Tim Harford is a most interesting man. He has made the most dismal of the social sciences – economics – very accessible, entertaining and enlightening. Tim’s latest offering is titled Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy. In not-too-long chapters, he examines items as diverse as the dynamo, the barcode, the Billy bookcase from Ikea and the welfare state. He traces how they have contributed profoundly to the modern economy, and therefore, to our lives today.
It is chock-full of really interesting gems of information and it is a tribute to the ingenuity of so many people that the modern economy in all its complexity can prove so enlightening. It avoids value judgements – we can make up our own minds about that – but is just a trip into an Aladdin’s cave of social and economic change.
And if that’s not enough he has produced podcasts for each of the fifty things that accompany the book. They can be found here