counter create hit False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World

Availability: Ready to download

Why do oil and diamonds lead to economic disaster more often than boom? Why doesn't Africa grow cocaine? Why might believing in God be good for your balance-sheet? Using the stories of economic triumph and disaster, this title explains how some countries went wrong while others went right.


Compare
Ads Banner

Why do oil and diamonds lead to economic disaster more often than boom? Why doesn't Africa grow cocaine? Why might believing in God be good for your balance-sheet? Using the stories of economic triumph and disaster, this title explains how some countries went wrong while others went right.

30 review for False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World

  1. 4 out of 5

    blakeR

    Not knowing anything about the book or author besides that I saw it on a friend's shelf and it looked interesting, I spent the first 50 pages or so trying to figure out what Beattie's agenda was -- his arguments were so bland and middle-of-the-road that he was difficult to get a bead on. Then some hints started to drop: he compliments the IMF; he criticizes protectionism; he defends oil companies and later the WTO. So it actually becomes embarrassingly obvious that he's one of these soft-spoken Not knowing anything about the book or author besides that I saw it on a friend's shelf and it looked interesting, I spent the first 50 pages or so trying to figure out what Beattie's agenda was -- his arguments were so bland and middle-of-the-road that he was difficult to get a bead on. Then some hints started to drop: he compliments the IMF; he criticizes protectionism; he defends oil companies and later the WTO. So it actually becomes embarrassingly obvious that he's one of these soft-spoken "moderates" that are really conservative neo-liberals. He's not a belligerent conservative though, which is probably more annoying and disconcerting. He couches his arguments, much like The Economist magazine, in these matter-of-fact truisms that he wants you to read as if they are common sense and the height of logic. Actually, however, they're mere opinions based on who-knows-what. We might know the basis if he decided to offer even a modicum of support for his arguments, but he doesn't. He just wafts them out there and breezes onward. Here's an example in his defense of free trade:There is still relatively little trade between far-flung regions compared with that between close neighbors. There is also surprisingly little trade between rich and poor countries. Most trade today is in fact in fairly similar products and services between fairly similar countries, not between very different economies exploiting big innate advantages over their trading partners. 193This would have been a great time to provide some statistics and explain some of his language. For instance, who is this "surprising" for? Just the author? Opponents of free trade? And what does he mean by "most trade?" 51%? 75% This is a terrible way to try and make a point. Woe unto the people who are convinced by such tripe! Here's another:But India's overall literacy rate remains low. The official rate is around 65 percent, though many of those can probably do little more than write their names. Much of the money supposed to go to education is siphoned off by a huge bureaucracy and a corrupt political class. 283This is just embarrassing in a supposed work of non-fiction. So despite being ably written, it's both horrendously and deceptively argued, which ejects most of Beattie's credibility from the proceedings. On top of that, Beattie continually disproves his own thesis throughout the book. Both the book jacket and Beattie (in his preface and many other times) claim that he is trying to show that economic destinies are a result of choice, not predetermination. Yet there are over a dozen comments in the first chapter alone arguing that Argentina is screwed because of factors outside of its control (most notably its Spanish heritage). I struggle to reconcile the two claims. It's either Argentina's fault, which I feel like is what Beattie really wants us to believe, or it's due to circumstances, which is what I actually believe. These sorts of self-rebutting arguments occur throughout the book. He acknowledges that the economic travails of Islamic countries have "a lot more to do with accidents of geography and history than with the theology or 'management structure'" (i.e., the choices) of Islam. He recognizes that Africa's terrible market infrastructure "owes something to geography and history." He even cites Guns, Germs, and Steel -- the modern bible of cultural predestination -- to explain African history. The more I read, the more confused I became. Here you have a book called "False Economy: A Surprising Economic History," and Beattie has his tone that he's going to lift a veil from your eyes. It's supposed to be subversive, or at least counterintuitive, and his thesis kind of is, I guess, except that he concludes with, "Often, taking the right path is more than one country can do on its own," and, ". . . it still takes large amounts of courage, luck and strength to find a better path." So his thesis is basically, "A country's fate is not predetermined but due to the choices it makes, except for when it can't make any other choices." This means nothing, like saying it's sunny except when it's raining. Or maybe that aliens control our thoughts except when they don't. There is NOTHING HERE! Overall, I get the impression that Beattie is trying to pull a Malcolm Gladwell with this book and failing miserably. To be sure, some of his anecdotes are interesting, but only some of them, and none of them seem quite as clever as he thinks they are. But there's something else that I alluded to above. Beyond this lack of any real substance or meaningful arguments, there's a very dangerous mindset. Beattie's presentation is misleading and thus dangerous, that aw-shucks, vanilla way in which he states his (many times groundless) opinions as fact. But his mindset as a whole is dangerous in that he only sees things through a lens of economics. Things are only good and bad insofar as they positively or negatively affect national and global economies. There is a marked lack of consideration for the welfare of living things. For example, Beattie (poorly) argues that: people should be charged more for water; food security is bad; poor countries need rich multinationals to exploit their natural resources; corruption can be better than honesty; and pandas are worthless. I'm serious about that last one -- he really thinks that an entire species is "useless." I'll be honest, I couldn't care much less about pandas, but the paradigm that encourages you to consider them or any other living thing as "useless" is sad, twisted and scary. Living things are ends in themsleves, people! There are more important things than money! Many people will accuse me of being a dirty tree-hugging hippie for these arguments, and I gladly admit I'm a communist. But I try to be fair in my critique of more conservative economic theory, and really what I dislike most about the book is its deception. For those who disagree with this review, please do two things: read Malcolm Gladwell or Freakonomics and tell me it's not more entertaining than False; and then read Open Veins of Latin America, the famous leftist economic treatise, and tell me it's not better-argued (see my review). Not Bad Reviews @blakerosser1

