The Economics Anti-Textbook

A Critical Thinker's Guide to Microeconomics

Rod Hill and Tony Myatt

Description

Mainstream textbooks present economics as an objective science free from value judgements; that settles disputes by testing hypotheses; that applies a pre-determined body of principles; and contains policy prescriptions supported by a consensus of professional opinion. This title argues that this is a myth.
Mainstream textbooks present economics as an objective science free from value judgements; that settles disputes by testing hypotheses; that applies a pre-determined body of principles; and contains policy prescriptions supported by a consensus of professional opinion. The Economics Anti-Textbook argues that this is a myth - one which is not only dangerously misleading but also bland and boring. It challenges the mainstream textbooks' assumptions, arguments, models and evidence. It puts the controversy and excitement back into economics to reveal a fascinating and a vibrant field of study - one which is more an 'art of persuasion' than it is a science.

The Economics Anti-Textbook's
chapters parallel the major topics in the typical text, beginning with a boiled-down account of them before presenting an analysis and critique. Drawing on the work of leading economists, the Anti-Textbook lays bare the blind spots in the texts and their sins of omission and commission. It shows where hidden value judgements are made and when contrary evidence is ignored. It shows the claims made without any evidence and the alternative theories that aren't mentioned. It shows the importance of power, social context and legal framework.

The Economics Anti-Textbook is the students' guide to decoding the textbooks and shows how real economics is much more interesting than most economists are willing to let on.

Author Bio

Rod Hill has taught at the University of Windsor, University of Regina and the University of New Brunswick, where he has been a Professor of Economics since 2003. He's a member of Economists for Peace and Security and the Progressive Economics Forum.

Tony Myatt has taught at McMaster University, Western University, Nipissing University College, the University of Toronto, and the University of New Brunswick, where he has been Professor of Economics since 1992. He has developed several different introductory courses as vehicles for teaching principles of economics, including Economics of Everyday Life, Economics in the Real World, and Economics Through Film. Professor Myatt was the recipient of UNB's Arts Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction - Our Goals, Audience, and Principal Themes
  • 1. What is economics? Where you start influences where you go
  • 2. Introducing economic models
  • 3. How markets work (in an imaginary world)
  • 4. People as consumers
  • 5. The firm
  • 6. Market Structure and Efficiency - or why perfect competition isn't so perfect after all.
  • Addendum - What about the efficiency of asset markets?
  • 7. Externalities and the ubiquity of market failure
  • 8. The marginal productivity theory of income distribution - or you're worth what you can get
  • 9. Government, taxation, and the (re)distribution of income: is a just society just too expensive?
  • 10. Trade and globalization without the rose-tinted glasses
  • Conclusion
  • Postscript - A Case Study on the Global Financial Meltdown

Reviews

'Every honest economics teacher absolutely must make this book a compulsory reading for their students.'
Samir Amin

'What humankind needs second most (first is a cure for global warming), is a means of defusing the lethal ideological superstitions implanted in the educated masses by Samuelson/Mankiw type economics textbooks. Hill and Myatt’s "anti-textbook" goes a long way toward providing it.'
Edward Fullbrook

'I highly recommend Hill and Myatt’s "anti-textbook." It is not so much an outright rejection of traditional treatments of introductory microeconomics as it is an exercise in laying bare the premises on which they are based and then suggesting alternative assumptions and methodologies. This approach leaves the student with a much deeper understanding of economic theory and it shows our discipline for what it truly is: an ongoing conversation among competing paradigms. I urge instructors to amend their courses so that time can be made for this important critique.'
John. T. Harvey, author of Currencies, Capital Flows and Crises

'Hill and Myatt's timely book should be compulsory reading for every student of economics. It gives vital answers to the question which ever more people are asking - how did economics get it so wrong? A searching critique of the actual texts which figure on economics courses offers that vital product too long absent from the economics storecupboard - a second opinion.'
Alan Freeman, UK Association for Heterodox Economics

 'Rod Hill and Tony Myatt have written one of the best critical texts of neoclassical microeconomics that I have ever seen. It is a great text to assign along with an introductory or intermediate microeconomics text. Its critical commentary is sharp and very readable. All heterodox economists who have to teach undergraduate microeconomics should also assign this book for their students.'
Frederic S. Lee, American Journal of Economics and Sociology

Details

Publication Date: 11 March 2010
320 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781842779392
Hardback: 9781842779385
eBook ePub: 9781848138292
eBook PDF: 9781848135482
eBook Kindle: 9781780322506

Register as a peer reviewer

Help us in our mission to make the academy and academic publishing more diverse and inclusive by registering as a Zed Books peer reviewer today. It only takes 30 seconds.

Why is peer review so important?

Learn more about the various types of peer review, why it’s so important, what the social and political considerations of peer review are and how we use it at Zed Books.