This book presents, or rather “re-presents”, the intricacies of a developing economy in the light of recent theoretical developments in economics while also providing a fresh perspective on the perceived inadequacies of the discipline in addressing the discontents of the contemporary global economic order.
The book argues that there is scope for economics to be a more humane discipline and more relevant to contemporary economic problems by embracing new ideas, including those from other disciplines. It attempts to show how economic concepts and theories can be contextualised to help better understand real-life economic phenomena; how to rethink the ways in which the market economy can address the moral issues of human wellbeing and social justice; and, overall, how the study of economics and public discourses on economic issues can be made more engaging as well as more relevant to the problems of developing countries. Based on public lectures given by the author in Dhaka, and using illustrations from Bangladesh, India and other countries, the book offers an authoritative understanding of diverse economic realities by taking a fresh look at the familiar.
Comprehensive and accessible, the book will be of interest to students and researchers of economics, development economics and policy, sociology and business studies as well as to journalists, public intellectuals and policymakers in developing countries.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements. 1. Introduction 2. Thinking Like an Economist, Especially in a Less Developed Country 3. The Ethical Basis of Economic Theory and Practice 4. Institutions, Morality Norms and Development 5. Amartya Sen’s Ideas in the Context of Socio-Economic Progress of Bangladesh 6. Is there an Economics of Social Business? Index.
Wahiduddin Mahmud (PhD in economics, University of Cambridge) is a former Professor of Economics at the University of Dhaka and is currently Chairman, Economic Research Group, Dhaka. He is also affiliated with International Growth Centre at the London School of Economics and is on the Board of the Global Development Network. He was a member of the UN Committee for Development Policy and has held visiting research positions at the World Bank, UN Development Programme (UNDP), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. He was a member of the caretaker government of Bangladesh in charge of the ministries of finance and planning.
"At the same time short and sweeping, this book by Wahiduddin Mahmud is a remarkable survey and critique of modern economics. What makes the book special is the author’s novel perspective which allows for the possibility of breaking tradition and writing a full description of economics using the developing country as a template, since such countries capture a broader canvas of life, from the informal bazaars to modern malls and financial markets. With allusions to literature, psychology and anthropology, and sprinkled with illustrations from Bangladesh, India and other economies, Mahmud’s book is a pleasure to read."
Kaushik Basu, Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies, Cornell University
"In rich, provocative, contextualized, personalized, and lucid narratives, Wahiduddin Mahmud raises serious questions in his book that call for a rethinking of the subject matter of economics, especially from a developing country perspective. Instead of treating the Western construct of the market paradigm as impersonal and impervious, he seeks to broaden and humanize the focus of economics by drawing upon ground realities that interact and intervene to shape economic behavior and outcomes. By integrating concepts that draw upon the broader canvas of the social sciences—trust, cooperation, ethics, morality, social justice, law, etc.—Mahmud offers a more eclectic economics that has the potential to make a significant difference for policy making and impacting lives and livelihoods. With analyses that are incisive, critical, and yet, constructive and insightful, the book is a "must read" for students of economics and business studies as well as policymakers and practitioners."
Syed Saad Andaleeb, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Black School of Business, Pennsylvania State University