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Ferraris for All: In Defence of Economic Progress [Hardcover]

Daniel Ben-Ami
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Price: 18.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

14 July 2010
The growth of the economy and the spread of prosperity are increasingly seen as problematic rather than positive - a trend Daniel Ben-Ami has termed 'growth scepticism'. Prosperity is accused of encouraging greed, damaging the environment, causing unhappiness and widening social inequalities. Ferraris for all is a rejoinder to the growth sceptics. Using examples from a range of countries, including the US, the author argues that society as a whole benefits from greater affluence. Action is needed - but to increase prosperity and spread it worldwide, not to limit prosperity, as the sceptics would have it. Lively and provocative, this timely book will trigger debate and dissent in equal measure and will be essential reading for everyone who cares about the impact of western policy on developing countries.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Policy Press; First Edition edition (14 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847423469
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847423467
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 13.8 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 362,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Daniel has worked as a journalist for over 20 years, during which he has contributed to numerous general and specialist publications. Ferraris For All, his book defending economic progress, will be published in July. His book on global finance, Cowardly Capitalism (Wiley, 2001), was recommended by the Baker Library of Harvard Business School. Daniel's website can be found at: http://www.danielbenami.com/

Product Description

Review

"No contemporary writer in English is smarter and more convincing on the benefits of wealth to every aspect of society. It's great to see a book-length treatment of his work." --Nick Gillespie, Editor-in-chief, Reason

"Daniel Ben-Ami is an important voice for reason and fact in our current economic debates. His book is a probing contribution to understanding the decisive way that economic growth helps everyone, everywhere on the social ladder. Ben-Ami's style is incisive and entertaining, his argument crucial to understanding our present economic plight. " --Denis Dutton, Editor, Arts & Letters Daily

"It is all too rare to find a writer who is consistently thought-provoking and yet not unthinkingly contrarian. But in his writings on the economy, Daniel Ben-Ami proves himself to be one of these rare creatures. " --Diane Coyle, Managing Director of Enlightenment Economics

"The global financial crisis has produced a fresh outpouring of growth scepticism: the idea that we would all be better off in a world without economic growth. Daniel Ben-Ami has provided a timely and thought-provoking reminder of of why we need growth and the benefits that it brings." -- David Smith, Economics Editor, The Sunday Times

About the Author

Daniel Ben-Ami has worked as a journalist specialising in economics and finance for over 20 years, during which he has contributed to many national newspapers and specialist publications. His book on global finance, Cowardly Capitalism (Wiley, 2001), was recommended by the Baker Library of Harvard Business School. His website and blog can be found at www.danielbenami.com <http://www.danielbenami.com>.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nutritious Content Made Stodgy 7 Nov 2010
By S. Thomas #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Part of my work is peripheral to economics and going back a while I had to sit exams on the subject. This usually involved studying extremely dry texts - with one exception, where I still savour how the author made the subject come alive. I therefore embarked on this book with high hopes that it would occupy that middle ground between academic treatise and absorbing narrative, where it is possible to read for enjoyment as well as enlightenment.

Unfortunately, I found `Ferraris for All' an extremely awkward read. Communicating abstract concepts needn't involve highfalutin sentences - I feel the art of sharing thoughts on any subject is to deconstruct the elements so that they are easy to absorb. However, taking one sentence as an example, where Daniel explains the purpose of the book, I read:

`Nor is its main concern the supporters of what is called decroissance in French, usually rendered as `degrowth' in English, who rail against basing a society on the foundation of economic growth (see Green 2010; Latouche 2009)'.

This is only on page 3 but I feel as if I have been given a huge bowl of bland risotto as an hors d'oeuvre with the promise that what is to follow will be even heavier. I had to chew several times before I could swallow that sentence and move on.

I agree that the underlying subject matter is worth advocating; in fact it is so thought-provoking that I am surprised that it could be made tedious. I had hoped that the author would engage me but instead, for me, a fascinating subject became dulled in the reading. Perhaps this book was too much of a busman's holiday or I had the wrong sort of expectation but I found the construction of writing simply too heavy and ponderous. Full marks for the argument being advanced but a hefty deduction for the fact that it left me with indigestion.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars heavy reading ... 16 Jan 2011
By Clarke VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I got this book because I enjoyed The Rational Optimist and it looked like the books shared a similar world view. I really struggled with this book, though, because the writing was much denser and more difficult to read than the other book. That's probably a reflection on me, as much as on the book, I guess - there are so many books, and so little time, that I only read the easier texts nowadays.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clear-minded defense of economic growth 24 Mar 2011
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
If you've ever felt guilty about the accoutrements of life in the developed world - plentiful cars, abundant food, cheap energy - economics and finance journalist Daniel Ben-Ami says to stop. He contends that society's elites are afflicted with wrongheaded ideas about how to improve the world. He argues that underprivileged countries desperately need capitalist growth to improve their people's lives, and that developed nations should try to help them boom, not weigh them down with self-denial programs. Ben-Ami's thinking and writing is spotlessly clear but unbendingly hard, and every once in a while he wanders off the path of logic. Nonetheless, he makes a formidable, controversial case. getAbstract suggests his book to corporate managers working on global outreach, economists, and big thinkers who want to ensure the invisible hand is outstretched for a leg up, not a slap in the face.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what would economic progress mean? 23 Jan 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Ben-Ami fittingly concludes the Preface to this work with a quotation from Sylvia Pankhurst, whom everyone remembers as a radical feminist but whom most don't realise was also a revolutionary libertarian socialist:

