Summary of Economics of Good and Evil

The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street

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Economics of Good and Evil book summary
This exploration of the philosophical roots of economics unmasks the ethical choices in this overly quantitative field.


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This exploration of the philosophical history of economic analysis illuminates and enlivens the field. Mathematics has reduced economics to formulaic amorality instead of robust debate over what distinguishes the right economic ideas from the wrong ones. Mythical and religious beliefs and the limits of scientific discovery bred many preconceptions that molded the modern economy. Professor Tomas Sedlacek contends persuasively that economists usually do not measure the impact of emotion as a driving force in decision making. He shows why society would benefit from a better understanding of the nonquantitative concepts that historically have characterized economic thought: good and evil. getAbstract recommends this rich, meaty (but not so easy) read to those who know economic concepts and want to balance their mathematical base with a historical review of economics’ roots in philosophy, religion, theology and other fields.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How mathematical economic models oversimplify reality
  • How various traditions and philosophies treat and expand the study of economics
  • Why economics has been a nonquantitative pursuit for most of recorded history
  • Why the mathematical language of modern economic analysis deserves less attention and the assumptions underlying the numbers deserve more


The Ethics of Economics
Economists’ analytical disconnection from reality is one reason they consistently fail to predict the future, let alone explain past events. For instance, disagreements still continue over what caused the 1930s Great Depression. The 2008-2009 global financial crisis...
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About the Author

Tomas Sedlacek, a member of the National Economic Council in Prague, lectures at Charles University.

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