Edible Economics: A Hungry Economist Explains the World

Ha-Joon Chang / Non-Fiction

Book cover

UK Publisher

Penguin Press

US Publisher

PublicAffairs

Date Published

October 20th, 2022

Translations

Brazilian (Companhia Das Letras)
Chinese complex characters (Sun Color)
Chinese simplified (Gingko)
Czech (Host)
Danish (Klim)
Dutch (Nieuw Amsterdam)
Greek (S. Patakis)
Hungarian (HVG)
Italian (Il Saggiatore)
Japanese (Toyo Keizai)
Korean (Bookie)
Polish (STOWARZYSZENIE IM. STANISŁAWA BRZOZOWSKIEGO)
Romanian (Polirom)
Russian (Mann
Ivanov and Ferber)
Spanish (Debate)
Thai (Bookscape Publishing)
Turkish (Domingo) Ukrainian (Nash Format)
Vietnamese (Vietnam Omega Books)

Economic thinking – about globalisation, climate change, immigration, austerity, automation and much more – in its most digestible form

For decades, a single free market philosophy has dominated global economics. But this is bland and unhealthy – like British food in the 1980s, when bestselling author and economist Ha-Joon Chang first arrived in the UK from South Korea. Just as eating a wide range of cuisines contributes to a more interesting and balanced diet, so too is it essential we listen to a variety of economic perspectives.

In Edible Economics, Chang makes challenging economic ideas more palatable by plating them alongside stories about food from around the world. Structuring the book as a series of menus, Chang uses histories behind familiar food items – where they come from, how they are cooked and consumed, what they mean to different cultures – to explore economic theory. For Chang, chocolate is a life-long addiction, but more exciting are the insights it offers into post-industrial knowledge economies; and while okra makes Southern gumbo heart-meltingly smooth, it also speaks of capitalism’s entangled relationship with freedom and unfreedom. Explaining everything from the hidden cost of care work to the misleading language of the free market as he cooks dishes like anchovy and egg toast, Gambas al Ajillo and Korean dotori mook, Ha-Joon Chang serves up an easy-to-digest feast of bold ideas.

Myth-busting, witty and thought-provoking, Edible Economics shows that getting to grips with the economy is like learning a recipe: if we understand it, we can change it – and, with it, the world.


Reviews

The only book I've ever read that made me laugh, salivate and re-evaluate my thoughts about economics - all at the same time. A funny, profound and appetising volume

- Brian Eno

A brilliant riposte to the myth that policymakers can survive on plain neoliberal fare. Edible Economics is a moveable feast of alternative economic ideas wrapped up in witty stories about food from around the world. Ha-Joon Chang proves yet again that he is one of the most exciting economists at work today

- Owen Jones

A fascinating stew of food, history and economics

- Tim Spector

Ha-Joon Chang has done it again. His prose delights and nourishes in equal measure. Somehow he manages to smuggle an urgent discussion of the relevance of economics to our daily lives into stories about food and cooking that are charming, funny and sweet (but never sour)

- David Pilling

... covers an impressive swatch of economics, and concludes with a call that readers scrutinize, think imaginatively, and be open-minded in their quest for economic knowledge.

- Publishers Weekly

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