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1. China, Inc. : How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World
by Ted C. Fishman
list price: $26.00
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Asin: 0743257529
Catlog: Book (2005-02-08)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 476175
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2. The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time
by JeffreySachs
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Asin: 1594200459
Catlog: Book (2005-03-15)
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The
Sales Rank: 123
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

He has been cited by The New York Times Magazine as "probably the most important economist in the world" and by Time as "the world's best-known economist." He has advised an extraordinary range of world leaders and international institutions on the full range of issues related to creating economic success and reducing the world's poverty and misery. Now, at last, he draws on his entire twenty-five-year body of experience to offer a thrilling and inspiring big-picture vision of the keys to economic success in the world today and the steps that are necessary to achieve prosperity for all.

Marrying vivid eyewitness storytelling to his laserlike analysis, Jeffrey Sachs sets the stage by drawing a vivid conceptual map of the world economy and the different categories into which countries fall. Then, in a tour de force of elegance and compression, he explains why, over the past two hundred years, wealth has diverged across the planet in the manner that it has and why the poorest nations have been so markedly unable to escape the cruel vortex of poverty. The groundwork laid, he explains his methods for arriving, like a clinical internist, at a holistic diagnosis of a country's situation and the options it faces. Rather than deliver a worldview to readers from on high, Sachs leads them along the learning path he himself followed, telling the remarkable stories of his own work in Bolivia, Poland, Russia, India, China, and Africa as a way to bring readers to a broad-based understanding of the array of issues countries can face and the way the issues interrelate. He concludes by drawing on everything he has learned to offer an integrated set of solutions to the interwoven economic, political, environmental, and social problems that most frequently hold societies back. In the end, he leaves readers with an understanding, not of how daunting the world's problems are, but how solvable they are-and why making the effort is a matter both of moral obligation and strategic self-interest. A work of profound moral and intellectual vision that grows out of unprecedented real-world experience, The End of Poverty is a road map to a safer, more prosperous future for the world.

From "probably the most important economist in the world" (The New York Times Magazine), legendary for his work around the globe on economies in crisis, a landmark exploration of the roots of economic prosperity and the path out of extreme poverty for the world's poorest citizens.
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Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Poverty and the Professor's Plan
Jeffrey Sachs, the director of Columbia University's Earth Institute and special advisor to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, tells us that about 20,000 people die daily due to extreme poverty (that's about 8 million people annually).Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than a dollar a day.About 1 billion people live on less than a dollar a day, one third of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.Thisbook makes us aware of the extent of this tragedy and it offers a global plan to do something about it.

The global plan, of course, requires big money and big debt relief.Sachs has calculated that it would take anywhere from $135 billion to $190 billion per year of donations from rich countriesover the next two decades in order to eliminate extreme poverty by 2025.

Not surprisingly, the conservative critics, such as the economist William Easterly, will disparage this plan as so much utopian social engineering and call instead for a more piecemeal approach (Neoconservatives, however, are different: they have a propensity for lavish spending and risky foreign adventures).

Sachs' plan is not entirely new.The development models of the 1960's and 70's were similar.Huge amounts of money were allocated for building infrastructure and human capital; instead this money ended up in the bank accounts of dictators and corrupt aid officials.The development focus of the 1980's and 90's was more toward ending corruption and state ownership, encouraging deficit spending and free trade.The results have been equally disappointing: still 20,000 die daily.

The Sachs' plan calls for some swift, aggressive, and large-scale "neoliberal" economic interventions.His recommendations on how this $135 to $195 billion should be spent are staggering: it goes from how to plant trees, to soil fertility, to antiviral therapy for Aids, to mosquito nets for malaria, to specially programmed cell phones, to battery charging stations - just to name a few.He proposes that the secretary general of the UN run the overall program (with the requisite oversights), and that this would lift poor countries out of the poverty trap by 2025.This is, admittedly, a tough sell in conservative circles.

It is disingenuous, however, for critics like Easterly and others in this column to call this plan utopian.The goal of ending "extreme" poverty is getting countries to the first rung of the economic ladder so that they can participate in the gobal economy.For example, Sachs considers sweatshop labor a step up from no labor at all - this is hardly a utopian goal.Ending extreme poverty only prepares people and countries for the marketplace, it doesn't make them wealthy.

