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Stimulus plans: good or bad? Free markets: How free are they? Jobs: Can we afford them? Occupy Wall Street . . . worldwide Everybody's talking about the economy, but how can we, the people, understand what Wall Street or Washington knows--or say they know? Read "Economix." With clear, witty writing and quirky, accessible art, this important and timely graphic novel transform Stimulus plans: good or bad? Free markets: How free are they? Jobs: Can we afford them? Occupy Wall Street . . . worldwide Everybody's talking about the economy, but how can we, the people, understand what Wall Street or Washington knows--or say they know? Read "Economix." With clear, witty writing and quirky, accessible art, this important and timely graphic novel transforms "the dismal science" of economics into a fun, fact-filled story about human nature and our attempts to make the most of what we've got . . . and sometimes what our neighbors have got. "Economix "explains it all, from the beginning of Western economic thought, to markets free and otherwise, to economic failures, successes, limitations, and future possibilities. It's the essential, accessible guide to understanding the economy and economic practices. A must-read for every citizen and every voter.PRAISE FOR "ECONOMIX " "It's simply phenomenal. You could read ten books on the subject and not glean as much information."-- David Bach founder of FinishRich Media; author of nine "New York Times" bestsellers, including "Debt Free for Life" and "The Automatic Millionaire" "Goodwin has done the seemingly impossible--he has made economics comprehensible "and" funny."-- Joel Bakan, author of "The Corporation" "The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power" "An amazing lesson in true-world economics Delightfully presented, powerful, insightful, and important information What a fun way to fathom a deep and often dark subject "-- John Perkins, author of "Hoodwinked" and the "New York Times" bestseller "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" "Smart, insightful, clear, and as close to the truth as economics can get. The bonus: Who would have guessed that economics could be fun, and--here's the joy--really accessible? Goodwin roots us in history and fills us with common sense understanding. As he puts it early on, economics seems horribly complicated mostly because we're looking at it all at once. Broken down into its component pieces, it's relatively easy to understand. And a good understanding of economics is critical to maneuvering in the world today. If I were compiling a list of the 100 most important books you can read in a lifetime, this would be on it."--Stephen Petranek, editor-in-chief, Weider History magazines, former editor-in-chief of "Discover" magazine "Through a potent mix of comics and punchy, concise, accessible prose, Goodwin takes us on a provocative, exhaustively researched, and exceedingly engaging trip through our history and present day, creating an alternately hilarious and scary picture of where we are today as an economy-- and what it all means. More than that, Goodwin makes the arcane, understandable. If your mind either spins or slumbers at the thought of economics, read Goodwin's "Economix" and all will become clear. --Nomi Prins, author of "It Takes a Pillage: An Epic Tale of Power, Deceit, and Untold Trillions" ""Economix" is a lively, cheerfully opinionated romp through the historical and intellectual foundations of our current economy and our current economic problems. Goodwin has a knack for distilling complex ideas and events in ways that invite the reader to follow the big picture without losing track of what actually happened. Any reader wondering how our economy got to where it is today will find this a refreshing overview."--Timothy W. Guinnane, Philip Golden Bartlett Professor of Economic History, Yale University


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Stimulus plans: good or bad? Free markets: How free are they? Jobs: Can we afford them? Occupy Wall Street . . . worldwide Everybody's talking about the economy, but how can we, the people, understand what Wall Street or Washington knows--or say they know? Read "Economix." With clear, witty writing and quirky, accessible art, this important and timely graphic novel transform Stimulus plans: good or bad? Free markets: How free are they? Jobs: Can we afford them? Occupy Wall Street . . . worldwide Everybody's talking about the economy, but how can we, the people, understand what Wall Street or Washington knows--or say they know? Read "Economix." With clear, witty writing and quirky, accessible art, this important and timely graphic novel transforms "the dismal science" of economics into a fun, fact-filled story about human nature and our attempts to make the most of what we've got . . . and sometimes what our neighbors have got. "Economix "explains it all, from the beginning of Western economic thought, to markets free and otherwise, to economic failures, successes, limitations, and future possibilities. It's the essential, accessible guide to understanding the economy and economic practices. A must-read for every citizen and every voter.PRAISE FOR "ECONOMIX " "It's simply phenomenal. You could read ten books on the subject and not glean as much information."-- David Bach founder of FinishRich Media; author of nine "New York Times" bestsellers, including "Debt Free for Life" and "The Automatic Millionaire" "Goodwin has done the seemingly impossible--he has made economics comprehensible "and" funny."-- Joel Bakan, author of "The Corporation" "The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power" "An amazing lesson in true-world economics Delightfully presented, powerful, insightful, and important information What a fun way to fathom a deep and often dark subject "-- John Perkins, author of "Hoodwinked" and the "New York Times" bestseller "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" "Smart, insightful, clear, and as close to the truth as economics can get. The bonus: Who would have guessed that economics could be fun, and--here's the joy--really accessible? Goodwin roots us in history and fills us with common sense understanding. As he puts it early on, economics seems horribly complicated mostly because we're looking at it all at once. Broken down into its component pieces, it's relatively easy to understand. And a good understanding of economics is critical to maneuvering in the world today. If I were compiling a list of the 100 most important books you can read in a lifetime, this would be on it."--Stephen Petranek, editor-in-chief, Weider History magazines, former editor-in-chief of "Discover" magazine "Through a potent mix of comics and punchy, concise, accessible prose, Goodwin takes us on a provocative, exhaustively researched, and exceedingly engaging trip through our history and present day, creating an alternately hilarious and scary picture of where we are today as an economy-- and what it all means. More than that, Goodwin makes the arcane, understandable. If your mind either spins or slumbers at the thought of economics, read Goodwin's "Economix" and all will become clear. --Nomi Prins, author of "It Takes a Pillage: An Epic Tale of Power, Deceit, and Untold Trillions" ""Economix" is a lively, cheerfully opinionated romp through the historical and intellectual foundations of our current economy and our current economic problems. Goodwin has a knack for distilling complex ideas and events in ways that invite the reader to follow the big picture without losing track of what actually happened. Any reader wondering how our economy got to where it is today will find this a refreshing overview."--Timothy W. Guinnane, Philip Golden Bartlett Professor of Economic History, Yale University

30 review for Economix: How and Why Our Economy Works (and Doesn't Work), in Words and Pictures

