A sequel focuses on an immortal figure behind economics.
This installment of Blanco’s (The Economics Muse I, 2017) supernatural yet educational series picks up in 17th-century Ireland. A surveyor named William Petty is busy measuring land when he comes across a curious woman. Petty soon learns this is no ordinary mortal but rather the sassy and savvy muse behind economic thought. Throughout human history, she has sought to aid thinkers in the art of the dismal science. She soon helps Petty understand concepts like the division of labor, though she has much more to do. She may venture through the horrors of the French Revolution and the East India Company yet her main focus in this volume is on Adam Smith. The man behind The Wealth of Nations, it turns out, got some help from a figure from ancient Greece. But not all who meet the muse are quite so lucky. Enter deadly creatures called Venusians. The Venusians, who appear as beautiful women, love to drink blood. They also really, really hate economists and the muse who inspires them. Will the muse be able to help humans understand their world while simultaneously fighting off merciless killers? The answer to that question plays out over pages of history that are painted with blood both real (the many victims of the guillotine) and imagined (humans unlucky enough to be targeted by the Venusians). The combination makes for quite a mix of the informative and the fantastical. Few who devour the book in its entirety will not learn something. For instance, most readers have some familiarity with the French Revolution but the narrative skillfully points out, in a digestible way, the many economic factors that led to the infamous upheaval. On the fantastical side, things can get somewhat overcomplicated. A large subplot involves Venusians having children with humans (hence creating hybrid offspring) and what the future holds for these kids. While such scenes amount to a break from, say, the finer points of opportunity cost, they are not quite as riveting as the more realistic horrors of the 18th century. Ultimately, the brutal impact of economics wins the day.
An economics tale that teaches many intriguing lessons in an entertaining, often violent way.