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Beyond The Invisible Hand: Groundwork For A New Economics is a book that encourages its readers to question the underlying basis of modern economic thought and proves that creating a more equitable society is what we should strive for.
Summary Of The Book
Beyond The Invisible Hand: Groundwork For A New Economics pokes at one of the core principles underlying modern economics. The principle is that, under certain conditions, if individuals pursued self-interests, it would result in social good, as though planned by an invisible hand. This principle, which was first put forth by the great economist Adam Smith, has been wrongly applied to economic scenarios over the past two centuries. It has been contorted, taken out of context, and treated as the basis for the free-market theory.
In this book, Kaushik Basu tackles the misrepresentation of Smith’s philosophy and bluntly explains the implications of taking this philosophy out of context. He argues that today, our knowledge of how economies work, why some economies succeed and others fail, and what the nature and role of state intervention might be, is hampered by this misrepresentation. He draws upon Kafka’s view, in which individuals who pursue self-interests without a guiding moral compass create a miserable and mean world, and compares this to the view of the invisible hand. He calls for a shift in attention from an economy that’s efficient to an economy that’s fair.
Kaushik Basu bluntly reminds his readers that, by ignoring the role of custom and culture, traditional economics reinforces the misconception that the current system is the only viable system. In actuality though, this system would be viable to only those who fit into the ways of this system.
Beyond The Invisible Hand: Groundwork For A New Economics makes its readers think and question the basis of modern economic thought. It also suggests that we can all strive towards creating a more equitable society.
About Kaushik Basu
Kaushik Basu is an economist who is currently the Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank.
He is the author of The Concise Oxford Companion to Economics in India, An Economist’s Miscellany, India’s Emerging Economy: Performance and Prospects in the 1990s and Beyond, and The Less Developed Economy: A Critique of Contemporary Theory.
Kaushik was born in the year 1952 in Kolkata, India. After having attended St. Xavier’s Collegiate School, he studied Economics (Honors) at St. Stephen’s College. He then went on to graduate with an M.Sc. in Economics from the London School of Economics. He fell in love with the concept of deductive reasoning and logic and thus stayed back at the prestigious school to receive his Ph.D. He then took up lectureships and professorships at various schools and universities, such as Reading University, Delhi School of Economics, and Cornell University. He served at the Ministry of Finance, India, as the Chief Economic Adviser, and was later appointed as the Chief Economist at World Bank. He is a columnist with Business Standard, Hindustan Times, and BBC News Online. He is the recipient of the Padma Bhushan, Doctorate of Humane Letters from Fordham University, and The National Mahalanobis Memorial Medal.