  1. 5 out of 5

    Zanna

    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 th 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 and 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.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Steve Klabnik

    A few friends recommended Economix to me, so I picked it up the other day. I was expecting not to like it, but I needed to mix some light reading into my schedule, and blew through Economix in a few hours. I really enjoyed it overall, but like any book, it's not without it's problems. ### Marx The first thing that I do when I read any layman's book about economics is to check the index for the words "Karl Marx." It's sort of a filter; if they don't strawman Marx, then it's probably pretty good. If they A few friends recommended Economix to me, so I picked it up the other day. I was expecting not to like it, but I needed to mix some light reading into my schedule, and blew through Economix in a few hours. I really enjoyed it overall, but like any book, it's not without it's problems. ### Marx The first thing that I do when I read any layman's book about economics is to check the index for the words "Karl Marx." It's sort of a filter; if they don't strawman Marx, then it's probably pretty good. If they do, then they probably suck. Note that I said 'strawman,' disagreement is fine, I myself disagree with Marx on many things. But it's a pretty good way to see if someone knows what they're talking about. So I'll start there. Good 'ol Karl is mentioned just a few times in this book, and it's actually pretty decent. It starts off with a description of the *Manifesto*, class struggle, and some other bits of Marxist theory. However, we run into the first weird little thing on the bottom of page 55: > But the workers didn't unite, and most of the 1848 revolutions failed. Marx > fled to England with a mission: "I'll prove the revolution is coming! See if > I don't!" It's my current understanding that Marx didn't write *Capital* to prove anything about the revolution; he wrote it to gain a scientific understanding of capitalism and how it functions. However, after thinking about it, I'm not actually sure I know enough bibliographical information about Marx to truly say this. My gut also says bullshit on sentences like this because of the rhetorical function that they play in the story, which is to equivocate Marxists and Austrians, which is just flat-out wrong. More on that later. The next time we pick up with Marx, he's finished *Capital*, so Goodwin explains its basic tenets. He does a pretty admirable job, but a few caveats apply. > Marx kept Ricardo's labor theory of value, but did ask: "If everything sells > for its labor cost, where does **profit** come from? This is hand-wavy, but hand-wavy in an important way: Marx did _not_ keep Ricardo's labor theory of value. The subtitlte of *Capital* is 'Kritik der politischen Ökonomie', or 'a critique of political economy.' Goodwin does a good job of mentioning that Marx was trying to critique classical political economy (which contains Ricardo), but then mis-handles that as well. We'll get to that, but Marx's labor theory of value contains significant and important differences from Adam Smith and Ricardo's theories. > but profit comes from squeezing workers. This is not really true. Marx made it very clear that exchange is based in equivalence, nobody is 'cheating' the laws of exchange. Surplus value (which Goodwin mentions appropriately) is formed from the differences between labor-power and other commodities: labor-power is the only commodity which can create value. This isn't the page on Capital, and this book is supposed to be an overview, but it's still a significant distortion of Marx's theories. Other than this, his description of *Capital* is pretty good, and frankly, way better than I expected when I bought this book. Okay, next up, 'Neoclassical economics': > But soon after *Capital* came out, economists started moving away from > Ricardo's labor theory of value. And for good reasons! Ricardo's theory of value wasn't developed enough, for sure. But Marx, as I mentioned above, was also moving away from it. Ricardo's irrelevance does not make Marx irrelevant. This is why the comment above about the differences between their labor theories matters. The book has an image here of Marx chasing after Marshall, Walras, and Jevons, but in reality, they should all be walking away from Ricardo. This lack of understanding is also played out in the further description of Ricardo; also, lol at taking the Malthusian growth model seriously at all. Anyway, I have a few other things to say, but yes. In general, I think Economix's handling of Marx is better than I expected, and I also don't think it's fair to expect rigour in a book like this. But these kinds of things are why, at the end, the author suggests that you go read things on your own, and read things for yourself. Broad overviews are just that. ### Conflation of Neoliberals and Marxists On page 241, he has a panel that says, > Heck, it could be hard to say which was which. This kind of thing really rubs me the wrong way, because they're basically opposite, not equivalent. Yes, both use anti-state rhetoric, but anarchists and communists care primarily about the health of the working class, and will support 'growing the state' through social programs and taxation until the collapse of capitalism. Austrians and neoliberals simply care about non-interference by government, and have no concern for anyone but themselves. See: Objectivisim. Even if their policies hurt people, they don't care, due to the rhetoric around bootstraps, job creators, and lazy welfare recipients. ### Mischaracterization of the anti-globalization movement Page 245: > We're not against globalization, we're against the **way** that it's > happening. The vast majority of those involved in the anti-globalization movement were ardent anti-capitalists, and were straight-up against globalization. Maybe there were a few liberals mixed in there that said things like this, but invoking the black bloc and implying that they are ultimately cool with globalization is really wrong. ### What I liked Other than that, I really, really enjoyed this book. It presents an overall scepticism that I really enjoyed, a focus on pragmatics over theories, and gives an overview of economics that is in line with most of my understanding of the field and its various players. Details are a bit out of line, but the big pieces are all great. It was easy to read, fun to read, and has a pretty great list of books in the back to follow-up on. I will certainly give a recommendation of this book to anyone who wants to get their feet wet in the wide world of economics.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mr. Steve

    This book had a really interesting concept - using a graphic novel format to simplify the economy (this is an adult book). I learned a little bit and enjoyed the first half. However, a caveat: in the second part of the book, the author warns that he's going to get political and that is when this book went downhill, and fast. At least he gave a warning. In full disclosure, I am a fiscal conservative so the author's blatant liberalism would be something I wouldn't agree with anyway. However, he is This book had a really interesting concept - using a graphic novel format to simplify the economy (this is an adult book). I learned a little bit and enjoyed the first half. However, a caveat: in the second part of the book, the author warns that he's going to get political and that is when this book went downhill, and fast. At least he gave a warning. In full disclosure, I am a fiscal conservative so the author's blatant liberalism would be something I wouldn't agree with anyway. However, he is so unwilling to give any modern conservative a modicum of credit for any economic successes that I found it quite distracting. Even in his eyes, some conservative somewhere must have gotten SOMETHING right. It was very disappointing. I realize I don't know everything about the economy and am open to the possibility that I might be wrong about some things I think I know about it. I was hoping to read a book that took the economy from an independent standpoint; sadly, this wasn't it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ananya Ghosh

