When world-renowned economist Ha-Joon Chang first arrived in Britain in the 1980s he recoiled in horror at how dull and dreary British food was. But it was not just the food – which has much improved since then – that caused him to despair: it was mainstream economic thinking too. Neoclassical liberalism was, and still is, the only item he found on Britain’s menu of economic models. He decided that someone needed to expand that menu – and took on the project himself.
In February 2023 Chang came to Intelligence Squared to talk about the themes of his new book Edible Economics: A Hungry Economist Explains the World. Through a series of culinary anecdotes Chang showed us that just as a rich and varied diet nourishes the body, moving beyond the narrow confines of neoclassical economics can help to build a better and fairer world.
‘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