Economic Concepts for the Social Sciences

Economic Concepts for the Social Sciences

Economic Concepts for the Social Sciences

Economic Concepts for the Social Sciences

Synopsis

This book presents an overview and assessment of the conceptual advances in economics during the last century. The book relies heavily on engaging examples, intended to draw in the reader and to demonstrate the far-reaching application of economic reasoning to social phenomena. The book is aimed at a broad audience including those with little or no formal training in economics. Readers will come to appreciate the novel insights and methods developed by economists in recent decades.

Excerpt

One morning I awoke to find that I had changed. Although I had not grown a shell and turned into a beetle, as in Kafka's story, I had experienced a fundamental metamorphosis in my views of economics and my role as an economist. I could no longer fathom why I had followed my fellow economists in making my writing accessible to so few. I realized that economics had taken root because the writings of Adam Smith and David Ricardo could be read by any educated person, including policy makers. So I decided then and there to write more general-interest pieces and to communicate more widely. If I succeeded, then maybe even my brothers and sisters would finally understand what I study and do. I began this task with Global Challenges: An Approach to Environmental, Political, and Economic Problems, which showed how basic game theory could enlighten us on a host of exigencies confronting humankind. This book opened doors previously shut to me, thus reinforcing my revelation that being understood by people in international organizations, students in universities, and others among the general population had its rewards. But Global Challenges was only a halfway house, because many of the game concepts remained abstruse.

The success of Global Challenges emboldened me to go further with my venture. Thus, I coauthored The Political Economy of NATO with Keith Hartley. This book was written for an interdisciplinary audience that included political scientists. Aided by its publication at the start of NATO's bombing campaign against Serbia, this book has also done well.

In the current book, Economic Concepts for the Social Sciences, I take an even larger step in my crusade to be read and to enlighten. This book is intended for a wide audience with no formal training in economics. My purpose is simple — to present the key economic concepts that have influenced economic thinking in the twentieth century and to identify those concepts that will continue to guide economic thought in the years to come. I am especially interested in identifying how economic concepts . . .

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