Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Undercover Economist strikes back by Tim Harford

            I recently finished reading “The Undercover economist strikes back” by an English writer Tim Harford. Tim has an education in economics from Oxford University.  Although not very well known outside England is quite popular in it, mainly as a columnist for Financial Times newspaper.
          Aim of the book was to bring macroeconomics a little bit closer to a non-economist in an entertaining fashion.  The book is written like a dialogue between the writer and reader, based on real life examples.  The way topics are presented it has a lot of similarities with  “Irrational Exuberance” by Robert J. Shiller.
          Modern economy for general public is increasingly focusing on psychology, how people react and behave. As example acceptance of the wages falling in real terms, while growing in nominal ones – “money illusion”.  Tom continues on about Bank of England commenting: “ Public trust in the pound is now maintained by the operation of monetary policy”, apparently with a totally straight face.   This basically means that most of modern currencies worth something as long as people believe in it.
          The worrying fact is being a influential economist in his own country the author is advocating having inflation at about 4%, this would help to maintain nominal growth of salaries about zero.