Samir Amin recently wrote a review (that appears here, and originally here) of The Economics Anti-Textbook and Ha-Joon Chang's 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism, a book that I'm just starting to read now. It was certainly nice to read Amin's first sentence: "Every honest economics teacher absolutely must make the book written by Rod Hill and Tony Myatt ... compulsory reading for their students, fed almost exclusively on the conventional textbooks that are prescribed reading."
Amin's essay contains many of his own observations about how both books could have gone further, and is well worth reading.
For an introduction to Ha-Joon Chang's book, you can listen to him giving a talk about the book's themes here.
Perhaps something interesting is about to happen to challenge the quiet system of tax avoidance and evasion that has been allowed to develop in recent decades around the world. I think it's fair to say that this system has been studiously ignored in the economics textbooks at all levels -- something that I will try to document in the near future -- and it gets little play in the corporate-owned media, naturally enough.
In a recent article in The Nation, Johann Hari (who writes for The Independent in London and for Slate.com) describes how UK Uncut came about. The concept has since spread to many places: there's Canada Uncut, US Uncut, Australia Uncut, among others.
What I like about this new 'Uncut' movement is that it's not just opposing regressive cuts to public spending, but it's pointing to where the money is that isn't being paid to public treasuries to support public services. After all, the plutocracy doesn't like paying taxes and have been quite skillful in avoiding doing so. Naming names and taking public action might prove quite effective. In the USA, Warren Buffet and his companies might be a good target. In a recent piece, "Warren Buffet wants your taxes", the indefatigable David Cay Johnston (author of Perfectly Legal and Free Lunch, great books about corporate plunder of the public purse) writes "Legendary Omaha investor Warren Buffett loves stuffing tax dollars into his pockets, which means that money never gets to schools, police, and libraries." Johnston then details how Buffet uses accounting tricks and lax regulation to pocket tens of millions in corporate income tax revenues that should be paid to government.
We (Rod Hill and Tony Myatt) are professors of economics at the University of New Brunswick and the authors of "The Economics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Microeconomics" (Zed Books, London & New York; Fernwood Books, Halifax & Winnipeg, 2010). The 2011 Indian edition is published by Books for Change (Bangalore). A Chinese-language edition has been published by Shiwenbooks, Beijing. We'll use this blog as a place to post discussion with readers of our book. We'll also use it to write further about economics textbooks and their content, as well as about new books coming out that critique textbook economics.
Feel free to write to us at rodntony [AT] gmail.com.