New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009.
viii, 390 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -370) and index.
John Cassidy describes the rising influence of what he calls utopian economics--thinking that is blind to how real people act and that denies the many ways an unregulated free market can produce disastrous unintended consequences. He then looks to the leading edge of economic theory, including behavioral economics, to offer a new understanding of the economy--one that casts aside the old assumption that people and firms make decisions purely on the basis of rational self-interest.
Warnings ignored and the conventional wisdom -- Adam Smith's invisible hand -- Friedrich Hayek's telecommunications system -- The perfect markets of Lausanne -- The mathematics of bliss -- The evangelist -- The coin-tossing view of finance -- The triumph of utopian economics -- The prof and the polar bears -- A taxonomy of failure -- The prisoner's dilemma and rational irrationality -- Hidden information and the market for lemons -- Keynes's beauty contest -- The rational herd -- Psychology returns to economics --Hyman Minsky and Ponzi finance -- Greenspan shrugs -- The lure of real estate -- The subprime chain -- In the alphabet soup -- A matter of incentives -- London Bridge is falling down -- Socialism in our time.