Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism

Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism

By George A Akerlof and Robert J Shiller

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This text provides a picture of how a capitalist economy works, especially at the macro level. It considers eight questions about the working of the economy. This provides the background that is necessary to take on other questions about macroeconomic policy, finance, bankruptcy law, and others, and to begin to answer them.

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Book Information

Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 02/21/2010
Pages: 264
ISBN-13: 9780691145921
ISBN-10: 069114592X
Language: English

Full Description

From acclaimed economists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller, the case for why government is needed to restore confidence in the economy The global financial crisis has made it painfully clear that powerful psychological forces are imperiling the wealth of nations today. From blind faith in ever-rising housing prices to plummeting confidence in capital markets, "animal spirits" are driving financial events worldwide. In this book, acclaimed economists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller challenge the economic wisdom that got us into this mess, and put forward a bold new vision that will transform economics and restore prosperity. Akerlof and Shiller reassert the necessity of an active government role in economic policymaking by recovering the idea of animal spirits, a term John Maynard Keynes used to describe the gloom and despondence that led to the Great Depression and the changing psychology that accompanied recovery. Like Keynes, Akerlof and Shiller know that managing these animal spirits requires the steady hand of government--simply allowing markets to work won't do it. In rebuilding the case for a more robust, behaviorally informed Keynesianism, they detail the most pervasive effects of animal spirits in contemporary economic life--such as confidence, fear, bad faith, corruption, a concern for fairness, and the stories we tell ourselves about our economic fortunes--and show how Reaganomics, Thatcherism, and the rational expectations revolution failed to account for them. Animal Spirits offers a road map for reversing the financial misfortunes besetting us today. Read it and learn how leaders can channel animal spirits--the powerful forces of human psychology that are afoot in the world economy today. In a new preface, they describe why our economic troubles may linger for some time--unless we are prepared to take further, decisive action.

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