    To quote Joel Bakan ( author of The Corporation), "don't be surprised if it turns out to be the first comic book to win its author the Nobel Prize in Economics" . I can't agree more. And boy, who knew dismal science can be so fun to read?! To quote Joel Bakan ( author of The Corporation), "don't be surprised if it turns out to be the first comic book to win its author the Nobel Prize in Economics" . I can't agree more. And boy, who knew dismal science can be so fun to read?!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Good introduction to basic economics and its history (primarily via the U.S. experience). The author's own political sensibilities are somewhat hamfistedly delivered as he approaches the present day, and there is a shade too much hero worship of Adam Smith and the Roosevelt clan, and he also tends to veer into Greenpeace territory more than an introduction to economics should. I actually agree with most of his viewpoint, but the polemic seems out of place and poorly handled. The book would've be Good introduction to basic economics and its history (primarily via the U.S. experience). The author's own political sensibilities are somewhat hamfistedly delivered as he approaches the present day, and there is a shade too much hero worship of Adam Smith and the Roosevelt clan, and he also tends to veer into Greenpeace territory more than an introduction to economics should. I actually agree with most of his viewpoint, but the polemic seems out of place and poorly handled. The book would've benefited from a more balanced view of the stock market, as it tends to depict investors as either rich, idiots or both, and the system itself as basically a big business conspiracy (not to say that all three don't apply). While I can see how the dysfunctional nature of the stock market can give rise to that view - I'm sure the author realises the benefits of the stock market to society at large (pensions are one obvious example), but he doesn't give them much attention for such an important area of the world-economy and its current problems, it's quite likely that some will come away from the book asking why we have one at all. This is significant because in order to properly reform the market it needs to be understood why it works, not just how its been abused. Overall though worth a read even for those already familiar with the territory.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mattia Ravasi

    Great stuff! Absolutely enthralling! All I have to do now is wait for someone to make a version of this using hand puppets and colored balloons and then, perhaps, I'll understand economics. Great stuff! Absolutely enthralling! All I have to do now is wait for someone to make a version of this using hand puppets and colored balloons and then, perhaps, I'll understand economics.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Alexander

    Economix is a fun hybrid: an introduction to economics and modern economic history as a graphic novel. It is engaging throughout. Goodwin and Burr were clearly inspired by Larry Gonick's groundbreaking Cartoon History of the Universe, and say so in the afterward. As with that predecessor, Economix uses plenty of graphic novel technique to explain sometimes tricky concepts: repeated cartoon characters (historical figures, personified forces), visual gags, well chosen visualizations, a narrator cha Economix is a fun hybrid: an introduction to economics and modern economic history as a graphic novel. It is engaging throughout. Goodwin and Burr were clearly inspired by Larry Gonick's groundbreaking Cartoon History of the Universe, and say so in the afterward. As with that predecessor, Economix uses plenty of graphic novel technique to explain sometimes tricky concepts: repeated cartoon characters (historical figures, personified forces), visual gags, well chosen visualizations, a narrator character, etc. There's a similar mix of humor, empathy, and passion for the subject. For the same reasons it also reminds me of Scott McCloud's superb Understanding Comics. Visually, it's quite compelling. Page layouts make sense, and panels are very clear. Tables and charts - the lifeblood of economic presentation - are not overwhelming, and are actually well chosen. Burr conveys emotion very forcefully, something that really helps make economic theory more engaging. Structurally, Economix is largely a history of modern times. It begins in the 18th century with an introduction to Adam Smith, then races into the industrial revolution, before closely settling into the past 100 years. The focus is clearly the United States, with Goodwin and Burr taking gradually fewer trips abroad as the book progresses. (I appreciate the historical emphasis, as it matches my conviction that much of the discipline of economics is really a branch of history.) Throughout the writer and illustrator show fine skills for concise explanation, a too rare ability in economics. Goodwin is also very up front about most of his biases, which is also welcome. Someone new to economic theory, or simply curious about terms and concepts, would find this a useful introduction. I also appreciate the concluding section, simply titled "The Revolt of the Rich", which frames history since 1980 as the rise of plutocracy. However, content (rather than pedagogical) flaws irk me. Or rather, I disagree with key interpretations and emphases. The US-centric approach is understandable, given scope, but I wish they'd been up front about this. That strategy also leads to some weird timing, like not mentioning globalization until the chronology has approached the year 2000. The treatment of Marx is shallow and ultimately dismissive, a stance I don't share, and one which leads the text to some awkward moments, like dismissing communists as insane. Given the author's pro-Keynesian stance, I would incline to seeing this as a liberal's opposition to economic radicalism. We can see more evidence of this from downplaying American labor activism and socialist movements, as well as the ways the book treats modern left movements (Occupy's suppression at the hands of Democratic party leaders is absent, even though Goodwin is sympathetic to the movement, for example) and views Bill Clinton as a would-be progressive hamstrung by advisors (a telling (mis)reading of 1990-1995). At a personal level, I appreciated this much more for its pedagogy and use of the medium than for its content. I've been studying or tracking economics since the 1980s - much more seriously since 2008 - so most of this was familiar to me, although I did appreciate seeing someone who respects both Keynes and Smith apply their insights to the modern world (American liberals today tend to prefer Keynes, while conservatives hew to Smith). Overall, recommended for three audiences: people looking for an introduction to economics, teachers looking for good multimedia pedagogy, and audiences interested in how graphic novels can work as nonfiction. PS: there is also a website for the book, with extra content.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jean-Luc

