George Akerlof and Rachel Kranton
This book is a solid five, and one of those instances when brevity adds value. While I was concerned to see no discussion of “true cost” economics and the book is overly fawning on Goldman Sachs (written before Goldman Sachs was exposed for its multiple fiscal crimes against both investors and governments), the superior References, Notes, and Acknowledgements balanced this out. This work began in 1995.
This is an engrossing book and it immediately overcame my general disdain for economists, most of whom have only recently discovered information asymmetries and most of whom refuse to recognize that corruption in the US government and cheating across the US economy is fully the equivalent of transnational organized crime in cost to society.
Overall I consider this book very useful as both an overview (with most impressive “by name” citation of prior art on every page) and as a critique of conventional economics. This book is an excellent complement to the book I just reviewed, The Hidden Wealth of Nations and will be complemented by the book I will review next week, Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs. See also my review of Nobel-worthy The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Revised and Updated 5th Anniversary Edition: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits.
Core concept: IDENTITY is actualized psychological norms within a social context.
QUOTE (page 8): Identity economics restores human passions and social institutions into economics.”