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anton

    Another pre-Goodreads read. A really enjoyable collection of vignettes. Mix of history and economics. Fans of Freakonomics series I am sure will like this as well

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andrew K.

    LOVED. IT. To explain what I mean, let me tell you a story: about a year ago, I e-mailed the librarians at the Goizueta business school -- the librarians who have given about eight presentations on conducting business research that I have sat in on, willingly and unwillingly, of which I have only utilized two (an exposure-to-use ratio surpassed only by my cumulative lifetime watching of cooking shows) -- and asked them to recommend a book about business history. Business history? Yes, I am LOVED. IT. To explain what I mean, let me tell you a story: about a year ago, I e-mailed the librarians at the Goizueta business school -- the librarians who have given about eight presentations on conducting business research that I have sat in on, willingly and unwillingly, of which I have only utilized two (an exposure-to-use ratio surpassed only by my cumulative lifetime watching of cooking shows) -- and asked them to recommend a book about business history. Business history? Yes, I am secretly fascinated with learning business history. Here I was in business school, learning the cutting edge conventional wisdom about marketing, strategy, and how to tell someone they're fired in a non-Trump sort of way, and I had no idea where any of this was coming from. I am the son of a professional historian, and throughout my life I have sought -- again, willingly and unwillingly -- for the historical context behind a thing. It just seems so natural to try to understand how things got the way they are, you know? My girlfriend teases me that I am he secret history buff, and before I can agree with her, I have to think through how I got to be that way. She would say that that sort of proves her point. The recommendations from the business librarians, though well-intentioned, were lacking. I can't remember exactly what they suggested I look up, but it seemed so darn "academic." After all, the kind of history I like to read, in this Malcolm Gladwellian world, is pithy, witty, and vivid -- not like the nameless recommended book. In contrast, False Economy is the "business history I did not know I was looking for," which is the blurb that would go on the book jacket if I were famous. It was assigned to me for my Global Macroeconomics class, and it was always the first thing I read among my semiweekly reading assignments. So yeah, good job Alan Beattie. You have satisfied a history buff who doesn't know he is a history buff.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Mocella

