These days everyone’s worried about the economy! The economy is the biggest issue for voters! Won’t somebody puh-leeeeeese think of the economy?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember anyone ever explaining anything about this economy to me in eleven years of compulsory education. Every politician confidently promises to fix it and everyone has an opinion on it, but most of us rely heavily on clued-up commentators to translate market jargon into baby-talk we can nod along to, and believe that it’s all over our heads, it’s in the hands of the academics, the math-grads and (oh dear) the bankers who actually understand those crazy equations.
Knowing about economics is powerful knowledge; those who control wealth benefit from our ignorance. Michael Goodwin has collaborated with illustrator Dan E Burr to create a textbook simple and entertaining enough to explain economics and its chequered history to a teenager. I can’t even articulate how great I think this concept is. Goodwin has totally done his bit towards saving the world here. He makes the absurdities of our economic system look absurd. He exposes its hypocrites and its bare-faced liars, and points out the gaping holes in economic theories that are not just taken seriously but used to justify government and international policies.
A couple of years ago I picked up and read The Wealth of Nations and I seem to have read various other relevant historical and critical texts like
Prosperity without Growth
Thinking Fast and Slow
(which deals harshly with classical economics and critiques stock broking as… worse than pointless). I’ve studied ethics and philosophy of science and read about climate change and its causes. I teach physics. Economix doesn’t have much news for me, but it condenses a giant fuzzily grasped cloud of what I more-or-less knew into a work of blazing clarity, making it communicable and useable for me. It could convey this knowledge to anyone without the hundreds of head-scratching hours of multidisciplinary study I have apparently spent garnering it! And it’s funny. It deserves laurels. It deserves to be read. Preferably by everyone.