My book review of 'Edible Economics' by Ha-Joon Chang

by Ha-Joon Chang
Edible Economics
by Ha-Joon Chang

Ha-Joon Chang arrived in Britain from South Korea in the 1980s when the national diet was bland and unhealthy.

As our eating habits have changed, expanding to include a more diverse offering, so he hopes that he can encourage us to sample a different menu in terms of economics.

A single free market philosophy has dominated global economics, he says, but there are better alternatives.

With each chapter focusing on a different item of food, he uses this to lead us into learning something about an economic theory. Chocolate, for example, offers an insight into post-industrial knowledge economies while okra introduces us to "capitalism's entangled relationship with freedom and unfreedom".  

There's a lot to take on board with this book, not least some of the fascinating facts about the history or culture of different food stuffs. But it's intriguing, and it's important, he says "getting to grips with the economy is like learning a recipe: if we understand it, we can change it - and, with it, the world". 

Review date: January 2023
Publication date: 20th October 2022