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The Progressive Economics Forum

Economics for Everyone

I’m surprised that Jim Stanford has not made a plug for his new book on this site. A modest one, our Jimbo. So let me say a few words about Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism.

Jim has outdone himself on this one. So many times I have had people ask me for a straightforward book that explains economics, and I’ve usually had to refer them to an intro textbook or one of Paul Krugman’s books, but usually with some trepidation. No longer. Jim has literally written the book, making economics accessible for a wide audience, along with a healthy serving of Jim’s wit and wisdom. In fact, calling a 339-page book “short” demonstrates Jim’s unique sense of humour right on the book’s cover.

It is important that the word “capitalism” appears on the cover, too. Too much of our discourse is based on the abstraction of “the economy” or “the market”. Jim names the economic system we have and talks about how it works, the good and the bad. He starts with basic concepts and principles then weaves his way through lots of real-world economics and policy issues. By the end he takes stock of modern capitalism and suggests some renovations.

For those of you in Ottawa, Jim will be on hand on Monday night for a book launch. Click here for details. Podcast of the Toronto launch is available here. Copies of the book are available from the CCPA. And there is also an Economics for Everyone web site at

Here’s the official pitch:

Economics is too important to be left to the economists. Economics for Everyone is a brilliantly concise and readable book provides non-specialist readers with all the information they need to understand how capitalism works (and how it doesn’t).

Jim Stanford’s book is an antidote to the abstract and ideological way that economics is normally taught and reported. Key concepts such as finance, competition and wage labour are explored, and their importance to everyday life is revealed.

Illustrated with humorous and educational cartoons by Tony Biddle, this book will appeal to those working for a fairer world, and students of social sciences who need to engage with economics.

Most important, Economics for Everyone will be backed by a comprehensive set of web-based instructional materials – including a course outline, lecture notes, student exercises, and a glossary, all available for free on the web. This book can thus be part of a broader, ready-made popular economics course for unionists, activists, and just plain regular concerned individuals.

Enjoy and share:


Comment from Paul T.
Time: June 20, 2008, 2:11 pm

He has definitely done a commendable job on filling in a cultural gap that had doggedly been hanging around for quite some time.

Given the style and artistic endeavors, I will say it has that needed blend to make such a seemingly dismal subject matter quite approachable and in many ways entertainingly informative. Given the targeted audience, I would say it is not just a simple book, but a finely crafted piece of art that will breath in the discomforted and confused and push them in a proper direction.

I do like the naming names approach as well. The stage is well lit, the characters are identified and defined quickly and they deliver their lines quite clearly.

Great job Jim.S.

Paul t.

Comment from janfromthebruce
Time: June 20, 2008, 2:57 pm

Sweet – an economist who speaks to me!

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