Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street by Tomas SedlacekEconomics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street by Tomas Sedlacek

Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street

byTomas Sedlacek

Paperback | September 24, 2013

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Tomas Sedlacek has shaken the study of economics as few ever have. Named one of the "Young Guns" and one of the "five hot minds in economics" by the Yale Economic Review, he serves on the National Economic Council in Prague, where his provocative writing has achieved bestseller status. How hashe done it? By arguing a simple, almost heretical proposition: economics is ultimately about good and evil.In The Economics of Good and Evil, Sedlacek radically rethinks his field, challenging our assumptions about the world. Economics is touted as a science, a value-free mathematical inquiry, he writes, but it's actually a cultural phenomenon, a product of our civilization. It began within philosophy -Adam Smith himself not only wrote The Wealth of Nations, but also The Theory of Moral Sentiments - and economics, as Sedlacek shows, is woven out of history, myth, religion, and ethics. "Even the most sophisticated mathematical model," Sedlacek writes, "is, de facto, a story, a parable, our effortto (rationally) grasp the world around us." Economics not only describes the world, but establishes normative standards, identifying ideal conditions. Science, he claims, is a system of beliefs to which we are committed. To grasp the beliefs underlying economics, he breaks out of the field's confines with a tour de force exploration ofeconomic thinking, broadly defined, over the millennia. He ranges from the epic of Gilgamesh and the Old Testament to the emergence of Christianity, from Descartes and Adam Smith to the consumerism in Fight Club. Throughout, he asks searching meta-economic questions: What is the meaning and thepoint of economics? Can we do ethically all that we can do technically? Does it pay to be good?Placing the wisdom of philosophers and poets over strict mathematical models of human behavior, Sedlacek's groundbreaking work promises to change the way we calculate economic value.
Tomas Sedlacek lectures at Charles University and is a member of the National Economic Council in Prague, where the original version of this book was a national bestseller and was also adapted as a popular theater-piece. He worked as an advisor of Vaclav Havel, the first Czech president after the fall of communism, and is a regular co...
Title:Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall StreetFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:September 24, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019932218X

ISBN - 13:9780199322183

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Table of Contents

Vaclav Havel: ForewordAcknowledgments and ThanksIntroductionPart I: Ancient Economics1. The Epic of Gilgamesh: On effectiveness, Immortality and the Economics of Friendship2. The Old Testament: Earthliness and Goodness3. Ancient Greece4. Christianity: Spirituality in the Material World5. Descartes the Mechanic6. Bernard Mandeville's Beehive of Vice7. Adam Smith, Blacksmith of EconomicsPart II: Blasphemous Thoughts8. Need for Greed - The History of Want9. Progress and Sabbath Economics10. The Axis of Good and Evil and the Bibles of Economics11. The History of the Invisible Hand of the Market and Homo Oeconomicus12. The History of Animal Spirits - the Dream Never Sleeps13. MetaMathematics14. Masters of Truth: Science, Myths and FaithConclusion: Where the Wild Things AreBibliographyIndex