"The economy isn't] a bunch of rather dull statistics with names like GDP (gross domestic product)," notes Tim Harford, columnist and regular guest on NPR's Marketplace, "economics is about who gets what and why." In this acclaimed and riveting book-part expos , part user's manual-the astute and entertaining columnist from the Financial Times demystifies the ways in which money works in the world. From why the coffee in your cup costs so much to why efficiency is not necessarily the answer to ensuring a fair society, from improving health care to curing crosstown traffic-all the dirty little secrets of dollars and cents are delightfully revealed by The Undercover Economist."A rare specimen: a book on economics that will enthrall its readers . . . It brings the power of economics to life."
-Steven D. Levitt, coauthor of Freakonomics
"A playful guide to the economics of everyday life, and as such is something of an elder sibling to Steven Levitt's wild child, the hugely successful Freakonomics."
-The Economist "A tour de force . . . If you need to be convinced of the everrelevant and fascinating nature of economics, read this insightful and witty book."
-Jagdish Bhagwati, author of In Defense of Globalization
"This is a book to savor."
-The New York Times "Harford writes like a dream. From his book I found out why there's a Starbucks on every corner and] how not to get duped in an auction. Reading The Undercover Economist is like spending an ordinary day wearing X-ray goggles."
-David Bodanis, author of Electric Universe "Much wit and wisdom."
-The Houston Chronicle
From Publishers Weekly
Nattily packaged-the cover sports a Roy Lichtensteinesque image of an economist in Dick Tracy garb-and cleverly written, this book applies basic economic theory to such modern phenomena as Starbucks' pricing system and Microsoft's stock values. While the concepts explored are those encountered in Microeconomics 101, Harford gracefully explains abstruse ideas like pricing along the demand curve and game theory using real world examples without relying on graphs or jargon. The book addresses free market economic theory, but Harford is not a complete apologist for capitalism; he shows how companies from Amazon.com to Whole Foods to Starbucks have gouged consumers through guerrilla pricing techniques and explains the high rents in London (it has more to do with agriculture than one might think). Harford comes down soft on Chinese sweatshops, acknowledging "conditions in factories are terrible," but "sweatshops are better than the horrors that came before them, and a step on the road to something better." Perhaps, but Harford doesn't question whether communism or a capitalist-style industrial revolution are the only two choices available in modern economies. That aside, the book is unequaled in its accessibility and ability to show how free market economic forces affect readers' day-to-day.
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Harford exposes the dark underbelly of capitalism in Undercover Economist. Compared with Steven Levitt's and Stephen J. Dubner's popular Freakonomics (*** July/Aug 2005), the book uses simple, playful examples (written in plain English) to elucidate complex economic theories. Critics agree that the book will grip readers interested in understanding free-market forces but disagree about Harford's approach. Some thought the author mastered the small ideas while keeping in sight the larger context of globalization; others faulted Harford for failing to criticize certain economic theories and to ground his arguments in political, organizational structures. Either way, his case studies--some entertaining, others indicative of times to come--will make you think twice about that cup of coffee.
Copyright (c) 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
In The Forgotten Man, Amity Shlaes, one of the nation's most-respected economic commentators, offers a striking reinterpretation of the Great Depression. She traces the mounting agony of the New Dealers and the moving stories of individual citizens who through their brave perseverance helped establish the steadfast character we recognize as American today.
Hailed by Time as one of the world's hundred most influential people, Jeffrey D. Sachs is renowned for his work around the globe advising economies in crisis. Now a classic of its genre, The End of Poverty distills more than thirty years of experience to offer a uniquely informed vision of the steps that can transform impoverished countries into prosperous ones. Marrying vivid storytelling with rigorous analysis, Sachs lays out a clear conceptual map of the world economy. Explaining his own work in Bolivia, Russia, India, China, and Africa, he offers an integrated set of solutions to the interwoven economic, political, environmental, and social problems that challenge the world's poorest countries. Ten years after its initial publication, The End of Poverty remains an indispensible and influential work. In this 10th anniversary edition, Sachs presents an extensive new foreword assessing the progress of the past decade, the work that remains to be done, and how each of us can help. He also looks ahead across the next fifteen years to 2030, the United Nations' target date for ending extreme poverty, offering new insights and recommendations.
