Tomáš Sedláček (economist)

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Tomáš Sedláček
Tomas Sedlacek.jpg
Sedláček in 2012
Born (1977-01-23) 23 January 1977 (age 40)
Roudnice nad Labem, Czechoslovakia
Alma mater Charles University in Prague

Tomáš Sedláček (born 23 January 1977) is a Czech economist and university lecturer. He is the Chief Macroeconomic Strategist at ČSOB, a former member of the National Economic Council of the Czech Republic and an economic advisor to former President Václav Havel. In 2006, the Yale Economic Review mentioned him in an article titled "Young Guns: 5 Hot Minds in Economics". His book Economics of Good and Evil, a bestseller in the Czech Republic, was translated into English and published by the Oxford University Press in June, 2011.

Biography and career[edit]

Sedláček was born in Roudnice nad Labem.[1] As a child, he lived in Finland for five years and in Denmark for another four, where he attended an English-language international school(s).[2] His father worked there as director of the ČSA, the ČSSR airtravel state company, representative offices.[3]

In 2001, during his studies at the Charles University in Prague, he became an economic advisor to President Václav Havel. He was 24. He later commented in the Hospodářské noviny newspaper: "[The Dean of our faculty] phoned me that Mr. Fischer's office needs an economic analyst. I thought that Mr. Fischer is the owner of the same-name travel agency,[note 1] and I almost refused. I wanted to devote myself to science. But the Dean then patiently explained to me that the president should not be refused. At that moment I realized that the person who contacted him was Pavel Fischer, Chief of the Political Department of the Office of the President."[3] From November 2001 to February 2003, Sedláček worked for the Czech President.

In January, 2004, he was engaged as an advisor to the former Minister of Finance Bohuslav Sobotka. However, he left the position in 2006, according to his own words "due to excessive politicization of the work at the Ministry".[3]

In 2006, during his scholarship at Yale University, Sedláček was listed as one of the "Young Guns: 5 Hot Minds in Economics" in the Yale Economic Review.[1][4] Following his return from the United States, he was engaged as Chief Macroeconomic Strategist at the Československá obchodní banka (ČSOB). As of 2011, he still holds the position at the bank.[5] Additionally, he is a columnist and media commentator. He also lectures at the Charles University.

Economics of Good and Evil[edit]

The book Ekonomie dobra a zla: po stopách lidského tázání od Gilgameše po finanční krizi (published in English under the title Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street) is a modified version of Sedláček's thesis submitted – but rejected due to "questionable scientific value"[6][7] – at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Charles University in Prague. The book became a bestseller in the Czech Republic.[8][9]

In his book, Sedláček refuses the one-sided view of economics as a value-free mathematical inquiry. He describes economics as a cultural phenomenon and a product of our civilization closely tied with philosophy, myth, religion, anthropology, and the arts. According to Sedláček, economics should not concern only abstract mathematical modelling, but also societies' values.[10]

The broad concept of the book covers the history of economics through the millennia, "from the epic of Gilgamesh and the Old Testament to the emergence of Christianity, from Descartes and Adam Smith to Fight Club and The Matrix."[10]

Additionally, the book explores some of the fundamental and provocative questions of the present time: "Is growth the only answer? Are we addicted to desire? Does it pay to be good?"[10]

In 2009, the book received the Wald Press Award.[11] In 2012, the book won the "Deutscher Wirtschaftsbuchpreis" (2012 Frankfurt Book Fair Award) for the best economic title in Germany. The work was praised by the economics professor Deirdre McCloskey.[11]



  1. ^ Václav Fischer, Czech entrepreneur and politician, at that time the owner of the travel agency Fischer Reisen.


  1. ^ a b "Ekonóm Tomáš Sedláček: Ďalší biftek už je veľa" (in Slovak). Hospodárske noviny. 22 January 2009. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  2. ^ CV at Sedláček's Czech University web – cvtomassedlacek2009.doc
    not so accurate info in: Our time is coming or the myth about Czech smallness, by Tomáš Sedláček, Hospodářské noviny, 28 November 2008, English translation in the Prague Daily Monitor
  3. ^ a b c Lavička, Václav (12 December 2006). "Od Kanceláře prezidenta k úspěchu na Yale" (in Czech). Hospodářské noviny. Retrieved 5 November 2011.  ("Zatelefonoval mi, že pan Fischer potřebuje do kanceláře ekonomického analytika. Myslel jsem, že jde o majitele stejnojmenné cestovní kanceláře, a tak jsem téměř odmítl. Chtěl jsem se dále věnovat vědě. Ale děkan mi potom trpělivě vysvětloval, že prezidentovi se neodmítá. V tom jsem si uvědomil, že volal Pavel Fischer, ředitel politického odboru Kanceláře prezidenta," vzpomíná Sedláček.)
  4. ^ "Tomáš Sedláček. Chief Macroeconomic Strategist, ČSOB" (PDF). Yale Economic Review. 2006. p. 37. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "PhDr. Tomáš Sedláček" (in Czech). Government of the Czech Republic. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  6. ^ Vislous, Václav (14 October 2010). "Jak Sedláček neobhájil disertaci" (in Czech). Sociál. Časopis studentů fakulty sociálních věd UK. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  7. ^ (in Czech) Sedláček narazil s „kecací“ ekonomií. Neobhájil dizertaci – Tomáš Sedláček na Institutu ekonomických studií FSV UK neobhájil svou doktorskou práci. Její knižní verze nicméně patří k bestsellerům, Martin Benda, Hospodářské noviny 13.10.09
  8. ^ Nixon, Scott J. (17 August 2011). "Tomáš Sedláček interview. The bright star of Czech economics". The Prague Post. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  9. ^ Vaughan, David (27 September 2009). "Tomáš Sedláček and the anthropology of economics". Czech Radio. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c "News: Tomas Sedlacek: Economics of Good and Evil, The Quest for Economic Meaning of Gilgamesh from the Wall Street". Czech Centre London. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "Autogramiáda knihy člena NERV Tomáše Sedláčka" (in Czech). Government of the Czech Republic. 23 June 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  12. ^ "Economics of Good and Evil. The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  13. ^ Koehn, Nancy F. (2 July 2011). "The Moral Behind All the Numbers". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "Tomáš Sedláček in discussion on the Economics of Good and Evil". Embassy of the Czech Republic in London. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  15. ^ Brittan, Samuel (25 June 2011). "Economics of Good and Evil". (originally the Financial Times 25/06/11). Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  16. ^ Palán, Aleš (11 April 2012). "Sedláček rozebírá ekonomické fetiše". Hospodárske noviny. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 

External links[edit]