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Ferraris for All: In Defence of Economic Progress Hardcover – 14 Jul 2010

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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: 2.5 x 14 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,183,526 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/

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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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3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 7 Nov. 2010
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 24 Mar. 2011
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Clarke on 16 Jan. 2011
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barry Marshall on 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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gaurav Sharma VINE VOICE on 23 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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 the author does not seek the sanctuary of some sort of a middle ground.

That author is economics writer Daniel Ben Ami, who is certainly not sitting on the fence with this one. He discusses attitudes and prejudices to prosperity taking into account the broader issue of economic growth and argues that prosperity is for the greater good. In doing so, if his arguments and thoughts sound radical - then as a financial journalist myself I feel inclined to say "So what and well why not?"

Growth sceptics have always dismissed prosperity, but Ben Ami argues that society as a whole benefits from greater affluence. In a book of just under 250 pages, split into two parts, with a bevy of figures, tables, charts and an unusually detailed bibliography, the author has articulated his thoughts well. The first part of the book records the rise of growth scepticism while the latter half discusses the counter arguments.

Chapter nine, titled "Inequality: development not restraint" is simply splendid. However, make no mistake; the book does not contain some sort of rabid rants of a macroeconomics writer who thinks differently. Wherever possible, Ben Ami backs up his case with plenty of evidence from data sets, policy and academic journals. The odd critic would say that stats are open to misinterpretation. That can be said for just about anything from the Sermon on the Mount to what growth sceptics themselves say.
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