    Way back in the day, when we had to walk uphill both ways to get to class, students were required to take Macroeconomics 101 @ Stevens Institute of Technology. The point, I'm sure, was to allow us to digest the news and make informed decisions as voters. The professor was boring, the book prided itself on only using tautologies, all quizzes were multiple choice, and attendance was mandatory. (The last one explains why I only got an A-, ruining my best shot at a 4.0 GPA.) This book is a 400 year t Way back in the day, when we had to walk uphill both ways to get to class, students were required to take Macroeconomics 101 @ Stevens Institute of Technology. The point, I'm sure, was to allow us to digest the news and make informed decisions as voters. The professor was boring, the book prided itself on only using tautologies, all quizzes were multiple choice, and attendance was mandatory. (The last one explains why I only got an A-, ruining my best shot at a 4.0 GPA.) This book is a 400 year tour-de-force on the history of capitalism, and it is way, way better than an introductory book on economics has any right to be. The author, Michael Goodwin, understands that cause and effect minus context is pointless, and it shows. The art, by Dan. E. Burr, is crisp; there's never any question about what you're looking at. As part of my History minor, I studied Historical Materialism and the History of Darwinism. I was pleasantly surprised by how fair (and accurate) this book was w/rt Karl Marx's ideas and the context they were born in. Any economics textbook that doesn't take the environment as central is worthless. We have very nearly liquidated the capital that the entire economy runs on. You can't not touch on that and pretend you're educating people. This book devotes an entire chapter to the subject, again, with cause, effect, and context. Economix isn't pefect (few books are), and Thomas Hedges has the best critiques, but they're simply things to keep in mind, not reasons to ignore the book. It isn't the be-all, end-all of understanding, but instead a springboard. I'd recommend this for the Conservative, Libertarian, or Republican in your life. IOW the people most likely to not know how the economy works, but most likely to opine on it. :-p

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anatl

    An interesting and riveting introduction to economics, alas with a very strong political bias which I found troubling at times. Because of the format I didn't expect anything other than a superficial skimming of subjects enough to wet your interest. However, if this was a more serious book I would have been at arms about certain reductions and inaccuracies. An interesting and riveting introduction to economics, alas with a very strong political bias which I found troubling at times. Because of the format I didn't expect anything other than a superficial skimming of subjects enough to wet your interest. However, if this was a more serious book I would have been at arms about certain reductions and inaccuracies.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Iain

    I've been hearing a fair amount of buzz about this, and at the bookshop where I bought it the owner said "oh, we've been selling a lot of these!" And I can see why—it's excellent. It's basically a cartoon history of the world economy and of economic theory, from Adam Smith up to 2011 or so. Goodwin cites Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe as his inspiration, but this book reminds me more of Scott McCloud, particularly Reinventing Comics. Like McCloud, the author's avatar talks directl I've been hearing a fair amount of buzz about this, and at the bookshop where I bought it the owner said "oh, we've been selling a lot of these!" And I can see why—it's excellent. It's basically a cartoon history of the world economy and of economic theory, from Adam Smith up to 2011 or so. Goodwin cites Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe as his inspiration, but this book reminds me more of Scott McCloud, particularly Reinventing Comics. Like McCloud, the author's avatar talks directly to the reader, and he makes good use of iconography: an economist's theory is explained with a complicated chart, say, and then for the rest of the book the same chart pops up as an icon whenever he wants to mention that theory. So it's a quick and easy read, but with a pretty dense web of cross-references—terrific informational comics! As to the content... Well, it's a big picture that I've seen brief glimpses of in the past, but this is the clearest exposition I've seen of the entire thing. I'm inclined to agree with Goodwin's ideological stance (mostly left-wing, though he has well-justified complaints about both sides) so I wonder if there's a kind of groupthink here; are there gaping flaws in his arguments that I'm just not seeing? I'd love to see how rational right-leaning people respond to this. The big picture is depressing. Government in the pocket of multinational businesses, which exploit loopholes or just write laws to benefit themselves. Spending cuts and "austerity" thrust on the general population, while billions are spent on bailing out banks from the downsides of their stupidly risky investments. One major theme is "damned if you do, damned if you don't", as when Ireland opted to bail out its banks but also to take ownership of them, and found when the dust settled that all it owned were piles of worthless investments and even more debt that hadn't yet come to light. And if we take exactly the opposite approach, as Goodwin cautiously favours, and spend our way out of recession—there aren't enough resources to sustain infinite growth, and we're already on the brink of environmental catastrophe. Another theme, slightly more hopeful, is that a balanced approach can work well even if it isn't perfect. Extreme communism failed badly, and extreme capitalism is failing almost as badly; but a mixed economy with both private and government-run businesses, with auditing and regulation, can work well. And almost all real-world economies are mixed! The trick is to accept the need for balance, rather than waging an ideological war against it as Reagan did (which just allows a much nastier balance to sneak in by the back door—the US's mixed economy is biased towards funding the military rather than public utilities). I like Goodwin's subtly revisionary history. He has a lot of time for Adam Smith, hero of the free marketeers, but points out that Smith made a lot of excellent points about the abuse of free markets that are quietly ignored these days. He's a big Keynes fan, but cautions against interpreting Keynes in an overly abstract way—the seductive idea that we can treat the economy as a mathematical system to be optimized, and the danger of forgetting what it actually means. He doesn't claim to offer any easy answers, of course. "Anyone who says differently is selling something." But I think there's some useful general lessons here, as in any good history book. There are many, many ways for a small group of people to exploit a large group; and it's not only unfair, but it makes life worse for everyone, not just the poor people! I'll finish with a quote I liked from Steven Rockefeller, great-grandson of John D:"There is no rational justification for my family having the amount of money that it has... The only honest thing to say in defense of it is that we like having the money and the present social system allows us to keep it."Oh, but I haven't even mentioned the art! It's clean and clear and doesn't get in the way; which sounds like faint praise, but for a book like this, that's exactly what's called for! In fact I'd say it's clearer than either Gonick or McCloud, and Dan Burr has a very nice line in caricature. There's a lot of ironic subtext to be found in seeing which faces crop up again and again. As late in the book as the Clinton administration, for example... that nose... Adam Smith again??