    Very detailed, really goes in depth into the history and minutiae, but is also fairly dry. The author presents nine (well, ten) different comparative scenarios to show how different facets of the economy (or ecology and climate, sociology, history, or culture) can lead to very different outcomes: the economics of Argentina versus the United States, the cocaine trade logistics of South America versus Africa, the economic drivers of Christendom versus Islam, and (the one part where I laughed out Very detailed, really goes in depth into the history and minutiae, but is also fairly dry. The author presents nine (well, ten) different comparative scenarios to show how different facets of the economy (or ecology and climate, sociology, history, or culture) can lead to very different outcomes: the economics of Argentina versus the United States, the cocaine trade logistics of South America versus Africa, the economic drivers of Christendom versus Islam, and (the one part where I laughed out loud) why panda bears are "incompetent, inefficient piebald buffoons" as compared to the wildly successful house cat. Which, truly, the author makes an excellent case for. The economies here are less "false" and more "comparative," in the end. The corruption that the British used worked while the Portugese drove themselves to ruin; those corrupt policies weren't false, they were just different. For any econo-historical person, this book is perfect. But if you're looking for an extension of The World Is Flat or Freakonomics, you probably want to keep searching. "Unregulated finance capitalism appeared to be enriching a powerful minority while subjecting everyone else to the vagaries of a volatile economy."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Beattie has written a formidable book about the intersection of policies/politics and economy/trade. I love this book because unlike most business books, it has more than just one good idea or revelation. Just the first two chapters alone are worth every dollar of the purchase price - his historical comparison of Argentina with the US and subsequent divergent economic success, and his description on Washington vs. ancient Rome have huge relevance today. For example, the city of Berlin (Germany's Beattie has written a formidable book about the intersection of policies/politics and economy/trade. I love this book because unlike most business books, it has more than just one good idea or revelation. Just the first two chapters alone are worth every dollar of the purchase price - his historical comparison of Argentina with the US and subsequent divergent economic success, and his description on Washington vs. ancient Rome have huge relevance today. For example, the city of Berlin (Germany's capital) is basically bankrupt but is subsidized by other cities/federal states because it has voting cloud and is the seat of parliament; Beattie, by explaining the downsides of capitals too large and powerful for the good of their country, helps you analyze your own country or city. Whether you agree with his analyses in each and every of his chapters is not important. Beattie makes you think and helps you challenge common assumptions. In other words, the author has written a very educational and thought provoking book for everybody with an economic interest in our globalized world.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rangarathnam Gopu

    I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I recommend it strongly for those who would like a marvelously meshed view of history and economics and how they have shaped each other. It explains economic principles like supply chains, comparative advantage, how technology affects prices and geographical importance, incentives, disincentives, effects of taxes, political compulsions behind taxes(taxes on cotton clothes), intentions versus results, useful corruption (example Indonesia) versus harmful I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I recommend it strongly for those who would like a marvelously meshed view of history and economics and how they have shaped each other. It explains economic principles like supply chains, comparative advantage, how technology affects prices and geographical importance, incentives, disincentives, effects of taxes, political compulsions behind taxes(taxes on cotton clothes), intentions versus results, useful corruption (example Indonesia) versus harmful honesty(Tanzania), and such things. Amazing information - Argentina and USA were roughly equal in GDP and industrialization around the 1890s, Botswana was the fastest growing economy for a couple of decades, England heeded Adam Smith's suggestions on economics several decades after his death, etc. This is the audio recording of my review in English https://bit.ly/2uaVVz4 This is the video recording of my review in Tamil https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFex-...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jose

