The global financial crisis has made it painfully clear that powerful psychological forces are imperiling the wealth of nations today. From blind faith in ever-rising housing prices to plummeting confidence in capital markets, "animal spirits" are driving financial events worldwide. In this book, acclaimed economists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller challenge the economic wisdom that got us into this mess, and put forward a bold new vision that will transform economics and restore prosperity.
Akerlof and Shiller reassert the necessity of an active government role in economic policymaking by recovering the idea of animal spirits, a term John Maynard Keynes used to describe the gloom and despondence that led to the Great Depression and the changing psychology that accompanied recovery. Like Keynes, Akerlof and Shiller know that managing these animal spirits requires the steady hand of government--simply allowing markets to work won't do it. In rebuilding the case for a more robust, behaviorally informed Keynesianism, they detail the most pervasive effects of animal spirits in contemporary economic life--such as confidence, fear, bad faith, corruption, a concern for fairness, and the stories we tell ourselves about our economic fortunes--and show how Reaganomics, Thatcherism, and the rational expectations revolution failed to account for them.
Animal Spirits offers a road map for reversing the financial misfortunes besetting us today. Read it and learn how leaders can channel animal spirits--the powerful forces of human psychology that are afoot in the world economy today.
Ultimately an uninteresting idea
The description of the book the store provides is accurate.
The authors seem to think individual suffering based on "animal spirits" is something government can fix. The authors actually say something very close to, " Capitalism doesn't just sell people what they really want, it sells them what they think they want," and goes-on to say that government has the ability, and an obligation, to fix that. As is so often the case, the authors are confused about the concept of "economic justice," finding their desires to be more convincing than experimental outcomes - at least to themselves.
It seems Keynes was almost right, or was actually right if we just understood him a little more deeply and applied lessons learned from human irrationality.
They don't even seem to blush while admitting that bureaucrats were wrong (no sense of justice) while arguing for more bureaucratic controls.
I don't like being negative about someone's work without saying something nice and so I'll say that the sentences were coherent and the book was listenable even if the content was highly pointless.
On the other hand, it's psychobabble parading itself as some sort of legitimate expansion of Economic theory.
Waste neither the time nor the money.