How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes: Two Tales of the Economy Hardcover – 18 May 2010
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If you feel you want to get a decent grasp of free–market economics this book is the perfect place to start. (Daniel Hannan, Telegraph.co.uk/Blog, July 2010). Using illustration, humour and storytelling, the authors take economics off its lofty shelf and place it back on the kitchen table (TheStar.com, September 2010).
Using illustration, humour and storytelling, the authors take economics off its lofty shelf and place it back on the kitchen table (TheStar.com, September 2010).
From the Back Cover
EveR WONDER . . .
- Why governments can spend without ever seeming to run out of money?
- Why some countries are rich while others are poor?
- Whether spending or saving is the best cure for a bad economy?
- Where inflation comes from?
- Why it′s so hard to catch a fish with your bare hands?
How An Economy Grows And Why It Crashes
Understanding how all the pieces of an economy fit together can be a daunting task especially when the experts can′t seem to do it. But when you get down to the basics, it is much easier than you may think. How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes uses illustrations, humor, and accessible storytelling to take economics off its lofty shelf and put it back on the kitchen table where it belongs.
This straightforward story of fish, nets, saving, and lending exposes the gaping holes that lie hidden in our global economic conversation. With wit and humor, the Schiffs explain the roots of economic growth, the importance of trade, savings, and risk, the source of inflation, the effects of interest rates and government stimulus, the destructive nature of consumer credit, and many other economic principles that are so frequently discussed and so poorly understood.
The story may appear simple on the surface but it will leave you with a powerful understanding of How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The introduction makes it clear that the author is a firm adherent of the Austrian school of economics, naturally opposed to the contemporary economic policies of the USA of spending more and providing more and more stimulus to keep consumers spending. The bad thing is that you learn much from Schiff's views, but the whole publication is very one-sided. As such the reader wonders whether the criticism of Keynesian policies is justified. However, this one-sided approach is perhaps rife in publications of this sort. Hopefully those who purchase this book have the sense to read around and find ideas that make the most sense to them. But if Schiff's purpose is to create a convincing argument against Keynesian economics, he very much succeeds.
This book is suitable for all ages. It comes with illustrations, which while very amusing can sometimes appear somewhat condescending. Nevertheless, it's a fantastic book for anybody who feels they should know more about economics, and it explains the basic principles with considerable clarity.
This book is written from that dissenting side who feel that enormous government borrowing and the trend to get others to make the stuff we need will lead us to destruction. It is very persuasive because it is written as a fable on a land with fish as its currency. It bears an uncanny resemblance to the United States but the message is universal that corruption of currency by government overspending is the root of most economic trouble.
The end scenario of this allegory is quite sobering because, again, it is logical and presented simply. Altogether an easy and amusing read.
The book is divided into 17 short, yet cleverly connected chapters. It starts with Able, Baker and Charlie, the only inhabitants of a small island, and finishes up with large society with a government. The twists and turns of their lives on the islet are described in an amusing way, really. You will find out how they produce wealth, how they invest, how loans are created, how joint venture arises, how barter is replaced by money, how specialization (leading to competitive advantage!) benefits whole economy, why deflation is a good thing (efficiency pushes prices down - for instance, Henry Ford was steadily bringing down the prices of cars, which then were available to a wider pool of buyers! Same goes with computer industry - "What was once a luxury for the rich became common for everyone"), and why avoiding underconsumption and taking risk lead people to take up an employment, and many, many more.
A must-read volume for every undergraduate student of economics (or business, in general), politicians, as well as economic advisors who during their education were not aware of Austrian, or at least Chicago economics thought. The book is also recommended for ordinary person, who is, for example, confused about whether to save or spend during the recession. The title will change forever the way you think about economy and economics!
As it is, you get an easy to understand introduction to freemarket economics (capital, risk, investment etc.) although this could have gone further (no mention of opportunity costs). After this first part (which I suspect is a summary of some of the key points in Irwin's book) the Schiff's try - and fail, sadly - to explain in broad strokes the errors of government intervention that led to the recent economic crash.
Whilst a brave attempt, the stretching of the analogy wears thin; I know almost nothing about economics, yet I found myself wishing to hear the correct terms and explanations rather than trying to imagine what the various fish-themed inventions equate to.
Another problem is that, in an effort to be true to what they obviously believe to be a clear chain of events, the beautiful clarity and logic of the choices available to Able, Baker and Charlie at the beginning of the book disintegrates into "and then this happened, and then this happened... (Because it just did)." It was always going to be hard to combine a fictional, exemplary take with the messy reality of life. The new characters come thick and fast, making decisions that the reader struggles to understand as quickly needed in this rapidly paced book.
Overall, if you had a bright 14-15 year old and wanted them to grasp freemarket economics before falling down the well of obligatory socialism that seems to accompany youth, you could do a lot worse. But for an adult, the combination of simplistic cartoons and an attempt to make the analogy fit every desired message becomes a frustration.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
great read, easy for the layman or even teens to comprehend!Published 5 days ago by ThoughtFood1984
It's presented as a sort of graphic story, explaining how economies grow, and how they can fail. I haven't had any economics background, but this book made it clear how things... Read morePublished 5 months ago by John
Clear, concise. I really enjoyed this little book. Passed it onto partner and dad who also found it informative. Minimal knowledge required to understand content.Published 7 months ago by Natster
Beautiful book. Very well written in a very down to earth language which general public can easily understand. Read morePublished on 10 July 2014 by Anatoly
This book explains how the world of trade and government work hand in hand in simple terms. I only wish I had been taught this way at school.Published on 18 Jun. 2014 by Amazon Customer
This work starts off with an apologetic which could really do with a little more candour for it is an unashamedly simplistic attack on certain economic theories. Read morePublished on 21 May 2014 by Alastair Ross
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