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–1 vote
So my brother is studying 'economics' in high school right now. My stomach dropped when he said he wanted to study it in college. I feel urged to provide something of a companion study course to debunk some points and introduce other ideas. For now I'm just going to go through his textbook and find some accessible points to talk with him about (he's definitely open to this).

..but, I was wondering if there was a book geared towards younger people that maybe frames its content in contrast to the prevailing economic theories. I've been reading through AFAQ which is great, but I don't think he'll want to spend the time reading it so I'm going to have to read it all, digest it, and present the ideas to my brother as we go through his textbook.

Any ideas? On technique? Or content? Anything that presents an easily accessible challenge to his economics book and also easily accessible alternative ideas? Just anything outside of the narrative being forced here.
by (2.5k points)
edited by
i don't know any books that are "anti-economics" per se. i hope others have more info about that. the closest thing i have any information about is something that refutes the mindset of economics but from a different direction. one that might not be directly linked enough to interest someone who wants to think about numbers and managing things. at any rate, my best guess would be to introduce him to popper or feyerabend, people who refute science: no particular book springs to mind.
(and i'll just throw vine deloria jr in there, because he's the best. :) )

good luck.
I wouldn't say it's for young people necessarily, but I read the book "Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences" by Steve Keen when I was 19 and understood it pretty well.

Also there's "The Conservative Nanny State" by Dean Baker...which more exposes how, inherently, professionals and corporations create institutions that benefit them (professional organizations like the AMA) at the cost of a 'truly competitive free market'...but are never the targets of economists. The conclusion, in my opinion, is that the author is asserting that economists focus on rent control, minimum wage, and trade agreements for a specific reason.
You might want to check out "Sacred Economics" by Charles Eisenstein. The full text is available online for free. I highly recommend it. Another is The Moneyless Manifesto by Mark Boyle, also available online for free.

edited: to add second book

1 Answer

0 votes
although it is surely not a comprehensive critique, one book i found quite useful many years ago in finding some starting points for rebuking the claims of free market economists was "when corporations rule the world" by david korten. i would also mention joseph stiglitz, a former chief economist of the world bank, who has since been pretty outspoken in his critique of free marketeers.

these are mainstream progressive folks, not anything approaching an anarchist perspective, but might help a bit in arming yourself against the mainstream of economic thought in today's world.
by (13.4k points)
There's also "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" and its successor, "A Game as Old as Empire", which both detail the myriad ways in which organizations like the IMF and World Bank have been used as economic weapons to the benefit of capitalists worldwide - though the former book might be inaccurate in some places, and of course the perspective is more along the lines of anti-corporatism or a critique of financial capital (as opposed to outright anti-capitalism).

I'm sure there's also a lot of points you could bring up about the inherent workings of capitalism and how those play out on a personal level. Economics tends to focus more on broad estimations and geopolitics rather than how that all actually plays out in peoples' lives.
What he is most likely going to be exposed to is Keynesian Economics. Where the field is treated as a positive, empirical science. I would direct him toward the science of Praxeology. There is a great essay called Praxeology: The Methodology of the Austrian School. In addition, I would recommend Human Action by Mises.

edited to make a comment.