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Alan Beattie has long been intrigued by the fates of different countries, economies, and societies-why some fail and some succeed. Here, he weaves together elements of economics, history, politics, and human stories, revealing that societies, economies, and countries usually make concrete choices that determine their destinies. He opens up larger questions about these choices, and why countries make them or are driven to make them, and what those decisions can mean for the future of our global economy.
Economic history involves forcing together disciplines that fall naturally in different directions. But Beattie has written a lively and lucid book that successfully marries the two subjects and illustrates their interdependence. In doing so, he addresses such illuminating queries as: Why are oil and diamonds more trouble than they are worth? Why did Argentina fail and the United States succeed? Why doesn't Africa grow cocaine?
False Economy explains how human beings have shaped their own fates, however unknowingly, and the conditions of the countries they call home. And though it is history, it does not end with the present day. Beattie shows how decisions that are being made now-which have either absorbed or failed to absorb the lessons from economic history-will determine what happens in the future. What does economic history teach us about the present economic unrest? Who will succeed and why? And who will fail? These are questions that we cannot afford to leave unasked . . . or unanswered.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jerry on 11-27-10
Many historical explanations and comparisons. I was looking for a book to teach me something, not to indoctrinate me into the 'Chicago school' or other bias. This book will help you come to your own conclusions on what works and what fails in economies and why.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By Joshua Kim on 06-10-12
If you like reading the Economist (and I do), you will love False Economy. Popular economic history in all the best ways. The big question is always, why are some countries so rich and some countries so poor? Beattie takes on this big question, answering lots of smaller questions along the way. His basic answers have to do with choices and institutions, a thesis he explores while teaching us why Argentina did not get rich, oil is more trouble than it is worth (usually), why cocaine is not grown in Africa, and why we pay so much for Peruvian asparagus (and subsidize rich American peanut growers).
3 of 3 people found this review helpful