The Price of Fish A New Approach to Wicked Economics and Better Decisions by Michael Mainelli and Ian Harris

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The Price of Fish A New Approach to Wicked Economics and Better Decisions by Michael Mainelli and Ian Harris

Category: Business and Finance
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Chris Bradshaw
Reviewed by Chris Bradshaw
Summary: Why are overpopulation, sustainability, global warming, pensions and overfishing such tricky subjects to solve? Michael Mainelli and Ian Harris offer plenty of original ways to deal with some of the world's most intractable problems.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: September 2014
Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing
ISBN: 978-1857886221

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Don't be put off by the title. The Price of Fish isn't just a treatise on how the local fishmonger chooses to mark up his prize catch.

The fish of the title are a handy peg on which to hang on some serious economic thinking and in the process tackle some of the most pressing problems facing the world today.

The subtitle of The Price of Fish refers to 'wicked economics', a rewording of a phrase popularised by design theorists Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber in the 1970s. Their 'wicked problems' referred to hugely complex, long-term issues that are incredibly difficult to solve.

The modern-day 'wicked problems' referred to by authors Michael Mainelli and Ian Harris are sustainability, global warming, the pensions timebomb and over-fishing.

Taking fishing as an example the pair look at four separate streams – choice, economics, systems and evolution – and in the process take a whirlwind tour around many of the key areas of economic thinking today.

If you want a bitesize guide to chaos theory, probability, game theory, the wisdom of crowds, the fallibilty of prediction and much else besides then this is an excellent place to start.

A book full of academic ideas could of course be extremely dry but there are enough real world examples and entertaining anecdotes to keep the general reader onside. Just why do countries sell off the national silver? Is it better to live in a high trust or low trust country? It sounds obvious enough but it's not as simple as you'd think. What is an appropriate scope of government? How important is technology? Is government-backed research and development spending a good thing? Is tipping justified or even ethical?

The Price of Fish sets out to challenge policy makers make better decisions. Packed full of ideas that question the economic and political status quo, it certainly does that.

There's much for the lay reader to ponder too. Anyone who enjoyed Daniel Kahnemann's bestseller Thinking Fast and Slow will find plenty to enjoy in this.

If nothing else, The Price of Fish will give pause for thought the next time you chuck a packet of fish fingers into your supermarket trolley.

We can also recommend Free Lunch - Easily Digestible Economics by David Smith.

Buy The Price of Fish A New Approach to Wicked Economics and Better Decisions by Michael Mainelli and Ian Harris at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Price of Fish A New Approach to Wicked Economics and Better Decisions by Michael Mainelli and Ian Harris at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Price of Fish A New Approach to Wicked Economics and Better Decisions by Michael Mainelli and Ian Harris at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Price of Fish A New Approach to Wicked Economics and Better Decisions by Michael Mainelli and Ian Harris at Amazon.com.


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