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Tomas Sedlacek

Economics of good and evil

In Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street Tomas Sedlacek finds economic concepts in a wide variety of sources - from ancient myths to the mathematical theories of today.

There are chapters on the epic of Gilgamesh, the Old and New Testaments, and the Ancient Greeks. the book then moves on to more recent thinkers, including Descartes, Bernard Mandeville and Adam Smith. In the second half of the book Sedlacek puts forward some of his own ideas on how we are too fixated on economic growth.

I was impressed by Sedlacek's ability to bring out the economics from ancient stories and philosophy, but less impress when it came his own ideas. Sedlacek seems to be one of those people who think that being anti-establisment is enough, but I expect anyone pointing out flaws in today's economics to suggest a coherent alternative. It's all very well suggesting that we should have sabbath years, but there's no suggestion as to how they would work in today's world. Sedlacek points out that there is more to Adam Smith than the invisible hand of the market, but doesn't seem to have got Smith's message that economics is complicated (which explains why it involves a lot of mathematics - something else Sedlacek complains about.)  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews