions: 242 x 160 x 34 mm
An essential read if you want to know how economics has erred - and how it can do better. - Gabriel Zucman, author of 'The Hidden Wealth of Nations'
I couldn't put it down. A thorough and nuanced examination of the evolution of supply side economics and the debates we had around how to put the theory into practice. I loved it. - Arthur Laffer, creator of the Laffer Curve
A brilliant tour de force exposing the limitations of economic theories. Bergin punctures many accepted myths and - with care and rigour - demonstrates how much accepted economic orthodoxy is based on ideology and not reality. A very readable and well-researched book that we all should read. - Margaret Hodge, former chair of the UK parliament’s Public Accounts Committee
An entertaining and thought-provoking exploration of economic theories that have been both widely accepted and largely wrong . . . I devoured it in a couple of sittings. - Reuters Breakingviews
Fantastically provocative book . . . a really great read. - David McWilliams, economist and author
Wonderful book . . . A very lively read. - Matthew Taylor, chief executive of RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce)
A fine book . . . The quality of public policy should be all the better for it. - Wealth Briefing
Superb . . . Bergin brings his sharp eye and insights to in this elegant narrative. - Daily Maverick, South Africa
He has written a thoughtful, fairminded, and intellectually honest critique of free-market economics, which raises some interesting challenges for free-marketeers. He combines that with an insightful account of the recent history of economic thought. If you are looking for a book which challenges you without being annoying - make it this one. - Institute of Economic Affairs
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