August 31st, 2008

eyes black and white

Economic Thinking Applies To Your Life

People in the know understand that Economics is a point of view on human behavior, and not the field of the statistical study of monetary transactions. Ever since the Armchair Economist, there has been a trend for books that demonstrate how Economic Thinking applies to the study of random social phenomena. In his book Discover Your Inner Economist, Tyler Cowen shows how it applies to your own everyday life. Unlike say Harry Browne in How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World, Cowen doesn't use Economic Thinking to address the big questions of one's life. But that's probably a sound choice in many ways. Firstly, it allows Cowen to illustrate how Economic Thinking applies to many topics without having to confront the distortion fields created by religions, ideologies and other past and present strains of the Synopsis. The reader may or may not make the effort to subsequently formalize such Economic Thinking and apply it to other topics -- Cowen provides a gentle introduction. Secondly, Cowen might or might not have many new ideas on the big questions, that have already been discussed in writing, and about which he may not have great life-transforming experiences to tell. Instead he contributes interesting and useful original material by addressing simple issues in which he has been personally involved first-hand for years: how to best enjoy culture, family, health, food, giving. If you enjoy reading, these issues may talk to you.