« The Issue is Moot | Main | If Meat Makes You Impotent, Does Vegetarianism Make You Tacky? »

Extreme Keynsianism

Dear Wormwood,

So, second day of the Columbia Foundations of the Regulatory State class. I've looked over the syllabus, Wormwood, and I think that if you're wondering what to expect from the course, you'd be better served if you consider the class to be Economic Analysis for Lawyers and Policymakers. Maybe there's more to it than that, but the discussions of Pareto, Kaldor-Hicks, and even Jeremy Bentham are giving me flashbacks to my high school economics class.

So, let's suppose, dear Wormwood, that you're considering attending Columbia Law, you've just been accepted (it's about that time of year), and you're thinking, "I've got lots of time to prep. What I'd really like to do instead of hitting the beach and enjoying my last days before law school, or earning a little money to defray loans, is fill that huge hole in my educational history that I dug by never taking any course that bordered on economics."

Well, first, if you're thinking this, you need professional help. Go hit the beach, Wormwood, really: if economics were thrilling to you, you'd have studied it by now, and you'll have plenty of time. But supposing that you've just discovered your deeply buried love of economics, but being out of college you don't have any way to satisfy this burning desire, I suppose I should regretfully recommend a good book or two. Obviously, this is personal experience, but I've found the following to be helpful.

First, there's Economics by Begg, Fischer, and Dornbusch, a relatively accessible economics textbook with a good index and plenty of charts and graphs. This was my 'teach yourself macroeconomics' textbook that I used to prepare for an old AP test back in high school (so it's not too dense) and it's served me well ever since. If you think 'extreme Keynsianism' might be something in the X-Games ("hey dudes, Pareto just did a gnarly Kaldor-Hicks and a half pipe in that tube"), it'll put you right.

But supposing you want to spend some time on the beach during the summer. You want sugar with your cereal, or at least something closer to Dawson's Creek than Anna Karenina. You want intrigue, devious Senators, and high school politics. In that case, I'll recommend a book I've mentioned before, The Invisible Heart, the only romance novel ever published by MIT Press. I'll warn you, though: as a romance novel, it's a very good overview of economic policy failure. Prepare to cringe at the puppy-love flutterings of two people you'd never want to date.

But frankly, Wormwood, I'd recommend just hitting the beach. (For any current CLS students, I'm happy to loan either book.)

The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance
The Invisible Heart:
An Economic Romance



I'm pretty happy with my summer purchase of Naked Economics. It has a funny title, is an amusing read, and must have worked, since I'm bored out of my mind in Reg State, and have never taken Econ. Hum, on second thought, going in cold might have been a better idea, from the standpoint of academic engagement...
I'll agree with Alison--I found Naked Economics to be a quick yet quite thorough overview of economics. The book doesn't touch a single formula or have a single graph, but rather attempts to teach the major concepts through an intuitive, common sense approach (and also points out the times when what might make sense actually goes against economic theory). I must admit that even after taking a couple of economics classes in both undergrad and grad school, I never was able to link all of the concepts together until I read through this book. And to think, I now actually enjoy talking about and debating economic issues with my new-found understanding!

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

NOTICE TO SPAMMERS, COMMENT ROBOTS, TRACKBACK SPAMMERS AND OTHER NON-HUMAN VISITORS: No comment or trackback left via a robot is ever welcome at Three Years of Hell. Your interference imposes significant costs upon me and my legitimate users. The owner, user or affiliate who advertises using non-human visitors and leaves a comment or trackback on this site therefore agrees to the following: (a) they will pay fifty cents (US$0.50) to Anthony Rickey (hereinafter, the "Host") for every spam trackback or comment processed through any blogs hosted on threeyearsofhell.com, morgrave.com or housevirgo.com, irrespective of whether that comment or trackback is actually posted on the publicly-accessible site, such fees to cover Host's costs of hosting and bandwidth, time in tending to your comment or trackback and costs of enforcement; (b) if such comment or trackback is published on the publicly-accessible site, an additional fee of one dollar (US$1.00) per day per URL included in the comment or trackback for every day the comment or trackback remains publicly available, such fee to represent the value of publicity and search-engine placement advantages.

Giving The Devil His Due

And like that... he is gone (8)
Bateleur wrote: I tip my hat to you - not only for ... [more]

Law Firm Technology (5)
Len Cleavelin wrote: I find it extremely difficult to be... [more]

Post Exam Rant (9)
Tony the Pony wrote: Humbug. Allowing computers already... [more]

Symbols, Shame, and A Number of Reasons that Billy Idol is Wrong (11)
Adam wrote: Well, here's a spin on the theory o... [more]

I've Always Wanted to Say This: What Do You Want? (14)
gcr wrote: a nice cozy victorian in west phill... [more]

Choose Stylesheet

What I'm Reading

D.C. Noir

My city. But darker.
A Clockwork Orange

About time I read this...


Projects I've Been Involved With

A Round-the-World Travel Blog: Devil May Care (A new round-the-world travel blog, co-written with my wife)
Parents for Inclusive Education (From my Clinic)

Syndicated from other sites

The Columbia Continuum
Other Blogs by CLS students