  11. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    The author condenses a mountain of economic texts into a highly readable 300-page comic book, deftly explaining economic theory and history from Adam Smith's 1776 masterpiece "The Wealth of Nations", to the Keynesian stimulus spending after the 2008 collapse and beyond. The illustrations make the book extremely approachable, but don't think for a second that the book is juvenile or watered-down. I actually had to read the book in small chunks so that I could process the onslaught of information The author condenses a mountain of economic texts into a highly readable 300-page comic book, deftly explaining economic theory and history from Adam Smith's 1776 masterpiece "The Wealth of Nations", to the Keynesian stimulus spending after the 2008 collapse and beyond. The illustrations make the book extremely approachable, but don't think for a second that the book is juvenile or watered-down. I actually had to read the book in small chunks so that I could process the onslaught of information in each section. This book did for me what an entire semester of Macroeconomics did not: it helped me truly grasp the fundamentals of our economic system. Much of the book simply confirmed what I already knew: conservatives favor an economic model that creates private profits and public risks, corporate propaganda demonizes and exploits labor whilst lobbying for tax loopholes that shift the tax burden to the lower class, Republicans are only concerned about the federal debt to the extent that it funds social programs (a very deliberate and planned political move christened "Starve the Beast" started by Reaganites and continued to this day by Eric Cantor and others, which pushes government to the point of collapse for the mere purpose of defunding social welfare spending), and that military-industrial cahoots *always* lead to unnecessary wars. I also learned a LOT that was completely new to me, such as: what Adam Smith *really* said in "Wealth of Nations", why the IMF and World Bank were complete abject failures in the 1990s, what a complete idiot Alan Greenspan is, how the three worst presidents we have ever had (Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover) served back-to-back administrations, how all of classical and neoliberal (a.k.a. Tea Party) policy points are based on theoretical Ricardo concepts that were never intended to be the basis for public policy, and how government grew and taxes increased under the Reagan administration. Having all of this information is both infuriating and empowering. Mostly infuriating.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Charles Hatfield

    Obviously indebted to Larry Gonick's Cartoon Guides and Cartoon History of the Universe, especially the latter, this is a dense guide to the history and reigning theories of economics; the policies, debates, and sometimes suffering they have engendered; and, above all, the gap between the pristine mathematical models of textbook economics and the realities of human life. It's a smart, properly skeptical book, thick, fairly demanding, and (again like Gonick, as well as Scott McCloud's textbooks) Obviously indebted to Larry Gonick's Cartoon Guides and Cartoon History of the Universe, especially the latter, this is a dense guide to the history and reigning theories of economics; the policies, debates, and sometimes suffering they have engendered; and, above all, the gap between the pristine mathematical models of textbook economics and the realities of human life. It's a smart, properly skeptical book, thick, fairly demanding, and (again like Gonick, as well as Scott McCloud's textbooks) dotted with recurrent caricatures and symbols that serve to knit the text together. Gonick's style of humorous repartee between narration and dialogue, captions and word balloons, is much in evidence, as is the unstinting hard work of artist Dan Burr (Kings in Disguise), who taxes his ingenuity at times past the point of easy readability in order to digest and deliver Goodwin's script. The end result is not an elegant comic, but one I'm happy to have read. It left me with lingering questions about economics (specific concepts like financial derivatives are not very clearly explained) but with a better grasp of the major contending models and traditions in the discipline, as well as a keener or renewed sense of its social importance.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Caren

    Do you find the subject of economics to be boring and/or incomprehensible? If so, this is the book for you; here is the subject brought to life in a dynamic mix of thoughtful words and pictures. Yes, the author does indeed come from a decidedly left-leaning perspective, as he freely acknowledges at about page 200 (that is, two-thirds of the way through the book), but you can take that in stride and still glean a whole lot of info from this book. I would highly recommend this book to high school Do you find the subject of economics to be boring and/or incomprehensible? If so, this is the book for you; here is the subject brought to life in a dynamic mix of thoughtful words and pictures. Yes, the author does indeed come from a decidedly left-leaning perspective, as he freely acknowledges at about page 200 (that is, two-thirds of the way through the book), but you can take that in stride and still glean a whole lot of info from this book. I would highly recommend this book to high school students on up, especially with the approaching election in mind. Here is food for discussion, all clearly presented. It really is an eye-opening look at history and politics. I kept thinking, 'wow, there really isn't anything new under the sun', as so much of our current situation is a repeat of the past. This is, despite being about the "dismal science", a delightful romp of a book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Eimad

    I have my fair share in economics knowledge due to some previous reading be it from libertarians, socialists and some capitalists as well. I also benefited from Khan Academy videos from economic section. But this graphic novel is far superior for non economic major like me. It is Econ 101 without tendency to influence you to either side. Previously I read from laissez-faire view, social Democratic, and state communism. But this show them all. The best thing in this book is how author present the I have my fair share in economics knowledge due to some previous reading be it from libertarians, socialists and some capitalists as well. I also benefited from Khan Academy videos from economic section. But this graphic novel is far superior for non economic major like me. It is Econ 101 without tendency to influence you to either side. Previously I read from laissez-faire view, social Democratic, and state communism. But this show them all. The best thing in this book is how author present the theory in an interesting time line from feudalism to the rise of capitalism. A must read for everyone interested in economics and politics because let's face it politics is economy power.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Santhosh

    This is a lively, refreshingly opinionated romp through the historical and intellectual foundations of world economy, economics, and economic problems. An absolute delight, it also acts as a crash course on Western history. Complex ideas and events have been distilled so beautifully that we can follow the big picture without losing track of what actually happened. A must read for both the layperson looking for an introduction to economics and for someone looking to brush up those long-learnt les This is a lively, refreshingly opinionated romp through the historical and intellectual foundations of world economy, economics, and economic problems. An absolute delight, it also acts as a crash course on Western history. Complex ideas and events have been distilled so beautifully that we can follow the big picture without losing track of what actually happened. A must read for both the layperson looking for an introduction to economics and for someone looking to brush up those long-learnt lessons during our MBA days. Somebody give this guy a couple of Nobels already!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Every page was fun to read, oh and I learned stuff. A comprehensive yet accessible (graphic novel!) history of macroeconomics, from the tulip bubble to the more recent mortgage-default crisis. An affable illustrated narrator, Michael Goodwin as himself, guides you through the narrative, pointing out fact vs. the narrator's own left-leaning interpretation. Were I to teach high school economics again, I'd use this as an anchor text. I'm a pusher, having gifted several copies of Economix to friends, Every page was fun to read, oh and I learned stuff. A comprehensive yet accessible (graphic novel!) history of macroeconomics, from the tulip bubble to the more recent mortgage-default crisis. An affable illustrated narrator, Michael Goodwin as himself, guides you through the narrative, pointing out fact vs. the narrator's own left-leaning interpretation. Were I to teach high school economics again, I'd use this as an anchor text. I'm a pusher, having gifted several copies of Economix to friends, family and teacher-colleagues. READ IT!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bjoern Rochel

    This comic does a great job of explaining the economic concepts and developments of the last 200 years in their historical context. I read through the 300 pages within a day. Quite entertaining and also infuses my suspicion that we're currently witnessing the end of an era of a dominant nation This comic does a great job of explaining the economic concepts and developments of the last 200 years in their historical context. I read through the 300 pages within a day. Quite entertaining and also infuses my suspicion that we're currently witnessing the end of an era of a dominant nation

