Economics For Humans

Hardcover | October 2, 2006

byJulie A. Nelson

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At its core, an economy is about providing goods and services for human well-being. But many economists and critics preach that an economy is something far different: a cold and heartless system that operates outside of human control. In this impassioned and perceptive work, Julie A. Nelson asks a compelling question: If our economic world is something that we as humans create, aren’t ethics and human relationships—dimensions of a full and rich life—intrinsically part of the picture? Is it possible to take this thing we call economics and give it a body and a soul?

Economics for Humans argues against the well-ingrained notion that economics is immune to moral values and distant from human relationships. Here, Nelson locates the impediment to envisioning a more considerate economic world in an assumption that is shared by both neoliberals and the political left. Despite their seemingly insurmountable differences, Nelson notes that they both make use of the metaphor, first proposed by Adam Smith, that the economy is a machine. This pervasive idea, Nelson argues, has blinded us to the qualities that make us work and care for one another—qualities that also make businesses thrive and markets grow. We can wed our interest in money with our justifiable concerns about ethics and social well-being. And we can do so if we recognize that an economy is not a machine, but a living, beating heart that circulates blood to all parts of the body while also serving as an emblem of compassion and care. 

Nothing less than a manifesto, Economics for Humans will both invigorate and inspire readers to reshape the way they view the economy, its possibilities, and their place within it.

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From the Publisher

At its core, an economy is about providing goods and services for human well-being. But many economists and critics preach that an economy is something far different: a cold and heartless system that operates outside of human control. In this impassioned and perceptive work, Julie A. Nelson asks a compelling question: If our economic w...

From the Jacket

Is it asking too much to demand that businesses be socially and environmentally responsible? When child care and elder care are commercially supplied, is caring turned into just another commodity? Many, believing that economies are cold and heartless systems that operate outside human control, would answer yes. But in this impassioned ...

Julie A. Nelson is Professor of Economics and Department Chair at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a Senior Research Fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute of Tufts University and the author of Feminism, Objectivity, and Economics.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:164 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.8 inPublished:October 2, 2006Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226572021

ISBN - 13:9780226572024

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 Tending the Body: The History of Economics
2 Tending the Soul: The Defense of "Noneconomic Values"
3 Bringing Body and Soul Together
4 Love and Money? The Question of Individual Motivation
5 Business and Ethics? The Question of Organizational Behavior
6 Keeping Body and Soul Together
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

"This is a great, fun and interesting read, appropriate for college classrooms as well as a thoughtful gift for erudite friends and family. No prior experience in economics is necessary, and perhaps we would do well to ensure its incorporation in the standard economics education. The (human) world could only benefit from better economic science, after all."