Economics Books Recommendation

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Hey, I have a month off and would like to learn more about economics. So far, The Economics of Central Banks is on my to-read list. It's written by Livio Stracco, he's a director at the European Central Bank, has a PhD in economics and an European law degree. The book is supposed to be a good guide on money and the central bank, and theories that are used for central banking. It's written for the masses but is based off of graduate school ideas. Finally, it even doubt central banks, by questioning if it's needed, which is a sign of an objective stance on a topic.

Know of anything else? I'd like to steer away from over-simplified books that are for the masses, as it's too simple to be useful and, if they acknowledge other positions, it'll be straw man arguments, which are designed to be overtaken, which shows that their argument is quite bad.

I really want answers to these questions:
  1. When the Fed says that they're printing money or buying money or raising or lowering interest rates, what does that mean and what would that do?
  2. How does foreign exchange work?
  3. On a macro-scale, how does the stock market, bond market, commodity market, and real estate market work? How do they affect each other?
... this post might be over the heads of this forum... but let's see!
 

southpaw

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Theoretical answers to 1. and 2. could be found in an intro econ and international econ textbook.

Practical answers to 3 may be better found reading annual investor reports for high net worth folks. For theoretical answers, I do not know of a book, at least one that predicts reality with any degree of certainty. Graduate school ideas are a great mental workout, but most theories built off of "...assuming rational markets, ..." don't quite work the same way in the real world. Else every econ grad student will be rolling around in money, no?

That said, I'm curious to know what you think of the book once you're done reading.
 
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Graduate school ideas are a great mental workout, but most theories built off of "...assuming rational markets, ..." don't quite work the same way in the real world. Else every econ grad student will be rolling around in money, no?

Not every practical business how-to guide that claims that it can teach its adherents how to become financially successful results in every adherent becoming financially successful either. The problem is not the graduate school abstraction. It’s that luck is required for financial success. Yes, hard work and diligence play a role too but so does being born in a capitalist country, in a capitalist time, with the trait of delayed gratification, knowledge of economics, having interests that’s rewarded by society so that it’ll result in profit, and so forth. The theory and what people do with the ideas and the results they get are 3 separate things. It doesn’t discredit the theory that not all of the people who learn it are rich and, in fact, that stance is absurd. Could knowing an idea reliable result in wealth similar to how Newton’s theory of gravity result in accurate predictions of objects falling? No. Such a notion is absurd. It’s just a type of anti intellectualism, as it’s served to discredit intellect. However, anti intellectuals are at the mercy of the forces that intelligent describes, as a stance of ignorance is not empowerment . I’m gonna read up on the theories. I recommend you too.
 
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Not a recommendation that answers one of your specific questions, but one of the best economics books I've read is "The Worldly Philosophers" by Robert L. Heilbroner. Should be right up your alley.
 
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Not a recommendation that answers one of your specific questions, but one of the best economics books I've read is "The Worldly Philosophers" by Robert L. Heilbroner. Should be right up your alley.
Interesting! At first glimpse, I thought you were recommending a book by L. Ron Hubbard but, no, Robert L. Heilbroner just has a similar looking name! Cool!

The books last chapter, that what the author calls "scientific" economics is causing an end to economics sounds interesting! I'm guessing this question doubt the posit of economics, that people are rational, and that economics could be built off of induction and deduction from that foundational belief. Sounds edgy!
 

bernard

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I've heard good things about "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" by Thomas Piketty.

Now obviously Piketty is a leftist and probably a marxist, but his fundamental claim that growth of capital returns has far outpaced growth on salaries in the 21th century is something to really understand.

We had a discussion about debt recently. I believe that the real key to wealth now is to fight tooth and nails for free capital to use in real estate and various other capital intensive assets.

I studied Economics by the way, before I dropped out for online marketing.
 
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+1 for Hazlitt's Economics in one lesson
The problem with that book is that it assumes that GDP is the ultimate indicator of "good" economic policy. While having a free market might produce the most GDP possible for a country as a whole, is that actually good? What about happiness and the welfare of the people in that country? What about the social stability of that country, which the market requires in order to exist? Jealousy is real and a jealous, angry underclass who have nothing to lose is a danger to any country. We've seen this time and time again, as they're susceptible to extremist rhetoric, from the left and right.

Also, market failures are real and the free market will never produce things such as parks or account for things such as pollution. Having a totally free market is not real similar to how having a totally centrally controlled economy is not real. Both idealizations are false and lead to bad policies.

With that being said, I did buy the book, which seems cool. The Austrian school of economics is way different than the Frankfurt school.
I've heard good things about "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" by Thomas Piketty.

Now obviously Piketty is a leftist and probably a marxist, but his fundamental claim that growth of capital returns has far outpaced growth on salaries in the 21th century is something to really understand.

We had a discussion about debt recently. I believe that the real key to wealth now is to fight tooth and nails for free capital to use in real estate and various other capital intensive assets.

I studied Economics by the way, before I dropped out for online marketing.
That's the whole point of the capitalist system and having capital. Money is a form of power and you can use it to have people work for you so that you can generate more money. Before, power was God given, in terms of divine rights for the king or lord. Now, power is obtained by acquiring capital or democratically elected offices. Piketty makes an interesting argument, that after 250 years of capitalism inequality is getting to globally unstable levels, but I doubt conclusions from his book, which are abstracted to the global level, could be used for individual decision making.