    The book takes a road less-travelled in economic theory. Rather than accepting -as it has been the trend- that destiny, geography, history,etc.. determine the wealth of nations, the author explores the idea that it is actually human agency through policies, governments and individuals that ultimately has the last word in regards to the wealth of a community. In that sense, the book advocates for policies rather than the acceptance of fate. The author, an economist, seems very impressed, for The book takes a road less-travelled in economic theory. Rather than accepting -as it has been the trend- that destiny, geography, history,etc.. determine the wealth of nations, the author explores the idea that it is actually human agency through policies, governments and individuals that ultimately has the last word in regards to the wealth of a community. In that sense, the book advocates for policies rather than the acceptance of fate. The author, an economist, seems very impressed, for example, with Botswana and Norway, two very different countries for sure but one thing in common, a very abundant natural resource. Botswana in particular was handed probably all of the wrong ends of the stick including diamond mines. Through good policies these two countries seem to have avoided the terrible pitfalls of neighbors like Russia or Zimbawe. Of course other factors besides destiny's intervention are considered and given ample space, especially the long-standing traditions that have aided progress or kept countries away from genuine growth like the custom of distributing political favors in India, the absent land ownership of Spanish aristocrats, the autocratic tendencies of Russian leaders or the predictable burocracies and corruptions of China among others. I agree with the author that to take a country like the U.S. and say that it naturally had to become a wealthy nation Isabel exercise of historical backengineering. The fact is that the U.S. could have followed the path of Argentina if things had gone just a bit differently (the South could have won the Civil War or the country might have called it splits). The fact is that only good, even when very flawed, policy allows US and other nations to continue to thrive. There is nothing guaranteed or inherent in a country that would deliver growth no matter what. On the contrary, the state of affairs is always fragile. Farming subsidies for cotton or Peruvian asparagus and catfish tariffs are some examples of very damaging policies in the US today. Other questions the book tries to answer: Does Max Weber's idea that countries with a Protestan ethic tend to do better economically hold any water? -Never mind Calvinist predetermination basically makes all attempt at salvation through work pretty useless- Is there a particular religion that is better suited for creating wealth or is it the use of religion by interest groups with very secular interests the cause of much damage? What happened to China that stopped it on its track to remaining a superpower during the Min Dinasty? How does its future look when compared to India? You'd think oil, diamonds and natural resources would propel any country out of poverty and yet, again and again, those resources seem to be the kiss cof death, mismanaged and corrupting. Why did Argentina and the U.S. follow such divergent paths when they both started as equals in potential and wealth? What are the crazy paradoxes about lobbying for ethanol and catfish? Why has London managed to remain a hub of world commerce but Moscow has floundered? Why doesn't Africa grow cocaine? Has globalization truly made distance a non-issue? The author writes about these and other questions with a very clear and entertaining style that left me enlightened and worried at the same time.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    An enjoyable, thoughtful collection of essays. Certainly not a systematic theory or prescriptive beyond the basics, but a nice treatment of some fundamental principles of economic development. I enjoyed the opening chapter comparing the trajectories of Argentina and the US and the brief history of the textile trade in Britain, particularly the extraordinary measures taken by the British wool industry in the face of imported Indian calico. I was surprised and somewhat disappointed at the lack of An enjoyable, thoughtful collection of essays. Certainly not a systematic theory or prescriptive beyond the basics, but a nice treatment of some fundamental principles of economic development. I enjoyed the opening chapter comparing the trajectories of Argentina and the US and the brief history of the textile trade in Britain, particularly the extraordinary measures taken by the British wool industry in the face of imported Indian calico. I was surprised and somewhat disappointed at the lack of consideration given to environmental matters, but then again, that is symptomatic of the Financial Times/Economist approach, which seems slow to recognize the tight, indissoluble bonds between the Earth's ecology and our economy. I would have particularly appreciated taking that aspect into account in the discussion of virtual water. Worth a read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rollin

    Just started reading this book and am quite enjoying it so far, not at all dry. Interesting comparison of USA to Argentina, making an argument with a bit of tongue in cheek that Argentina today resembles what the USA might have looked like if the South had won the Civil War. Argentina stayed agrarian-based with manufacturing only as an adjunct supporting agriculture. Also countries that entered the Depression as creditor nations, like USA and France, remained democratic, whereas debtor nations Just started reading this book and am quite enjoying it so far, not at all dry. Interesting comparison of USA to Argentina, making an argument with a bit of tongue in cheek that Argentina today resembles what the USA might have looked like if the South had won the Civil War. Argentina stayed agrarian-based with manufacturing only as an adjunct supporting agriculture. Also countries that entered the Depression as creditor nations, like USA and France, remained democratic, whereas debtor nations like Germany and Argentina turned authoritarian. Lots of other details about cultural and national choices leading to different paths. Full disclosure: my judgement on what is dry vs colorful could be tainted by having a degree in Economics.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides