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

    Now I come to the last in my personal trilogy of FY14 government shutdown reads. I started with David Graeber’s fascinating treatise on the anthropological foundations of money, exchange, and Debt, proceeded to Nate Silver’s methodological critique of statistical prognostication The Signal and the Noise, and found this graphic novel to be the perfect way to wind up the topic. The book is an excellent overview of economic theory and practice that places The Worldly Philosophers into its chronolo Now I come to the last in my personal trilogy of FY14 government shutdown reads. I started with David Graeber’s fascinating treatise on the anthropological foundations of money, exchange, and Debt, proceeded to Nate Silver’s methodological critique of statistical prognostication The Signal and the Noise, and found this graphic novel to be the perfect way to wind up the topic. The book is an excellent overview of economic theory and practice that places The Worldly Philosophers into its chronological context, expanding the content by extending the material from the 16th century all the way through to 2012. If you find Goodwin & Burr’s work a tad superficial in the early going, stick with it anyway, because even though Economix merely skims the surface of, say, the rise of 17th century Dutch mercantilism or the impact of 19th century industrialization on Dickensian Britain, as the authors advance through history they repeatedly return to, build upon, and deepen the foundations they’ve laid out in their beginning pages (including cross-references and recaps throughout so you never get lost). In terms of touchstones, if you read and enjoyed Larry Gonick’s Cartoon History series or Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics (and if you picked either up, you would), you’ll get a kick out of this rich, well-researched work and its annotated bibliography. For example, before I read this, I didn’t fully understand how contemporary mainstream economic thinking, which is dominated by theoretical models expressed more in terms of pure mathematics than words (what economist Robert Lucas derisively dismissed as “just pictures and talk,” see, e.g., p. 166) was shaped when Paul Samuelson stacked John Maynard Keynes’ macro-market theories atop an idealized micro-market foundation (at p. 144). The problem inherent in this descent into abstraction is that it assumed people behaved in rigorously consistent ways. Such idealization is essential to permit reduction to formal logic, but loses sight of the fact that the motivations for human behavior are culturally-dependent (so not monolithic), unpredictable, irrational, and not at all fully understood. Therefore, while mathematical modeling made a good starting place for weighing policy and interpreting economic effects (unemployment tends to be inversely correlated with inflation), it was wholly unreliable for purposes of predicting or correcting new challenges (stagflation). Viewed thus, the dismal science really makes for dismal science. Goodwin summarizes this dilemma neatly at pp. 40-41. “By itself, a model doesn’t prove anything…. We still hear things like, ‘Free trade is always a good idea! Comparative advantage proves it!’ For that matter, when we hear people say, ‘The free market always works! Laissez-faire!’ they’re not describing the real world. They’re describing Ricardo-style abstract models [which begin by a]ssum[ing] an idealized free market [and end up in] calculations [that] show that the free market is ideal…. In a textbook-perfect free market, if you’re rich, it’s because you deserve to be.” While the rightness or inevitability of free market status quo may be a comforting rationalization for those with means, it remains a fallacy that overlooks a multitude of system-corrupting factors (e.g., externalities and the tragedy of the commons; asymmetries of information, power, and/or control of resources; and the power of advertising to influence or change human behavior). In highlighting the complex and interrelated nature of economic problems, Goodwin & Burr make a strong case that government’s proper roles are to check the excesses of corporate activity (typically, the inequities or adverse consequences arising from oligopolistic or monopolistic abuses) and moderate the market’s natural oscillations between boom and bust cycles. The authors’ advocacy is politically neutral*, for the most part limited to encouraging people to be informed about economic policy and theory, capable of discussing the trade-offs inherent in any specific economic agenda, and getting their views reasonably and proportionately reflected in decision-making. As Goodwin writes at pp. 288-9, Fixing those flaws means asking what we want from the economy. What kind of jobs do we want to work? What kind of lives do we want to lead? …The main thing to remember is that we can change things. We didn’t get where we are by the impersonal working of rigid laws; we got here by making decisions. We can make new decisions. Instead of arguing ourselves blue about what should work, we can try things and see what does work.I’d love to see Economix used as an introductory text. My 6th grade son picked it up before I could get it back to the library and is already deeply engrossed. I love it when he comes independently to books I’ve enjoyed. It’s great to hear him chuckling… and learning. * Update 10/22/13 - While this book takes it hard and strong to Alan Greenspan for many of the defects and inequities institutionalized by neoconservative economists beginning with the deficit spending and financial deregulation that came in with Reaganomics, it's worth noting that Greenspan himself has now copped to his own errors on the Daily Show and presumably in his new book The Map and the Territory. To the extent that Greenspan's work overlaps Silver's, interested readers may want to compare and contrast the two.

  19. 5 out of 5

    ClarkW_E1

    Economix, written by Michael Goodwin, is an informative. However, it unravels information through the form of comic strips. Finishing Economix allowed me to fully comprehend economic aspects of European and United States history, as well as its relations with politics and society. It also widened my view on economics itself; it is not only the study and management of wealth, but the study and management of finite resources. I read most of the book during my Microcampus trip. As I was reading the b Economix, written by Michael Goodwin, is an informative. However, it unravels information through the form of comic strips. Finishing Economix allowed me to fully comprehend economic aspects of European and United States history, as well as its relations with politics and society. It also widened my view on economics itself; it is not only the study and management of wealth, but the study and management of finite resources. I read most of the book during my Microcampus trip. As I was reading the book, I would look for examples of a phenomenon described in the book in the village of Xizhou. For instance, when I read about the balance between supply and demand, I realized that tourists in Xizhou often would like a few pieces of tie-dye for souvenirs. This naturally increases the demand, but the demand reaches stability after a maximum amount of tourists arrive. Therefore, people selling tie-dye in Xizhou might increase their selling price and seek extra profit. However, there are other sellers and retailer stores as well. Competition force prices to reach an agreement point, where there is little difference between costs. I feel like the theme for this book is that choice is a luxury. Choices may seem mundane to us, but every single choice we make matters to us, matters to the people and the community around us. Economics is all about making choices and optimizing existing opportunities. It is also about taking risks and seeking chances in the future, or pursue entrepreneurship. Choices may mean less to our privileged self, but still be aware of how our choices can impact each other. Economix has been a great informative read. I really love how Economix simplified Wealth of Nations and chose to use a medium that caters to modern reading styles. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys comics and history, as many dots in the book eventually are tied together with the string of economics.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joel

