Michael Goodwin

At their core, the models of the human economy have always been sketches of the real thing, at best. And economic practice (i.e. government policy) has always even further simplified these sketches when reasoning about what to do.

So why the heck shouldn't someone make a comic to explain the history of economics?

What this book delivers is highly enjoyable education. It has many gaps, but who would expect no emissions has no respect for the multi-dimensionality of the topic. Everyone always cuts it their own way, so let's leave Goodwin to his cuts. He tells a good story which must have been hard to carve out, with very nice illustrations from Dan Burr. I think the book does work as an introduction as well as a reference to come back to. Though it proceeds chronologically, I think the book is in essence two parts:

  1. An overview over economic thought and models ca. 1600 - 1850 (which leaves out a couple thousand years from the history of economics, actually)
  2. A brief US-centric history of market development and governmental tinkering with markets (and the corruption in between) ca. 1850 - 2012 (the viewpoint is always economic, but that actually serves as a pretty good viewpoint for actual history of mankind, just ask Marx, who gets around two pages)

The second part is much bigger than the first. Goodwin also has a strong anti-cooperation, anti-corruption, (U.S.) liberal view on recent history, but at least he is up-front about it.

A sidenote: It was interesting to get a new view on how the U.S. and U.S.S.R. economies are/were not only both "mixed economies" (not purely capitalist/communist), but the concentration of economic power, a very important dimension, was actually very comparable. I didn't know that it was (republican) president Eisenhower who coined the term military-industrial complex. It is amazing to think it still runs roughly like that 60 years later - just look at the current revelations how the NSA and its predecessors have always been using/abusing/creating corporations to connect economic goals to goverment goals which are heavily driven by war-speak.

# lastedited 25 Jul 2013
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