    The author claims that the book is "not a whimsical set of disconnected stories" but rather "an explanation of how human beings have shaped their own destiny." However, sometimes the thread is lost. While Beattie is a very good writer, the book begins to lose momentum towards the end.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    An introduction into the study of the intersection between history and economics. How rationality of human beings become very much affected by the path dependence nature of society. Historical context matters very much in evaluating the rationale for different choices made by governments. Not taking these nuances into account when evaluating the present choices of a county would be oversight on the critic's part.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Abdul Basidh

    Not a great book but at the same time not a bad book as well. Basically a book on the evolution of world economy and what did each country do to reach where they are today. Events that could impact the economy and the measures done by each country seems to be very interesting. However, this book only paints an overall picture of all the events and this is not a detailed analysis of any particular concept.

  13. 5 out of 5

    E. Kahn

    The trite (and vaguely racist) explanations for Third World poverty presented in this vapid little volume are far less convincing than just looking at the near 1:1 relationship between poverty and a colonial past. Western Literature may have reached peak neoliberalism with this book, which means we could quit that bullshit now. So there's that.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shreena

    It’s an interesting book that discusses the history of the world’s economy and focuses in on different countries specifically to highlight points

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jorgen Peterson

    Writing is OK; content is mostly interesting.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Juha

    Alan Beattie's theory is that countries historically choose different paths for development and the choices they make matter for a long time into the future. Furthermore, it is not easy to change path once a country has progressed far enough on it. He starts with the book with a hypothetical comparison between Argentina and USA. Both were large countries based on European immigration and their economies started basically at par. But the policy choices they made resulted in the United States Alan Beattie's theory is that countries historically choose different paths for development and the choices they make matter for a long time into the future. Furthermore, it is not easy to change path once a country has progressed far enough on it. He starts with the book with a hypothetical comparison between Argentina and USA. Both were large countries based on European immigration and their economies started basically at par. But the policy choices they made resulted in the United States becoming the world's leading economy, while Argentina was relegated to the status of a developing country. The author further makes the point that these results are not necessarily permanent and warns that embracing bad economic policies might still lead the United States on a path towards the fate of Argentina. Beattie, an Oxford educated British economic historian, the Financial Times world trade editor. The book demonstrates his encyclopaedic knowledge of the world economic history and the current events alike. The book is fact-packed and Beattie bases his argument firmly on facts. This also makes it somewhat tedious reading. Although he is at times witty and ironic, his style is a bit dry. Therefore it took me a long time to get through the book. Luckily it doesn't matter that much, as each of the chapters on topics, such as cities, trade, natural resources, religion, supply chains, and corruption, reads fine as a stand-alone essay. Beattie brings it all together well in the final concluding chapter. Although clearly an advocate of trade liberalization, limited economic regulation and the benefits of globalization, Beattie is far too nuanced in his analysis and argumentation to be doctrinaire. In fact, he sums up sensibly that (p. 298): "...giving finely tuned advice on precisely what should be done with import tariffs, tax rates, or anything else is impossible. That way lie mistakes like the micro-management of the indonesian clove marketing board by the International Monetary Fund. I don't know what the exact answers are, and anyone who claims she does should not be trusted. In general, the more that development economists have looked at the questions, the less precise or doctrinaire their advice becomes." He then does outline certain principles that do seem to make rather universal sense based on an historical analysis. This to me sounds like a sage conclusion. Alan Beattie's book is thoroughly researched and argued, thoughtful and providing new insight into why the world economy today looks like it does. It is well worth reading.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    I'm not an economist, and so I was grateful to Mr. Beattie for his clear, jargon-free explanation of a number of aspects of global, country-level, and even city-level economic successes and failures. What surprised me a bit was the lack of an over-arching theory. But that's, in part, because Mr. Beattie believes that history, local conditions, and most importantly human choices are what determine the rise and fall of cities and states, not iron laws of economic necessity. The rule of law, a I'm not an economist, and so I was grateful to Mr. Beattie for his clear, jargon-free explanation of a number of aspects of global, country-level, and even city-level economic successes and failures. What surprised me a bit was the lack of an over-arching theory. But that's, in part, because Mr. Beattie believes that history, local conditions, and most importantly human choices are what determine the rise and fall of cities and states, not iron laws of economic necessity. The rule of law, a steady, consistent, and light hand from the government, sensible, free-market policies, realism about your strengths and weaknesses, a relative lack of corruption, or if you have to have corruption, then at least efficient, consistent corruption -- these are the factors that largely determine success and failure according to Mr. Beattie. This history is not comprehensive, but it is suggestive and interesting. Mr. Beattie focuses on some of the more interesting intersections of economics and history, but who can blame him? The only specific thing I can fault him on is that he appears to buy into the old (false) idea that the querty keyboard was designed to slow typists down. So I hope that doesn't mean his facts elsewhere (in areas where I have less knowledge) are suspect too.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Robert Morris

