Thursday, August 14, 2008

The science of economy

The process of learning necessarily implies that any held opinions and concepts need to be continually examined, re-examined and -in light of new information- often modified or expanded upon to better fit a larger picture of understanding. This takes time, leads to many twists & turns and can frustrate a lot of people!

For example, it can put one at complete odds with a "faction" of people and yet alternatively, at other times, in solid agreement with that same crowd. This goes for a plethora of 'categorized' groups- many of whom are polar opposites of each other! Granted, there are always those folks with whom the only thing you ever find in common with is the air that’s breathed!

On the one hand, we need to acknowledge and consider solid reasoning while, on the other hand, take issue with hubris & bullshit no matter the origin- be they liberals, conservatives, independents....neocons, neosocialists, neoluddites, isolationists, consumerists, comunalists,...theocons, fundies, dogmatists, apologists... bioluddites, nihilists, primitivists, anarchists, globalists, anti-globalists, corporatists, anti-corporates...yadda… yadda…

Obviously, categorizing ourselves in these ways is quite arbitrary anyway and is really only marginally useful if you think about it a while. In fact, I find even the most stalwart extremists I know succeed only in fooling themselves much of the time.

The reality is we are quite schizophrenic when it comes down to it and can be described -at one moment or another in varying degrees- with any of the spectrum of descriptive adjectives we've come up with so far. We are Narcissus and Goldmund blended -a bizarre fusion of tangled humanity. On the other hand, many of us strive to reach out for that “candle in the night” in a search for the truer nature of things.

In that vein, I've been following a variety of economic topic threads with the goal of trying to understand the bigger economics conversation a little better…Short take so far is nothing new. That is, 'purism' of any sort doesn't work and striving for a smeared and messy, yet transparent and educated participatory "middle" seems most realistic -even with its concurrent complexities. Here the gorilla in the room -whatever it is for you- becomes a more benign presence and allows for more 'humane' versions of free market (& capitalist) economies of scale.

Anyway, thought you might be intrigued with this economics book list I'm building up. It's proving useful as a data base for the so called "dismal science" and offers tools to differentiate between the "wheat & the chaff" and what's already right & what's not.

Though my keenest interests lie elsewhere -actually waaaay elsewhere- I guess it's important to have some working awareness of a topic that so affects us all. If you have any favorite economy book, lectures, or other suggestions, please send them along!

Economics book list (partial):

Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict

Economics and the Theory of Games

The Worldly Philosophers


New Ideas from Dead Economists

Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science

The Undercover Economist

The Race Between Education and Technology

The Mind of the Market

Poverty Traps

Inequality in America

Social Movements: Identity, Culture and the State

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