Twitterstorm delong: January 14, 2012
Quote of the Day: January 15, 2012: The Scourge of God

Department of "Huh?!": Partha Dasgupta's "Economics: A Very Short Introduction" Reviews Edition

A correspondent informs me that UCLA's Stephen Bainbridge really, really, really hates a book I have assigned for Econ 1 this semester--Partha Dasgupta's Economics: A Very Short Introduction:

1.0 out of 5 stars: Very disappointing, September 25, 2007: By Stephen M. Bainbridge "www.professorbainbridg... (Los Angeles, CA USA):

If you're looking for a VSI to Econ 101 and 102, skip this book. The treatment of microeconomic basics consists of exactly 14 pages. Macroeconomic theory gets a whopping 4 pages. The rest consists mainly of a political tract on wealth and poverty. It's the first VSI whose title amounts to a misrepresentation.

This is one of these: "one of us is crazy, and it ain't me…" moments.

A VSI can't be something you read instead of reading an Economics course textbook. That's not a task that can be accomplished, or should be attempted. E:AVSI does something very different, and does it superbly:

5.0 out of 5 stars: Why I Assign This Book to Freshmen, January 15, 2012: By James Bradford Delong "brad_delong" (Berkeley, CA USA):

This is a game theorist's short introduction to economics. It focuses on: individual goals, individual opportunities and constraints, individual incentives, strategies, exchange, trust, and equilibrium outcomes.

It is, of course, greatly concerned with wealth and poverty--that is, after all, the point of the discipline of economics: it is an inquiry into nature and causes of the wealth of nations.

You won't find lots of practice figuring out how price and quantity change in response to demand shocks or calculating multipliers. What you will find is the logic and rationale for why figuring out how price and quantity change in response to demand shocks or calculating multipliers is a worthwhile thing to do.

Definitely five stars.

I must say, the logic of Bainbridge escapes me. It's like a one-star restaurant review that says: "I ordered the duck, and it tasted nothing at all like tofu surprise!"