    This book is frustrating. It was infuriating enough that I stopped reading it over a year ago. This is something that I rarely do. It bothered me that I did not finish it, so I returned to it. The book is incredibly un-even. The Author is a reporter on trade, and the chapters that fit into his expertise are fascinating. The rise of containerization, and its effects, is a well told story, but it is done especially well here. The general history of trade aspects of the book were superb. When This book is frustrating. It was infuriating enough that I stopped reading it over a year ago. This is something that I rarely do. It bothered me that I did not finish it, so I returned to it. The book is incredibly un-even. The Author is a reporter on trade, and the chapters that fit into his expertise are fascinating. The rise of containerization, and its effects, is a well told story, but it is done especially well here. The general history of trade aspects of the book were superb. When Beattie ventures out from those arenas, as he often does, the results are slap-dash and unpersuasive. When he decides to dismiss something he does so in ways that would seem brief and unconvincing in a twitter account. I am no fan of the theories of Max Weber, but the way that Beattie pretends to disprove them is just silly. There is a fantastic book on trade in here, the problem is that it is surrounded by garbage. This man has been failed by his editor.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Al Clark

    I'm generally wary of pop- books, except with things that are utterly beyond me at any other level. This, written by an FT staffer, certainly falls into that category. The difficulty with such books is really that certain people read Guns Germs and Steel, and feel the need to proselytize its general themes uncritically. False Economy could certainly be abused in that way, but it would be a shame, because the book has quite a bit of important content, presented in a friendly way. In some passages I'm generally wary of pop- books, except with things that are utterly beyond me at any other level. This, written by an FT staffer, certainly falls into that category. The difficulty with such books is really that certain people read Guns Germs and Steel, and feel the need to proselytize its general themes uncritically. False Economy could certainly be abused in that way, but it would be a shame, because the book has quite a bit of important content, presented in a friendly way. In some passages Beattie is a little more rapt than the contingent, descriptive nature of his analysis really justifies, but if you can forgive this (and acknowledge that it all might be prescriptively applicable), then the book is great.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dad (Fred) Hansen

    Alan Beattie's "False Economy" is an imformative and intersting book on the economic history of the world, especially from the perspective of a British author who is currently the World Trade Editor for the Financial Times. I started reading this book a couple of weeks ago, at about he same time that I was completing my read of "The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World," by Nial Ferguson, who is also British by birth and by education, but who is now a History Professor at Harvard Alan Beattie's "False Economy" is an imformative and intersting book on the economic history of the world, especially from the perspective of a British author who is currently the World Trade Editor for the Financial Times. I started reading this book a couple of weeks ago, at about he same time that I was completing my read of "The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World," by Nial Ferguson, who is also British by birth and by education, but who is now a History Professor at Harvard University, was well as Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University. After reading both of these books in quick succession, I have a better understanding of international economics, as well as greater insight into business and banking in our modern society.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dan Walker

