Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo are masters of their subject. In Good Economics for Hard Times they examine the most pressing issues for human kind (climate, international trade, unemployment, migration) and while doing so they debunk a great number of fake facts surrounding these topics. Notably, contrary to popular believe migration is not on the rise and migrants do not steal jobs of the natives. Universal basic income does not make people stop working and lower tax rates do not keep the growth rate high, on the contrary, there’s high correlation between low tax rates and high level of inequality.1
The book is humble and honest, admitting the wrongs economists made in a latest attempt to regain the public trust in their profession. Every chapter sheds the much needed light on the ever more important topics that will shape our future and the authors focus on the most vulnarble - poor, old, or otherwise disstressed people.
Banerjee and Duflo don’t refrein from sharing their views and politics. They want government schemas to help people move to areas with better jobs, to help them with changing professions if their field of work is on decline, and to provide the support universally as any conditions to the schemas tend to often unintentionally exclude people that need the help the most.
The human need for respect and sense of self-worth is what sticked with me the most. Poor or otherwise disadvantaged people don’t need only financial help but also sense of being worthy and having purpose to their life.
- Comparative Advantage - the idea that countries should do what they are relatively best at doing. Oposed to Absolute advantage it suggests that even if one country is absolutely best at producing everything it will still end up specializing in the product where they have comparative advantage.
Title: Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems
Author: Abhijit V. Banerjee, Esther Duflo