In doing so, he demonstrates both the strengths and weaknesses we see in his blog.
One of these is a clarity of exposition. By economists’ standards – a low bar, admittedly – Tim writes very well, although some readers might find his snarkiness a little wearing. And there are some brilliant flourishes. His idiot cousin metaphor for comparative advantage verges on the genius.
And this is really rather what I hoped would be the reaction:
If I were an economics teacher, I’d recommend it as holiday reading for my students, in the hope that they’d see how textbook concepts can be used – and that my greener students will be stimulated to think more clearly.
So will it help someone like me who has very little understanding of economics learn enough about the key concepts so that I can hold my own against fluffy wuffy greeny lefties?
Tim adds: Yes, that’s pretty much the point of it. Deliberately aimed at those without economic educations but eneabling them to understand the arguments.
As Chris says, it’ll do better at the opposite of what SBML would prefer.
Right-wing arguments are either based on economics (broadly, the free-trade, low-tariffs side of things) or stupidity that won’t be corrected by understanding economics (War On Some Drugs Cos They’re Evil, War On Terra Firma Cos Brown Folks Are Evil, everything S. Palin says); while left-wingers have a regrettable suspicion of economics in favour of statist stupidity (Uncle Joe, etc), despite the fact that economics usually supports us.
I like the concept of the book and I’d love everyone on my side to read it, just as I’d love economics to be compulsory at high school. And I’m slightly miffed that Tim hasn’t mailed me a review copy…
Tim adds: Well, you see, you never use a real email addy. So I don’t know how to contact you in order to get your address for a review copy…..”[email protected]” I’m sure won’t work……..
“my greener students”: as in eco-fascists or as in naive buggers?
(These categories are not mutually exclusive.)
I don’t always agree with your politics, Tim, but good luck with the book anyway.
“despite the fact that economics usually supports us.”
Thanks for that, I haven’t laughed so much in days!
john b @ 2
“Right-wing arguments…..War On Terra Firma Cos Brown Folks Are Evil”
Er, just on a point of order, I can recall 2 wars during the Conservative tenure, Falklands & Gulf 1, both undertaken with limited & defined objectives.
Since then we’ve had former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan & Iraq none of which seem to have had any coherent rational apart from interfering in other’s affairs.
Correct me if I’m wrong but a Labour Government authored the last 3 plus of course a foray into Sierra Leone.
Tim, I hope the printers sort out the final chapter. I want to give it a proper review. I liked the book a lot, esp. the way you point out the issue of how forced recycling is a form of imposed cost.
And any book that mentions Bastiat automatically gets my vote.
Tim, I’m never going to buy your doubtless excellent book. Opportunity costs, and all that.
So don’t leave me in suspense: what is the idiot cousin metaphor?
Tim: [anything]@johnband.org. I normally use “john”. Would love one; sorry for sounding a bit petulant above. I thought you had my email after the Bloggers 2005 book, or whatever it ended up being called…
Pete: SL and Kosovo were both limited-scope wars that actually did good; one was dealing with something that directly affected Europe and needed to be erased (David Hicks’ memoir, much as he’s a massive arse, is worth a read – the former Yugoslavia conflict was a huge factor in driving domestic terrorism, by putting wide-eyed idealistic European studenty-left types who thought they’d have a go at being George-Orwell-in-Spain with veteran Mujahadeen who thought they hadn’t killed quite enough Russian-ish types yet), and one was the kind of post-colonial thing we still probably have the moral duty to sort out.
Meanwhile, Iraq and Afghanistan were right-wing wars driven by a fairly extreme right-wing government, which we tagged along with because of Special Relationship nonsense. I’d stake my life, your life, and the life of everyone I care about that we’d have still been in both Iraq and Afghanistan under a Tory government.
waits for john b to explain why Pol Pot was a nice man and why the Cultural Revolution was great foir China.