    Interesting book but not very deep. He praises FDR but implies that communism is bad. OK, so where is the line between gov't intervention (good, in his opinion) and communism (bad, in his opinion)? He does not even attempt to answer this obvious question. He spends time explaining that India and China failed to make the early leap to capitalism - as was accomplished in Western Europe; not because they did not have Christianity while Europe did, but because India developed a caste system and China Interesting book but not very deep. He praises FDR but implies that communism is bad. OK, so where is the line between gov't intervention (good, in his opinion) and communism (bad, in his opinion)? He does not even attempt to answer this obvious question. He spends time explaining that India and China failed to make the early leap to capitalism - as was accomplished in Western Europe; not because they did not have Christianity while Europe did, but because India developed a caste system and China a bureaucracy. My rejoinder is that India and China developed these flaws precisely because they did not have Christianity. So, the book had its interesting points, but I did not learn any deep, underlying principles about sound economic policy.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Urmish

    "The book tries to explain several interesting conundrums: the Nile river valley is one of the most fertile places on earth, and yet, Egypt has to import half of its wheat; West Africa has the perfect geological and climatic conditions to produce cocaine for Europe, yet it’s made in Columbia before being sent to Europe via Africa; Argentina and USA were equally rich and had the same opportunities during the 1900s, but one became a world power while the other plunged into bankruptcy; Botswana and "The book tries to explain several interesting conundrums: the Nile river valley is one of the most fertile places on earth, and yet, Egypt has to import half of its wheat; West Africa has the perfect geological and climatic conditions to produce cocaine for Europe, yet it’s made in Columbia before being sent to Europe via Africa; Argentina and USA were equally rich and had the same opportunities during the 1900s, but one became a world power while the other plunged into bankruptcy; Botswana and Sierra Leone are both blessed with abundantly reserves of diamonds, but why did Botswana become the world’s fastest-growing economy while Sierra Leone suffered a decade of brutal civil war ?" Please read the complete review here -> http://howwasthatbook.wordpress.com/2...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alesa

    This book has a lot of interesting stuff in it. Such as, why can diamonds be bad for your national economy. Whether religious countries are more (or less) affluent than agnostic ones. Why Africa doesn't grow cocaine. He has really interesting sentences, like, "It was because the Reformation only half succeeded in Europe and North America that it inadvertently led to a more pluralistic society." Or, "It has often been in the interests of those running a state to limit economic growth in order to This book has a lot of interesting stuff in it. Such as, why can diamonds be bad for your national economy. Whether religious countries are more (or less) affluent than agnostic ones. Why Africa doesn't grow cocaine. He has really interesting sentences, like, "It was because the Reformation only half succeeded in Europe and North America that it inadvertently led to a more pluralistic society." Or, "It has often been in the interests of those running a state to limit economic growth in order to diminish threats to their ow status. Religion is one of the tools they use." It's well-written, and makes you think about topics that normally wouldn't come to mind. But I lost interest about 85% of the way through -- not sure why.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John Pyrce

    Various economic questions: why did the US do better than Argentina, why didn't Washington DC get the vote, .... Themes are: there are important decisions that can be done wrong, but they are fore-ordained. Authoritarian governments are religious, not the other way around. Standardization of containers revolutionized shipping, and was driven by the military. Natural resources are a bad economic basis because they don't generate enough employment and drain resources from parts of the economy that Various economic questions: why did the US do better than Argentina, why didn't Washington DC get the vote, .... Themes are: there are important decisions that can be done wrong, but they are fore-ordained. Authoritarian governments are religious, not the other way around. Standardization of containers revolutionized shipping, and was driven by the military. Natural resources are a bad economic basis because they don't generate enough employment and drain resources from parts of the economy that could (the "Dutch disease"). Logistics are a key problem for developing countries. A generally interesting book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Adarsh Nair

    In its entirety, this book is a surprising history of world economy through an entirely new perspective. The writer busts a few shocking myths about what makes a country Rich ( or Poor);one of the best, was about how natural resources can ruin a country! The book is clearly divided into chapters dealing with different drivers of world economy, and with it,his own detailed case study. The chapters usually begin with catchy questions, like " Why doesn't Africa grow Cocaine ?". Overall the book In its entirety, this book is a surprising history of world economy through an entirely new perspective. The writer busts a few shocking myths about what makes a country Rich ( or Poor);one of the best, was about how natural resources can ruin a country! The book is clearly divided into chapters dealing with different drivers of world economy, and with it,his own detailed case study. The chapters usually begin with catchy questions, like " Why doesn't Africa grow Cocaine ?". Overall the book does a fine job in explaining to a lay man the decisions that make or break the economic future of any country.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sagnik Ghoshal

