Economist’s fiscal followup

Freakonomics author Tim Harford looks at how the large-scale economic world really works in The Undercover Economist Strikes Back.

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Clare Dight “Trust me, I’m an economist” is the title of the BBC series that author and economist Tim Harford used to present in 2006 before the world financial crisis hit and the words “trust” and “economist” became even more unlikely partners. It was on this show, however, that Harford perfected the art of making economics relevant to everyday life and in the process persuaded more people that economics really matters.

The Undercover Economist Strikes Back is the sequel to the bestselling The Undercover Economist and, in it, Harford turns his attention from micro to macroeconomics. Its publication could not be more timely, as Harford explains quantitative easing with the help of the “recession” in the early 1970s Capitol Hill Babysitting Cooperative and supply and demand thanks to carmaker Henry Ford’s five-dollar workday. Some will find Harford’s light-hearted explanatory style patronising, but given the way that the world’s major economies seem to have taken on the role of mercilessly unpredictable Greek gods, many will be grateful for his insights.