Excerpt from An Economist Gets Lunch by Tyler Cowen, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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An Economist Gets Lunch

New Rules for Everyday Foodies

by Tyler Cowen

An Economist Gets Lunch
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2012, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2013, 304 pages

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Elizabeth Whitmore Funk

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Print Excerpt

Food is a product of economic supply and demand, so try to figure out where the supplies are fresh, the suppliers are creative, and the demanders are informed.

Most food writings are not much concerned with economics, but the early history of my discipline is for the most part a theory of food production and distribution. Early economies were built upon agriculture and of course they still are in the world's poorer countries. Adam Smith, who wrote The Wealth of Nations in 1776, was the father of modern economics and some of his best pedagogic examples had to do with the grain trade. Frédéric Bastiat, a leading nineteenth century French economist who remains in print to this day, focused on explaining how it is that Paris gets fed, even though no central planner sees to this fact. I'm bringing my own profession back to its historic roots.

Before we can understand how people are beginning to put things right, we need to understand how matters went wrong in the first place.

Excerpted from An Economist Gets Lunch by Tyler Cowen. Copyright © 2012 by Tyler Cowen. Excerpted by permission of Dutton. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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