ECONOMICS U$A by Edwin & Nariman Behravesh Mansfield


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A lengthy (593-page) companion piece to a 28-part PBS-TV series scheduled for fall broadcast. Mansfield (Univ. of Pennsylvania) and Behravesh (Wharton Econometrics) do a generally good job of explaining the principles of economics, but their progressive tilt may exasperate many readers. They cover a great deal of ground, starting with the basics of resource allocation and ending with a rundown on currency exchange rates. Along the way, they address such matters as business cycles, supply/demand forces, fiscal and monetary policy, inflation, the banking system, productivity, profits, interest, wage/price controls, federal budget deficits, the corporation, and international trade. The environment, poverty, the economic role of government, labor/management relations, and Keynesian economics are all accorded separate chapters. Scores of short-take case studies are scattered throughout the text. Examples range from contextual reviews of the Laffer and Phillips curves through a briefing on the guns-and-butter tradeoff. The authors' liberal instincts do emerge at critical junctures. A' the outset, the authors find fault with the price system on grounds it does not ensure either equitable or optimal distribution of income. Toward the close, they observe, ""There is considerable agreement that the government. . .should redistribute income in favor of the poor, provide public goods, and offset the effects of external economies and diseconomies."" Economics USA adds little if anything to economic lore. What it does do is package a mass of conventional wisdom, trendy opinion, historical perspectives, and statistical data into a comprehensible whole--no mean feat.

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 1986
Publisher: Norton