    A fantastic overview of economics. Well worth the read

  21. 4 out of 5

    João Salvado

    Smart, insightful, clear, and as close to the truth as economics can get. Recommend this one for anyone interested to understand many fundamental aspects about the way the world works

  22. 4 out of 5

    Des

    This book manages to do a lot of the things most econ textbooks don't(but should do). The first thing is explains the history of economics which is important because you get a better grasp on why the economic theories of Smith, Engles, Marx, Keynes and others developed if you know of the times these economist were living in since like with everything the events around a person shapes that person's views and outlooks and lot of the economic problems that occur now have occurred before (overpopula This book manages to do a lot of the things most econ textbooks don't(but should do). The first thing is explains the history of economics which is important because you get a better grasp on why the economic theories of Smith, Engles, Marx, Keynes and others developed if you know of the times these economist were living in since like with everything the events around a person shapes that person's views and outlooks and lot of the economic problems that occur now have occurred before (overpopulation, lack of supplies) but were remedied by finding more land (the colonization of the Americas, Africa)but for various reason has not(as of yet) been undertaken now. The few economic classes I had failed to dwell on this and as a result could not resonate with me since I kept seeing a corrolation between history and economics. Second Goodwin does not speak in Mathematica which unfortunately is another problem with Econ textbooks, they tend in go on and on on formulas without giving in depth on what the formula means or how it is suppose to apply in the real world since most economic textbook fail to oover the history of economics. He also exposes the problem with this horrible tendency --- too many (not all but enough)economists tend to dwell in this bubble of theory and possibility that doesn't reflect a good hard reality which is the fact that people are not always rational and thus will take a perfectly rational chalkboard theorem and turn it on its head. Third Goodwin explains these theories and their flaws, he notes that Smith understood that Capitalism out of control leads to bad results for society (this is not mentioned much in econ classes even though it is clearly mentioned in Wealth of Nations) Many would attempt to argue that it is a dumbed down economics books because it is written in graphic novel form. As far as I'm concern those people can go fly a kite. The graphic novel format has the same effect charts and graphs have in "normal" econ books and this book is far from dumbed down, rather it just gives a concise explanation in a manner the people who need to understand economics the most grasp no different than if Congress choose to explain the laws it passed completely ie including all the loopholes. To be honest if people really want to start addressing the problems with the American economy, making Goodwin's book a must read for economic students, Wall Street Officials and more important the everyday American would be an awesome start.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kumar Kutliev

    Economix is a fascinating read with good-looking drawings that detail concepts from primitive to modern economics. Coming from a guy who likes capitalism AND socialism, I feel like this is the perfect book. The book tells a narrative of economics from a historical standpoint where there's a balancing relationship between people, corporations and the government. He tells of points in history when this relationship flourished (the good times), and points when the government or the corporations too Economix is a fascinating read with good-looking drawings that detail concepts from primitive to modern economics. Coming from a guy who likes capitalism AND socialism, I feel like this is the perfect book. The book tells a narrative of economics from a historical standpoint where there's a balancing relationship between people, corporations and the government. He tells of points in history when this relationship flourished (the good times), and points when the government or the corporations took over, and why THOSE economies never worked-out. All with the aid of appealing drawings and symbolic imagery, this book accomplishes a lot. Now, a lot of people complain about the left-wing standpoint of this book in the second half, where he speaks of the many recent conservative economists who have not been able to be on par with some of their more successful predecessors. Goodwin has stated that he believes he needs to take a standpoint like all people who are economics experts. You can read all about it here: http://byanyothernerd.blogspot.ca/201... Look for the sentence: At one point in the book, you step out of the book and speak about how you're directly injecting your values It loves both socialism AND capitalism, free market AND regulations, thinks of the economy as a balancing act. I recommend it 100%! For the sake of the economy, get it and read it!

  24. 5 out of 5

    John Kaufmann

    A history of economics since the 1600s (mercantilism) from 35,000 feet, with a good dose of humor to help it slide down. You'll get some of the tectonic shifts that have occurred, with the main reason(s) for each movement. I believe the book represents a reasonable consensus among economists up until the period of globalization and financialization of the world economy beginning in the 1990s. It summarizes the main points of thinkers like Ricardo, the French Physiocrats, Adam Smith, Marx, Keynes A history of economics since the 1600s (mercantilism) from 35,000 feet, with a good dose of humor to help it slide down. You'll get some of the tectonic shifts that have occurred, with the main reason(s) for each movement. I believe the book represents a reasonable consensus among economists up until the period of globalization and financialization of the world economy beginning in the 1990s. It summarizes the main points of thinkers like Ricardo, the French Physiocrats, Adam Smith, Marx, Keynes, Hayek, Milton Friedman and others, and covers some of the momentous changes in in world history that drove changes in economic thought and policy around the globe. What I took away was that economic thought and policy has evolved as failures forced changes (thesis, antithesis, synthesis) - no system is perfect, all have weaknesses that eventually show through and must be corrected. The author brings his perspective to bear throughout - that economics is fundamentally a struggle between the haves and the have-nots, with the haves in control most of the time, with periods where systemic crises where the have-nots are able to re-establish a little balance. We are currently in a period of extreme inequality of wealth. The comic-book style makes for easy reading, and side comments by various characters add humor and provide examples. But don't be deceived - there's some good material in this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    With the financial world in more turmoil than it's ever been, this graphic novel economics primer seems especially timely. Michael Goodwin is out to show readers that the economy can be understood, even by non-economists. He goes back in time to show how our current economic structure evolved and the theories it was built upon. While there's a lot to take in, Goodwin does an excellent job of simplifying the seemingly obtuse mechanisms that make our economy work (or not). We can easily see where With the financial world in more turmoil than it's ever been, this graphic novel economics primer seems especially timely. Michael Goodwin is out to show readers that the economy can be understood, even by non-economists. He goes back in time to show how our current economic structure evolved and the theories it was built upon. While there's a lot to take in, Goodwin does an excellent job of simplifying the seemingly obtuse mechanisms that make our economy work (or not). We can easily see where our theoretical foundations lie and where they have deviated from what was originally envisioned. We can also see just how inextricably linked money is with our history and future. It's simultaneously educational and chilling, but ultimately, knowledge is power (though honestly, money is still likely more powerful) and this knowledge is not nearly as inaccessible as the powers that be would have us believe. Goodwin makes attempts to keep politics out of the picture, but admits that, when it comes to our current economic climate, it is nearly impossible to be apolitical. Fiscal conservatives will likely feel that Goodwin is being too liberal with in his estimation of the these power structures, but I personally felt that this was an excellent introduction to a very hotly debated topic.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shana Loven

