by: Paul Craig Roberts
July 30, 2012
The problem with reading a book to learn economics that is taught in the universities and practiced in Washington, is that economics is now a highly formalized subject based on abstract models and assumptions and has been mathematized.
It is not that the subject is totally useless and without any applicability to real world problems. Rather, the problem is that the discipline both lags an ever-changing world and got some things wrong at the beginning. Consequently, learning economics places one inside a box where some of the tools and understanding provided are outdated and incorrect.
For example, every textbook will draw a picture of agriculture as the perfect example of competitive markets in which “no producer’s output is large enough to affect price.” This made sense when one-third of the US work force was on family farms.