It’s all a bit of a coincidence, in fact a series of them, that this is about to happen. But one of my books is about to be printed in Farsi. The translation is done, the text has passed the censorship committee – yes, this is in Farsi inside Iran.
The advance is $0, the royalty an equally massive $0 so not something I think I’ll be able to retire upon. Still, will have a copy to put on the bookcase which is nice.
And the intro to this edition (first time I’ve been able to even imply that there’s more than one edition to one of my books) is:
The standard definition of economics is that it’s about “the allocation of scarce resources”. We live in a universe where there’s less of many things than we’d like. Food, land, minerals, human labour, the resources with which we can do things. Economics is, in that standard description, how we organise the world so that we can get the maximum out of the system for that limited, even if very large, amount that we can put in.
This is true but it’s also, at a deeper level, not quite so. Economics is really about how we humans react to, try to deal with, that scarcity of resources. In this sense it is not like physics or chemistry at all. If Homo Sapiens were different from what we are then economics would be different. Chemistry and physics aren’t going to change by one full stop let alone one line whatever we believe about them or however we act.
The entire subject of economics therefore rests upon human fallibility – one of those few things the universe has not left us with a shortage of. It’s thus useful to consider what we often or collectively get wrong about that human behaviour. Which is what this book is about. It’s only small attempt, baby steps if you like. But there are things which are widely believed about economics which turn out not to be true in an economics concerning human beings. Things which are believed to be true but which are not are fallacies. So, here are 20 of those things that many think describe our human interaction with that regrettable scarcity of resources but turn out not actually to be so.
By far the greatest cause of poverty in this modern world is bad economic policy. So, best we all get to grips with the ideas that are wrong then, no?