    False Economy author Alan Beattie, chief editor of The Financial Times provides an informative, detailed and often witty view of the various quirky economic, social and political views taken by countries that have shaped their own economies and have altered world economies throughout history. Why Africa does not grow Coccain or Why American Asparagas is imported from Peru or the Story of the World Virtual Water Trade ae just a few of the topics he so finely discusses that helps us revaluate the False Economy author Alan Beattie, chief editor of The Financial Times provides an informative, detailed and often witty view of the various quirky economic, social and political views taken by countries that have shaped their own economies and have altered world economies throughout history. Why Africa does not grow Coccain or Why American Asparagas is imported from Peru or the Story of the World Virtual Water Trade ae just a few of the topics he so finely discusses that helps us revaluate the economy that we know. A must read for an economic mind or if you are looking for some informative time-pass.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amir Hassan

    A good read overall. Due to working hours it took me over a month to finish. The book bases itself on histories of nations and how these countries end up to where they are not by accident but rather by a series of choice or policies taken up by their so-called leader. It has strengthened my belief that it is not the religion itself that curses the country into an undeveloped state but rather the manipulation of those that have vested interest in keeping the status quo. Thus in a way it solidifies A good read overall. Due to working hours it took me over a month to finish. The book bases itself on histories of nations and how these countries end up to where they are not by accident but rather by a series of choice or policies taken up by their so-called leader. It has strengthened my belief that it is not the religion itself that curses the country into an undeveloped state but rather the manipulation of those that have vested interest in keeping the status quo. Thus in a way it solidifies my stand that religion should be kept out of politics/government lest it be mis-used by the powers that be.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ole Phillip

    This is an excellent, and different, view on how the world of economics is put together. It is one of those you can view chapter by chapter, put it down when something else takes priority and easily pick up again. The message passed on by Beattie, you can fix it, basically, may be true but difficult to do, is so true. There is a lot of countries out there with a need to change tack. Read in conjunction with history of economics, books on failing states and economies, it just comes home to you... This is an excellent, and different, view on how the world of economics is put together. It is one of those you can view chapter by chapter, put it down when something else takes priority and easily pick up again. The message passed on by Beattie, you can fix it, basically, may be true but difficult to do, is so true. There is a lot of countries out there with a need to change tack. Read in conjunction with history of economics, books on failing states and economies, it just comes home to you... I will keep this one and take it out in a few years time again, meanwhile I will check out some more reading material from Beattie.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carlos

    Using a subject dear to me, history, Mr. Beattie was able to make quite an in-depth introduction to the till-now foreign world of economincs. By using the past to illustrate the present and give us an insight into the future, Beattie gives a novice such as myself an incredible look at present economic realities and how they came to be. Even though this book opened-up a complete new (and not always optimistic) subject to me, it still leaves you with a sense of hope for the future and not a sense Using a subject dear to me, history, Mr. Beattie was able to make quite an in-depth introduction to the till-now foreign world of economincs. By using the past to illustrate the present and give us an insight into the future, Beattie gives a novice such as myself an incredible look at present economic realities and how they came to be. Even though this book opened-up a complete new (and not always optimistic) subject to me, it still leaves you with a sense of hope for the future and not a sense of deterministic dread.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sho

    I read this in two parts, before and after I studied an economics course, but you don't need an economics background to understand what Beattie is writing about here. Although I did feel a little frisson of excitement when I recognised jargon and understood the concepts. A very interesting read, especially in respect of the international trade in invisible water and his ideas about food-security. And also completely worth reading for the comparison between the relative usefulness (or I read this in two parts, before and after I studied an economics course, but you don't need an economics background to understand what Beattie is writing about here. Although I did feel a little frisson of excitement when I recognised jargon and understood the concepts. A very interesting read, especially in respect of the international trade in invisible water and his ideas about food-security. And also completely worth reading for the comparison between the relative usefulness (or adaptability) of giant pandas and domestic cats.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.