Review: A Very Short Introduction to Economics
By Sarah Smit
Given that I hold some vehement and frequently expressed political opinions, I'm sure it will come as no surprise that I know next to nothing about economics.
Driven by the knowledge of this lack and frequent loss of arguments to Kyle Williams (don't tell him I said that), I recently picked up a copy of Economics: A Very Short Introduction by Partha Dasgupta. The aptly named series from The Oxford University Press covers topics as diverse as robotics, politics and Tibetan Buddhism. They aim to give the reader a quick way to plug gaps in general knowledge from a source that's a little more credible than an askreddit thread.
Dasgupta, in no more than 160 pages begins to explain the historical and institutional factors driving the massive international gulf between developing and developed countries. The book explores the economic impact of self-confirming beliefs, how market and communal economies operate in similar and different ways, and shows how we can and should take environmental costs into consideration in economic calculations. He demonstrates the reciprocal links between stable democratic government, economic growth, and social wellbeing.
Economics is approximately 7mm thick but contains enough information to fill a semester long series of lectures so it's unsurprisingly dense. You'll want to sit down with a pen and a notebook, and perhaps a calculator. But if you're willing to do the work of tearing apart five line sentences and deciphering economists jargon, Economics will leave you much better equipped for drunken conversations at the Tav. Highly reccomended, not for pleasure of reading, but simply because it will enable you to understand the world better in a relatively short space of time.