3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
I recommend it., 28 Oct. 2006
A good book to learn in detail about some of the things that economically went wrong the 90's.
It is a book that can largely be understood by the total economy lay(wo)man like I, although I had to do a good deal of looking up terms as I worked through the book and I must said I have read easier going books on the topic.
It is a little funny that he starts off explaining very simple economic terms like "transparency" or "assymetries of information" in the preface, but then proceeds leaving the majority of economic terminology he uses unexplained (fiscal and monetary policies, aggregate supply and demand, etc.).
I skipped some parts that went into too much detail than was desirable to know for someone like me. Especially since everything is written from his "skewed", very personal viewpoint, not lending any weight to what a contrary viewpoint might have voiced. I am not criticising him for this, but I feel that as an individual reading up on these issues I'd have the responsibilty to balance my own sources of information in such a way as to read about the different sides.
Stiglitz uses a language that other economists "can understand" -that is to say he doesn't for example present poverty reduction or social stability as ends in and of themselves -which for the majority of his audience they are- but formulates it in a way as to explain that riots are bad for the investment climate and that too big inequality causes such riots. It is also written very diplomatically -never accusing the IMF or the U.S. treasury directly of manipulating other countries in favour of special interests, just stating that making decisions behind closed doors "can invite suspicion", for example.
He drives many of the points he makes home several times, which is good if you are trying to store new information long-term in the back of your mind, but which can be slightly tedious reading the book now, some years after it first has been published, because many of us picking it up will already be familiar with the basic concepts, since they have been absorbed into common knowledge and you'll already have read about it in leaflets, other books, or heard about it in workshops or discussions, etc.