Beyond Mechanical Markets: Asset Price Swings, Risk, and the Role of the State

Beyond Mechanical Markets: Asset Price Swings, Risk, and the Role of the State

Hardback

By (author) Roman Frydman, By (author) Michael D. Goldberg

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  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 163mm x 236mm x 30mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 27 February 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New Jersey
  • ISBN 10: 0691145776
  • ISBN 13: 9780691145778
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 397,760

Product description

In the wake of the global financial crisis that began in 2007, faith in the rationality of markets has lost ground to a new faith in their irrationality. The problem, Roman Frydman and Michael Goldberg argue, is that both the rational and behavioral theories of the market rest on the same fatal assumption - that markets act mechanically and economic change is fully predictable. In "Beyond Mechanical Markets", Frydman and Goldberg show how the failure to abandon this assumption hinders our understanding of how markets work, why price swings help allocate capital to worthy companies, and what role government can and can't play. The financial crisis, Frydman and Goldberg argue, was made more likely, if not inevitable, by contemporary economic theory, yet its core tenets remain unchanged today. In response, the authors show how imperfect knowledge economics, an approach they pioneered, provides a better understanding of markets and the financial crisis. Frydman and Goldberg deliver a withering critique of the widely accepted view that the boom in equity prices that ended in 2007 was a bubble fueled by herd psychology. They argue, instead, that price swings are driven by individuals' ever-imperfect interpretations of the significance of economic fundamentals for future prices and risk. Because swings are at the heart of a dynamic economy, reforms should aim only to curb their excesses. Showing why we are being dangerously led astray by thinking of markets as predictably rational or irrational, Beyond Mechanical Markets presents a powerful challenge to conventional economic wisdom that we can't afford to ignore.

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Author information

Roman Frydman is professor of economics at New York University. Michael D. Goldberg is the Roland H. O'Neal Professor at the University of New Hampshire. They are the coauthors of "Imperfect Knowledge Economics" (Princeton).

Review quote

Finalist for the 2011 Paul A. Samuelson Award, TIAA-CREF One of Financial Times (FT.com) non-fiction favourites commended by Martin Wolf, FT chief economics commentator, for 2011 "The debate over how to re-regulate [markets and banks] to avoid another financial crisis is urgent and it cannot conclude without resolving the problem that economics' most basic assumption is flawed. [Beyond Mechanical Markets is one] of the most interesting contributions [to] find a new way to model markets."--John Authers, Financial Times "[Beyond Mechanical Markets] marshals a powerful argument that's bolstered by empirical reality: the eternal failures of mechanical forecasting; the sheer difficulty of beating the market with consistency; the unforeseeable ways that history unfolds... [It's approach] seeks to reach beneficial outcomes through flexible, empirical response to [changing] conditions."--Robert Teitelman, Huffington Post "[A] groundbreaking look at how to tame asset booms and busts... [O]f all the books I've read on the crisis that began in 2007, this one comes closest to laying foundation for a more pragmatic and genuinely useful school of economics."--James Pressley, Bloomberg News "[Beyond Mechanical Markets points to] a new international order [that] can save lives and stop currencies collapsing."--Anatole Kaletsky, The Times "[Beyond Mechanical Markets]'s criticisms are potent and its suggestions intriguing. It would be a pity if they were ignored by economists too busy working on their next theory of everything."--Keyur Patel, Financial World "The argument of this original and important book is that ... economic models still used by central banks and others are seriously misleading and basically useless in dealing with a real world in which individuals are making imperfect and unpredictable interpretations of economic events... The authors' practical recommendations for policy are interesting and they can hardly be accused of a lack of boldness."--Graham Bannock, Central Banking.com "In their provocative and fascinating new book ... Frydman and Goldberg's achievement ... as in their earlier work, is to enlarge the economist's toolkit and to show that there is something useful to be said about uncertainty after all."--Kevin D. Hoover, Journal of Economic Methodology

Flap copy

"This important book addresses fundamental questions about macroeconomic and financial modeling that too often are sidestepped. It challenges assumptions that are routinely made, both by orthodox theory and by popular 'behavioral' alternatives; still more provocatively, it proposes a way forward, under which economic analysis remains possible, though shorn of some of its pretensions. These are issues with which all students of macroeconomics and finance will have to grapple, and Frydman and Goldberg provide a lively and impassioned opening to what will surely prove one of the crucial debates of our time."--Michael Woodford, author of "Interest and Prices" "This is a brilliant, subtle, and powerful book, by far the best work of economic theory that the global financial crisis has yet produced. If any account deserves to rescue formal economics from the dead end that it has reached, and restore the connection between what economists tell you and what actually happens, this is it."--Robert Skidelsky, author of "Keynes: Return of the Master" "The economy is not just mechanical; much change is nonroutine. In turn, many important economic decisions are also nonroutine. Based on this insight, Frydman and Goldberg give us a new theory of the business cycle. In market after market, they convincingly argue its realism. What's more, "Beyond Mechanical Markets" gives us a doctor's prescription for dampening--and possibly even avoiding altogether--the next economic crisis."--George A. Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics "This book is a milestone. It breaks important new ground in the refoundation that macroeconomics and finance so badly need. The authors' rereading of Keynes will come as a revelation both to Keynesians and behavioralists ."--Edmund S. Phelps, Nobel Laureate in Economics "The year 2008 saw not only financial failure but the failure of an idea, the economic theory in which financial markets are mechanically determined to settle at equilibrium and economically efficient prices. Roman Frydman and Michael Goldberg demonstrate clearly the fallacy of that idea. Their powerful analysis provides insights which can help us reduce the probability and severity of future crises."--Adair Turner, chairman of Britain's Financial Services Authority ""Beyond Mechanical Markets" is a potential turning point in economics. Frydman and Goldberg offer a view that is not only new but almost certainly correct--and that has far-reaching implications. After reading "Beyond Mechanical Markets," other economics books seem old-fashioned."--Richard Robb, Columbia University