    Shana Loven APA Citation: Goodwin, Michael, & Burr, Dan. (2012). Economix: how our economy works (and doesn't work) in words and pictures. New York: Abrams ComicArts. Genre: Informational Format: Graphic Novel Selection Process: No Flying No Tights Economix by Michael Goodwin and Dan Burr is a graphic novel that presents the economic situation of the United States in terms and pictures that the average layperson can understand. The first part of the book presents the economic theories of some of the Shana Loven APA Citation: Goodwin, Michael, & Burr, Dan. (2012). Economix: how our economy works (and doesn't work) in words and pictures. New York: Abrams ComicArts. Genre: Informational Format: Graphic Novel Selection Process: No Flying No Tights Economix by Michael Goodwin and Dan Burr is a graphic novel that presents the economic situation of the United States in terms and pictures that the average layperson can understand. The first part of the book presents the economic theories of some of the prevailing minds of economics, such as Marx, Smith, Keynes, Engles, and more, and the historical events and economic ideology that provide the U.S. economic foundation. The latter half of the book, dealing with the last thirty years of U.S. history, deals with a heavily politicized viewpoint that manipulations of politics and governmental policy have created class warfare that cannot be easily overcome and is imbedded in our political structure. While political, this graphic novel presents economics in a way that is understandable and is a compelling read. Recommend .

  27. 4 out of 5

    Renata

    I am FLOORED by how much I enjoyed reading this! I have an embarrassingly minimal grasp on basic economics. Like one time I confessed to a friend that I didn't really understand what a stock was, and he very patiently explained it to me, and I said, that sounds like it should be illegal?? So that's like, where I was starting from. This is SUCH an impressive feat of writing. Goodwin is so, so good at breaking things down and explaining them, and ALSO it's funny?? I know. I know. I don't even under I am FLOORED by how much I enjoyed reading this! I have an embarrassingly minimal grasp on basic economics. Like one time I confessed to a friend that I didn't really understand what a stock was, and he very patiently explained it to me, and I said, that sounds like it should be illegal?? So that's like, where I was starting from. This is SUCH an impressive feat of writing. Goodwin is so, so good at breaking things down and explaining them, and ALSO it's funny?? I know. I know. I don't even understand how he did it. I appreciated that it was narrated by a cartoon Goodwin who spoke openly about where things he was saying might be perceived to have a political bias. (Though it must be stated that politically speaking, Goodwin and I seem to be pretty much on the same page.) It's also very centralized on the US economy (that's the "our" in the title; sorry, other countries) but he does spend more time on the IMF and developing nations than I might have expected. I'd recommend this to curious teens or adults. And to anyone who doesn't understand why the stock market is legal.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emilia P

    I could not put this book down. It also took me 4 days to finish it, reading steadily. But at the same time it never seemed like work to be reading it. All that is saying a lot for a comic book. It is more about how economics affect politics and through politics, people's lives. Especially in America, especially in the last two centuries. And yes, it's got a liberal, mixed-economy, basic social services (like utilities, education, maybe health care!) are often best provided or regulated or suppo I could not put this book down. It also took me 4 days to finish it, reading steadily. But at the same time it never seemed like work to be reading it. All that is saying a lot for a comic book. It is more about how economics affect politics and through politics, people's lives. Especially in America, especially in the last two centuries. And yes, it's got a liberal, mixed-economy, basic social services (like utilities, education, maybe health care!) are often best provided or regulated or supported by governments and people who don't have profit as their primary/only motive! And so there is a grain of salt to take it with, but it is a small one. It really brought together how much the American economic/political structure is built on all the decisions and bargains, good, bad, and confusing, that have been made since the Industrial Revolution and the civil war. Read it, and if you know more about economics than me, tell me if it's on the moneyish. Thank you!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Greg Pettit

    An amazingly clear, concise, informative, and entertaining overview of the history of economics (and really, the economics of history). Goodwin has quite a knack for making economic theories simple and understandable, as well as relating them to real-world examples. One "problem" that others have with the book is the author's clear bias against certain prevailing thoughts and practices. I don't think that's a problem at all, mainly because he acknowledges and admits his opinions up front. His arg An amazingly clear, concise, informative, and entertaining overview of the history of economics (and really, the economics of history). Goodwin has quite a knack for making economic theories simple and understandable, as well as relating them to real-world examples. One "problem" that others have with the book is the author's clear bias against certain prevailing thoughts and practices. I don't think that's a problem at all, mainly because he acknowledges and admits his opinions up front. His arguments also happen to be well-reasoned and his conclusions seemingly well-supported. Rather than dictating "This is The Truth," he remains open to discussion and counter-arguments. The book is an introduction to economic theory, after all, not the conclusion. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has even a passing interest in the subject. It's very easy to read, and quite engaging. Goodwin would do well to market it to high school and college educators.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    As someone who appreciates economics in the same way as military battles and history--with a vague sense of its importance which forces me to read information about it, skimming over names I kind of know but not really--for someone like that, this book is a merciful godsend. While reading Goodwin's clear and fascinating (not a word I usually tag with this topic) explanations of economic events and concepts, I had a faint and disturbing impression that I was reading something more important (dare As someone who appreciates economics in the same way as military battles and history--with a vague sense of its importance which forces me to read information about it, skimming over names I kind of know but not really--for someone like that, this book is a merciful godsend. While reading Goodwin's clear and fascinating (not a word I usually tag with this topic) explanations of economic events and concepts, I had a faint and disturbing impression that I was reading something more important (dare I say it?) than most literature. However, since economic books tend to be dull and/or poorly written, I probably won't foray any further into this subject for now. A tip of the hat to Goodwin & Burr for slogging through all those books in order to make at least one that's accessible, interesting, and memorable.

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