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A Hungry Economist Explains the World
Edible Economics brings the sort of creative fusion that spices up a great kitchen to the often too-disciplined subject of economics
For decades, a single, free-market philosophy has dominated global economics. But this intellectual monoculture is bland and unhealthy.
Bestselling author and economist Ha-Joon Chang makes challenging economic ideas delicious by plating them alongside stories about food from around the world, using the diverse histories behind familiar food items to explore economic theory. For Chang, chocolate is a lifelong addiction, but more exciting are the insights it offers into postindustrial knowledge economies; and while okra makes Southern gumbo heart-meltingly smooth, it also speaks of capitalism’s entangled relationship with freedom.
Myth-busting, witty, and thought-provoking, Edible Economics serves up a feast of bold ideas about globalization, climate change, immigration, austerity, automation, and why carrots need not be orange. It shows that getting to grips with the economy is like learning a recipe: when we understand it, we can adapt and improve it—and better understand our world.
"The only book I've ever read that made me laugh, salivate and re-evaluate my thoughts about economics – all at the same time. A funny, profound and appetising volume."—Brian Eno, composer
"A brilliant riposte to the myth that policymakers can survive on plain neoliberal fare. Edible Economics is a moveable feast of alternative economic ideas wrapped up in witty stories about food from around the world. Ha-Joon Chang proves yet again that he is one of the most exciting economists at work today."—Owen Jones
"A fascinating stew of food, history and economics."—Tim Spector
"Ha-Joon Chang has done it again. His prose delights and nourishes in equal measure. Somehow he manages to smuggle an urgent discussion of the relevance of economics to our daily lives into stories about food and cooking that are charming, funny and sweet (but never sour). In taking on the economic establishment, Chang is like a teddy bear savaging a rottweiler."—David Pilling
“[A] rollicking guide… Chang infuses the survey with food-related trivia (strawberries aren’t actually berries, South Koreans consume 10 times more garlic than Italians), covers an impressive swatch of economics, and concludes with a call that readers scrutinize, think imaginatively, and be open-minded in their quest for economic knowledge. Lay readers with a taste for the field will find plenty to savor.”—Publishers Weekly
“[A] good book.”—The Guardian
“Writing gamely and with admirable lucidity, Chang concludes with another metaphor, urging that ‘the best economists should be, like the best of the cooks, able to combine different theories to have a more balanced view’…It’ll help to have Econ 101 under your belt to appreciate this book, but it makes for fine foodie entertainment.”—Kirkus
“It will be unjust to readers if further description is given. But surely every chapter will excite them. In my case, it was like a roller-coaster ride that I finished in a breath, but its charm will stay forever.”—Prothom Alo English