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The book . . . is . . . a piece of serious popular science writing; the author tries to be engaging and clear but is not afraid to use a little mathematics. Krugman's exuberance in describing his work helps get the reader over the rough spots. As a set of lectures aimed at people with backgrounds in economics, it also includes some technical sections that would be hard goi The book . . . is . . . a piece of serious popular science writing; the author tries to be engaging and clear but is not afraid to use a little mathematics. Krugman's exuberance in describing his work helps get the reader over the rough spots. As a set of lectures aimed at people with backgrounds in economics, it also includes some technical sections that would be hard going for the uninitiated. Fortunately, these can be skipped with little loss of meaning. . . . Krugman's general approach seems . . . plausible . . . for developing a general understanding of self-organization and complexity, for two reasons. First, he is willing to suppose that there is more than one process going on in the world, as shown by his instability and growth models. It really does seem absurd to suppose that the power law for word-use frequencies in English is generated by the same kind of process that determines earthquakes. SOC, order from instability, and Simon-style growth models appear to be independent explanations for power-law regularities. Second, Krugman starts with a more grounded understanding of the phenomena he studies, so that he knows better what features of reality are lost when he simplifies things in his models.


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The book . . . is . . . a piece of serious popular science writing; the author tries to be engaging and clear but is not afraid to use a little mathematics. Krugman's exuberance in describing his work helps get the reader over the rough spots. As a set of lectures aimed at people with backgrounds in economics, it also includes some technical sections that would be hard goi The book . . . is . . . a piece of serious popular science writing; the author tries to be engaging and clear but is not afraid to use a little mathematics. Krugman's exuberance in describing his work helps get the reader over the rough spots. As a set of lectures aimed at people with backgrounds in economics, it also includes some technical sections that would be hard going for the uninitiated. Fortunately, these can be skipped with little loss of meaning. . . . Krugman's general approach seems . . . plausible . . . for developing a general understanding of self-organization and complexity, for two reasons. First, he is willing to suppose that there is more than one process going on in the world, as shown by his instability and growth models. It really does seem absurd to suppose that the power law for word-use frequencies in English is generated by the same kind of process that determines earthquakes. SOC, order from instability, and Simon-style growth models appear to be independent explanations for power-law regularities. Second, Krugman starts with a more grounded understanding of the phenomena he studies, so that he knows better what features of reality are lost when he simplifies things in his models.

48 review for The Self Organizing Economy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dani Arribas-bel

    Very suggesting and thought-provoking, the book was written as a spinoff of conferences Krugman gave, very much in the style of "Geography and Trade" (1992). This means the tone is very informal, making it somehow easier to grasp. He also takes a less serious approach than he would if this was academic writing, so I'd place the book between academic (some of the ideas are not trivial to get) and pop science, as the other review notes. His main aim is to link some of his earlier economic geography Very suggesting and thought-provoking, the book was written as a spinoff of conferences Krugman gave, very much in the style of "Geography and Trade" (1992). This means the tone is very informal, making it somehow easier to grasp. He also takes a less serious approach than he would if this was academic writing, so I'd place the book between academic (some of the ideas are not trivial to get) and pop science, as the other review notes. His main aim is to link some of his earlier economic geography models, adapted to an intra-urban context, with the literature in complexity and emerging systems. To my knowledge it's one of the very few attempts in the direction of giving some economic foundations to many econo-physics ideas applied to cities. Having said that, I don't fully buy the whole idea, I think whenever he gets the closest to complexity (Fourier chains, etc.) he looses the economic background, defeating the purpose a bit; also his tone in some pages, repeating the word "complex" more than he probably should doesn't help and makes you feel he's trying to trick you rather than honestly convincing you. The basic idea however is very appealing and it scratches the surface of a fruitful field, still open today in my opinion. All in all, the book clearly has Krugman's print at his most academic side in that it's very clearly written and he follows his usual approach of light math and heavy content: don't be misled by its 130 pages, the density of ideas and creativity per page makes them feel much longer. Good reference if you are in need of some extravagant ideas to think outside the mainstream economics box.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Diego

    En un pequeño libro basado en una serie de conferencias Paul Krugman introduce al lector a posibles aplicaciones del análisis de sistemas complejos a la economía. Es un libro para el público general aunque su último capítulo y su apéndice es técnico. Hace uso de las propiedades emergentes que los economistas conocen para plantear distintas posibilidades de análisis particularmente para el estudio de la geografía económica y la economía urbana.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paul Goldsmith-pinkham

  4. 5 out of 5

    Thuan Tran

  5. 4 out of 5

    David Comerford

  6. 5 out of 5

    David Childers

  7. 5 out of 5

    Matsini1

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kangning Huang

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mitch

  10. 5 out of 5

    Miguel Olivera

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ami Iida

  12. 4 out of 5

    Btwitte

  13. 5 out of 5

    Steven

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ken Muldrew

  15. 5 out of 5

    Pablo

  16. 4 out of 5

    John

  17. 5 out of 5

    Apoorva

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ed Terrell

  19. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  20. 4 out of 5

    Esteban

  21. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Brummitt

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tim

  23. 5 out of 5

    Phonon_Lattice

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gilson Landry S. Brasil

  25. 5 out of 5

    elzorro

  26. 5 out of 5

    Pantelis Pipergias-Analytis

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vipul Vivek

  28. 4 out of 5

    Xrs Xrs

  29. 4 out of 5

    John

  30. 5 out of 5

    Crittens

  31. 4 out of 5

    Arun Pradeep

  32. 5 out of 5

    Marcell

  33. 5 out of 5

    Eric Hines

  34. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  35. 4 out of 5

    Bryant

  36. 5 out of 5

    John Kaye

  37. 5 out of 5

    RJ

  38. 5 out of 5

    John Gage

  39. 4 out of 5

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  40. 5 out of 5

    Ahmed Futtota

  41. 4 out of 5

    Paata

  42. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Taylor

  43. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Russell

  44. 4 out of 5

    Quan

  45. 5 out of 5

    !Tæmbuŝu

  46. 5 out of 5

    Keith Burton

  47. 5 out of 5

    Foxglove Zayuri

  48. 5 out of 5

    Chris

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