"Socialism means plenty for all. We do not preach a gospel of want and scarcity, but of abundance.
"Our desire is not to make poor those who to-day are rich, in order to put the poor in the place where the rich now are. Our desire is not to pull down the present rulers to put other rulers in their places.
"We wish to abolish poverty and to provide abundance for all.
"We do not call for limitation of births, for penurious thrift, and self-denial. We call for a great production that will supply all, and more than all the people can consume."

It is with this in mind that I read this book. Though some take the ideas in it to mean that Ben-Ami is advocating a free market free-for-all, he is actually critical of modern capitalism's caution and risk-aversion. Marx, as Ben-Ami correctly notes, saw that capitalism was capable of tremendous economic growth, but the price for this was crisis, uneven development and the misery of workers. It's hard to say that capitalism has been an engine of economic progress since the 1970s. The relentless extension of credit has enabled huge bubbles to form, while the radical impulse of capital towards creative destruction has been severely dampened by governments eager to avoid the social crises this could cause.

Ferraris for All lays out the case of economic growth and popular prosperity, what used to be the rallying cries of socialists. Today's Occupy movement, although promising in its opposition to capital, is bogged down with radical-sounding but ultimately conservative solutions. Although it is not explicitly Marxist, this book stands as a necessary counterweight.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh Wouldn't It Be Loverly? 21 Jan 2011
By Mrs. R.
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We ought to be following the Enlightenment's thinkers. That way, humanity stands a chance of fulfilling its potential, instead of moping around believing that we ought to take care with the planet's limited resources. Because, says Mr. Ben-Ami, the planet's resources aren't really limited, they are just not being used properly. The "deep greens" who are anti-growth are depressing nay-sayers who have forgotten how great the human race can be at solving problems and overcoming obstacles.
The free market is the best way to run the world. Governments have no right to interfere in individual freedom. Environmentalists are upper class conservatives whose intent is to fool the workers into cutting their spending so they can keep control of the power. The UK political parties are all conspiring to make us all miserable by convincing us all that the planet is doomed. Science will save us.
In many long words and tediously pompous sentences, that's what Ferraris for All is saying, if I've read it right.
Wouldn't it be marvellous if science and industry found a way to bring prosperity to everyone, through making and selling more and more stuff? Well, maybe. Ben-Ami sneers at any idea that having more money and stuff might not make you proportionately happy. He sneers a lot, at governments, at greens, at the "happinomics" researchers, at anyone who thinks that well-being can be measured in anything other than piles of cash. He provides little evidence for his claims, yet states that his arguments are self-evidently correct with a frightening fervour. He seems to be aiming to convince us with an intellectually superior argument without facts to support it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the best
I have an interest in business and economics so often read books on the subject. Unfortunately this one didn't really cover any new ground and I've found other books which are more... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Reader
3.0 out of 5 stars Ferraris for All: In Defiance of Commonsense!
Why "in defiance of commonsense"? Because Mr Bel-Ami appears to believe that growth can continue forever on what is in reality a finite planet with finite resources and a finite... Read more
Published on 16 Nov 2011 by M. Grant
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
The author of this book points nothing out that is not already abundantly obvious. The book is predicatble and boring and we all know Environmental issues and Economic Issues are... Read more
Published on 18 Jan 2011 by Honest Reviewer
4.0 out of 5 stars A cogent, optimistic argument for fair Capitalism
This is a very readable book, and one that I finished in a few days. It is an argument for growth, and a riposte to those who think that Economic Development is, on the whole,... Read more
Published on 20 Oct 2010 by Mr. K. P. Rogers
4.0 out of 5 stars Mighty controversial, yet sublimely convincing
If you seek a book debating the spread of prosperity and (not necessarily by default) the growth of the economy, then at last, in fact at long last, along comes this book wherein... Read more
Published on 23 Sep 2010 by Gaurav Sharma
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Exceptional book. I plowed right through it. Ben-Ami is concise and to the point as he trawls through the anti-development arguments, evaluating them and explaining their... Read more
Published on 8 Sep 2010 by Celebdiur
5.0 out of 5 stars Ferraris For All: In Defence of Economic Progress
Ferraris for all is a most important and readable exploration, into the demise of the concept of economic growth in the thinking of Economists in commerce, academia and goverment... Read more
Published on 17 Aug 2010 by Mark Iddon
5.0 out of 5 stars A provocative yet lucid look at current attitudes to economic growth
With bookshelves heaving with popular books on economics following the (still ongoing) financial crisis of 2008, Ben-Ami offers a timely intervention which goes beyond the trading... Read more
Published on 2 Aug 2010 by David Bowden
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