Monday, April 16, 2007

6 new economics

1. Lawconomics

Ambitious legal thinkers have become mesmerized by moral philosophy, believing that great figures in the philosophical tradition hold the keys to understanding and improving law and justice and even to resolving the most contentious issues of constitutional law. They are wrong, contends Richard Posner in this book. Posner characterizes the current preoccupation with moral and constitutional theory as the latest form of legal mystification--an evasion of the real need of American law, which is for a greater understanding of the social, economic, and political facts out of which great legal controversies arise. In pursuit of that understanding, Posner advocates a rebuilding of the law on the pragmatic basis of open-minded and systematic empirical inquiry and the rejection of cant and nostalgia--the true professionalism foreseen by Holmes a century ago.

A bracing book that pulls no punches and leaves no pieties unpunctured or sacred cows unkicked, The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory offers a sweeping tour of the current scene in legal studies--and a hopeful prospect for its future.

The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory

Richard A. Posner

2. Butterfly Economics

Most economic theories treat people as rational agents who know what they want, and act to maximise their own utility. But real people aren't like that. They copy what other people do, they follow fashion, and when new products appear, they have to discover from scratch what their wants are. What would an economics that included this feature look like?

Ormerod's exploration of this question starts off with a simple model of foraging ants, that can choose to follow other ants, or chose to change their minds spontaneously. Such simple concepts can provide models that better describe observed economic behaviour than do the classical ones, but it has been infeasible to study them until now, because they require computer simulations to discover the results. What these new models demonstrate is that short term attempts to control the economy are doomed to failure, and government interventions are basically futile. But governments shouldn't worry -- Ormerod points out what they could be doing that would have long term benefits. He also has some delightfully acidic comments to make about classical economics, and economists, on the way.

Fun to read, and enlightening.

Butterfly Economics: A New General Theory of Social and Economic Behavior

Paul Ormerod

3. The Economics of Everyday Life

The short column length essays so as to create awake this volume primary appeared inside Business Week magazine and demonstrate intended for a well-liked audience how market incentives power person performance inside countless ways. The huge majority of populace are additional rational and create fewer mistakes inside promoting their own wellbeing than still well intentioned administration officials writes this impressive couple Gary won the 1992 Nobel intended for Economics

The Economics of Life: From Baseball to Affirmative Action to Immigration, How Real-World Issues Affect Our Everyday Life

A lighthearted approach to basic economics explains how to find order in everyday chaos, noting the economic impact of such daily decisions as recycling, driving through rush hour, entering relationships, and raising children.

Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life

4. The Long Tail

The future of our culture -- and most business -- lies in niches, according to author Chris Anderson. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, Anderson's new book, references a statistical trend to suggest that the market for items that are not "hits" will always be larger than that for the most popular items.

Anderson's position is that the Internet's ability to offer consumers a near-limitless choice of goods and information -- and archive it all cheaply -- will change how business is conducted. While "hits" will always exist, in Anderson's view the far larger number of products that fit a particular market or audience offer more opportunities.

The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More

5. Sexonomics

Sexual drives are rooted in biology, but we don't act on them blindly. Indeed, as the eminently readable judge and legal scholar Richard Posner shows, we make quite rational choices about sex, based on the costs and benefits perceived.

Drawing on the fields of biology, law, history, religion, and economics, this sweeping study examines societies from ancient Greece to today's Sweden and issues from masturbation, incest taboos, date rape, and gay marriage to Baby M. The first comprehensive approach to sexuality and its social controls, Posner's rational choice theory surprises, explains, predicts, and totally absorbs.

Richard A.Posner “Sex and Reason”

On the Economics of Marriage: A Theory of Marriage, Labor, and Divorce by Shoshana Grossbard-Shechtman

6.  Hubbert peak theory

With his classics of social commentary The Geography of Nowhere and Home from Nowhere, James Howard Kunstler has established himself as one of the great commentators on American space and place. Now, with The Long Emergency, he offers a shocking vision of a post-oil future. As a result of artificially cheap fossil-fuel energy, we have developed global models of industry, commerce, food production, and finance over the last 200 years. But the oil age, which peaked in 1970, is at an end. The depletion of nonrenewable fossil fuels is about to radically change life as we know it, and much sooner than we think. The Long Emergency tells us just what to expect after the honeymoon of affordable energy is over, preparing us for economic, political, and social changes of an unimaginable scale. Riveting and authoritative, The Long Emergency is a devastating indictment that brings new urgency and accessibility to the critical issues that will shape our future, and that we can no longer afford to ignore. It is bound to become a classic of social science.

The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century by James Howard Kunstler


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