A riveting expos? of international corruption?and what we can do about it, from the author of "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man," which spent over a year on the "New York Times" bestseller list.
In his stunning memoir, "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man," John Perkins detailed his former role as an ?economic hit man? in the international corporate skullduggery of a de facto American Empire. This riveting, behind-the-scenes expos? unfolded like a cinematic blockbuster told through the eyes of a man who once helped shape that empire. Now, in "The Secret History of the American Empire," Perkins zeroes in on hot spots around the world and, drawing on interviews with other hit men, jackals, reporters, and activists, examines the current geopolitical crisis. Instability is the norm: It's clear that the world we?ve created is dangerous and no longer sustainable. How did we get here? Who's responsible? What good have we done and at what cost? And what can we do to change things for the next generations? Addressing these questions and more, Perkins reveals the secret history behind the events that have created the American Empire, including:
? The current Latin-American revolution and its lessons for democracy
? How the ?defeats? in Vietnam and Iraq benefited big business
? The role of Israel as ?Fortress America? in the Middle East
? Tragic repercussions of the IMF's ?Asian Economic Collapse?
? U.S. blunders in Tibet, Congo, Lebanon, and Venezuela
? Jackal (CIA operatives) forays to assassinate democratic presidents
From the U.S. military in Iraq to infrastructure development in Indonesia, from Peace Corps volunteers in Africa to jackals in Venezuela, Perkins exposes a conspiracy of corruption that has fueled instability and anti-Americanism around the globe. Alarming yet hopeful, this book provides a compassionate plan to reimagine our world.
In his previous book, The Elusive Quest for Growth, William Easterly criticized the utter ineffectiveness of Western organizations to mitigate global poverty, and he was promptly fired by his then-employer, the World Bank. The White Man's Burden is his widely anticipated counterpunch--a brilliant and blistering indictment of the West's economic policies for the world's poor. Sometimes angry, sometimes irreverent, but always clear-eyed and rigorous, Easterly argues that we in the West need to face our own history of ineptitude and draw the proper conclusions, especially at a time when the question of our ability to transplant Western institutions has become one of the most pressing issues we face.
Throughout time, from ancient Rome to modern Britain, the great empires built and maintained their domination through force of arms and political power. But not the United States. America has dominated the world in a new, peaceful, and pervasive way -- through the continued creation of staggering wealth. In this authoritative, engrossing history, John Steele Gordon captures as never before the true source of our nation's global influence: wealth and the capacity to create more of it.This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
The role of gold in the world's exchange system has been hotly contested by leading economists. This work collects the most important arguments in favour of gold, including such works as David Ricardo's "High price of Bullion" and W. Stanley Jevons's "Money and the Mechanism of Exchange".
From one of our most perceptive commentators and winner of the National Book Award, a comprehensive look at the new world of globalization, the international system that, more than anything else, is shaping world affairs today.
As the Foreign Affairs columnist for The New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman has traveled the globe, interviewing people from all walks of contemporary life: Brazilian peasants in the Amazon rain forest, new entrepreneurs in Indonesia, Islamic students in Teheran, and the financial wizards on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley.
Now Friedman has drawn on his years on the road to produce an engrossing and original look at globalization. Globalization, he argues, is not just a phenomenon and not just a passing trend. It is the international system that replaced the Cold War system; the new, well-greased, interconnected system: Globalization is the integration of capital, technology, and information across national borders, in a way that is creating a single global market and, to some degreee, a global village. Simply put, one can't possibly understand the morning news or one's own investments without some grasp of the system. Just one example: During the Cold War, we reached for the hot line between the White House and the Kremlin--a symbol that we were all divided but at least the two superpowers were in charge. In the era of globalization, we reach for the Internet--a symbol that we are all connected but nobody is totally in charge.
With vivid stories and a set of original terms and concepts, Friedman offers readers remarkable access to his unique understanding of this new world order, and shows us how to see this new system. He dramatizes the conflict of "the Lexus and the olive tree"--the tension between the globalization system and ancient forces of culture, geography, tradition, and community. He also details the powerful backlash that globalization produces among those who feel brutalized by it, and he spells out what we all need to do to keep the system in balance. Finding the proper balance between the Lexus and the olive tree is the great drama of he globalization era, and the ultimate theme of Friedman's challenging, provocative book--essential reading for all who care about how the world really works.