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Edible Economics: A Hungry Economist Explains the World

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But this is bland and unhealthy - like British food in the 1980s, when bestselling author and economist Ha-Joon Chang first arrived in the UK from South Korea. Often, it goes a bit off-tangent from the beginning of chapters and you end up in an entirely different plane. El autor es un economista partidario de un capitalismo regulado y sustentable, pero un gran detractor de las premisas neoliberales que han sido dominantes en las últimas décadas.

I'm usually a slow reader, but I managed to finish this in just two sittings, not only because it's under 200 pages but also because I was curious to know what strawberries had to do with automation and how okra was affected by colonisation and slavery. Myth-busting, witty and thought-provoking, Edible Economics shows that getting to grips with the economy is like learning a recipe: if we understand it, we can change it - and, with it, the world. Taking the example of the humble anchovy, he tells us how the raw materials based economies were ruined by the surge of synthetic substitutes, as happened to guano, rubber, and dyes, on which economies such as Peru's, Brazil's and Guatemala's were dependent on to prosper, and how this can happen again (and why). This book is 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.Chang does say upfront that this is what he’s going to do – that this isn’t a book about the economics of food per se, but a restatement of his core arguments, with culinary anecdotes functioning as treats to keep the reader interested. My food stories are a bit like the ice cream that some of your mums may have offered to ‘bribe’ you to eat your ‘greens’ – except that in this book ice cream comes first, the greens later (what a deal! Chang dismisses alternative economic models – those based on commodity exports, or on services – rather quickly. Government services: the IRS has ancient technology as do air traffic controllers - all thanks to our government leaders. As with a Church of England sermon, it’s easy to chuckle at the artless way in which the points are sometimes brought in, – “In a very real sense, isn’t the carrot rather like a patent system?

The only book I've ever read that made me laugh, salivate and re-evaluate my thoughts about economics – all at the same time.But some of them work much better than others: the train of thought from spices to shareholder value runs along quite smoothly, but elsewhere the narrative shifts from chicken to the welfare system with all the elegance of a Eurovision key-change.

Of course, the author is not an historian and neither is he a sociologist, and his explanations are going to be simplified for the sake of readability, clarity, and brevity too, as this is a short book. This book isn't about the economy of food production from planting to the market's shelf but about worldwide economics explained through food, a clever concept that makes economics accessible for the layperson.

The author also likes referring back to other chapters in the book which I thought was unnecessary and slightly chaotic. Autor najpierw zajmuje się tematem kulinarnym, by następnie przejść do konkretnego zagadnienia ekonomicznego. I've been in a bit of a rut with my reading and this non-fiction book caught my attention (extra kudos regarding the cover design) . This is the same egomania that underlined Stalin and Mao’s collectivization drives that killed millions. Each chapter picks up a food item, talks about a certain aspect of how it evolved over time and concludes with what economic lesson we learn from it.

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