Author Q&A - Tim Harford

MT talks to Tim Harford about his latest book 'The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to run - or ruin - an economy.'

by Emma De Vita
Last Updated: 08 Oct 2013

BOOK: The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to run - or ruin - an economy

Little, Brown, £20.00

Q: What did you hope to achieve with The Undercover Economist Strikes Back?

My first book, The Undercover Economist, tried to explain microeconomics in an accessible way that was fun and easy to understand. I wanted to do the same for macroeconomics, which is actually what we think of when we think of economics.

Q: Who did you write the book for?

Anyone who is curious as to what it is that Stephanie Flanders and other economics commentators are really getting at. Why is it so difficult to run an economy, for example? Economics has become very political - there are lots of people telling us how the economy works, and many of them have an agenda. That's fine, and I have my own views, but I wanted to explain the arguments to people so they could make up their own minds.

Q: Tell MT more about the Q&A approach you've adopted

I was trying to find a way to write the book that reflected the weaknesses of economics, as well as its strengths. So I came up with the conceit that the reader has been invited to run the economy and I'm their adviser. It allows the reader to say: 'This is just jargon', or for them to sit on the fence - and sometimes economics is like that.

Q: What would you like readers to take away from your book?

To understand that there are different kinds of recessions, and that the argument that economists are having is about what kind we are experiencing now.

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