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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Questioning economic assumptions, 22 July 2009
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This review is from: How Rich Countries Got Rich and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor (Paperback)
In this book Erich Reinert questions the current Anglo-American consensus of free-market economics.

He looks at the line of economic thinking from Adam Smith, David Ricardo to Keynes as adopted by neo-classical thinkers such as Paul Samuelson, suggesting their thinking bear little relationship to reality. In particular he questions the theory of comparative advantages which states that countries should concentrate on what they produce best. In advising this, he argues, institutions like the IMF are in fact suggesting that poorer countries concentrate on on producing poverty.

His solution is a more flexible approach based on ideas on an alternative tradition of economics which he describes as reality based. This includes figures such as the great German economist, Friedrich List, Joseph Schumpeter and again Keynes (who fits into both traditions).

The book makes an interesting comparison with Joseph Stiglitz's Globalization and Its Discontents. A fascinating glimpse of an alternative view of economics to the one in current textbooks. One that could well change assumptions.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Jul 2010 11:51:44 BDT
Lark says:
Interesting, I never thought I'd hear a contemporary economist mention Fredrich List again, the economist who advocated autarky right?

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jul 2010 21:46:19 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Oct 2010 11:16:54 BDT
Yes, the very same.

You may be interested to know, in the book, Reinert talks about his purchasing a whole batch of economic texts from the Harvard library that were being discarded because of non-use. This included List's works.

It's a pity. The success of the German economy owes a lot to principles he lay down. To my mind that suggests he deserves serious consideration, if not to be regarded as one of the greatest economists. Being right is insufficient reason for Anglo-American economists to study him.
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Graham Mummery
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Location: Sevenoaks, Kent England

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