It is true that an ambitious plan such as Sachs' would have its excesses and unforeseen consequences.One of Sachs' problems is that he accuses people who disagree with him of being uninformed, or, worse yet, in the case of Africa, racist.Surely, someone who became a tenured Harvard professor at aged 28 and saved a handful of countries from economic disaster is not lacking in ego.He would do well to be a little more diplomatic.

From this book one should remember the mission: to save 20,000 lives a day.Instead of labeling proposals left-wing or right-wing, liberal or conservative, we should look deeply within our technocratic selves to end extreme poverty.



5-0 out of 5 stars Fighting Poverty, says J. Wallis, is a Moral Value.
Sojourners magazine editor Jim Wallis is also an evangelical who has lately been speaking out on the current administration's politics which infer that anything having to do with fighting gay rights or abortion is a moral, Christian thing to do. Wallis says that although he cannot find many references in the Bible regarding abortion or gays, he can find thousands of verses regarding poverty, and fighting poverty is a moral, religious issue folks everywhere should do what they can to end.

Coincidentally--and I don't know whether these gentlemen has ever met--we have another popular economist, Jeff Sachs who is head of Columbia University's Earth Institute--who coincidentally has a hot book out that's causing waves. Causing waves for the end of poverty in our lifetime. Already he's been seen rubbing elbows with Kofi Annan and Bono of U2. He probably would have been a better candidate for the US ambassador to the United Nations...but, I politicize. The main thrust of this work here is that taking into account geography, infrastructure, political leanings, corruption of public officials, and other development issues, we (rich nations) can conceivably end grinding poverty by 2025 in most of the worlds under developed countries. How? By supplying medicine and education in AIDs ravaged areas of Africa and Asia, by aiding production of foodstuffs in these rural area (rather than by putting big thinking growers who tend not to understand the region and the traditions of people), by control of for example mosquitos in South Africa. We will help the poor survive and teach them how to survive.

Sachs says that by taking a pro-active stance, addressing problems that are able to likely be solved with enough appropriate effort, we can improve lives. The Millenium Project Report under the UN is designed to help these areas solve their problems.

The book is about the nature of the world's poverty (in for example Bilar, Pakistan, India, Africa) some of Sach's general observations of the poor and the steps to take to curve poverty.

Why should you read this? Even if you are not a Christian, it seems that as a citizen of this world two of your responsibilities are to feed the hungry and to help the poor. This is a valuable, current day, rational dissertation on a 'zero poverty by 2025' goal. It also teaches that civilization will be judged on how it treats its poor. Let's avoid having a bad report card.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Exciting Overview
A very exciting book.Professor Sachs describes his round the world adventures in working to solve some of the most severe economic conditions in modern history.Thrilling was his account of making his proposal to an unbathed Eastern European leader into the night (while the leader consumed a bottle of whiskey and smoked an untold number of packs of cigarettes), working through the night to have a written economic strategy proposal by morning and then, months later, watching with fingers crossed the behavior of the economy after his plan was put in place.Jeffrey Sachs is a high stakes player.The well-being of millions is often at stake.Disappointing was his account of how Russian and other world leaders ignored the majority of his proposals to transform the Russian economy.I've read books about Geronimo and Crazy Horse, climbing Everest, and revolutions, and this book was just as exciting.

Thrilling also is that it is possible to, maybe not eliminate, but greatly reduce the number of people living in extreme poverty.Disappointing is the fact that the necessary assistance from the wealthy governments of the world probably will not materialize.

This book is merely an overview of Professor Sachs's plan to eliminate the poorest of the poor.This is about how to give the absolute poorest of people (those living on less than $1 per day) a boost up to the bottom rung of the economic ladder of development.The poorest of the poor, Sachs claims, with no infrastructure, no education and no capital, are often achieving negative per capita economic growth.Sachs claims that, once on the bottom rung of the ladder, these poorest of the poor will then be able to begin climbing.

Professor Sachs suggests using "differential diagnosis" to determine the causes of deep poverty and devise a strategy to alleviate it and begin economic growth.Decades of experience have taught him that different countries and different regions and villages may be impoverished due to different causes.These impediments to growth must be first diagnosed through careful analysis followed by a strategy specifically designed to overcome these impediments.His method is not a one size fits all approach.

This book is not about enhancing development in economies that have are already on the economic ladder and growing.Countries like Bangladesh, although poor, are already on a path to economic growth and, with small accomplishments in read per capita GDP growth every year, will be able to continue to improve standards of living.

Criticism of this book began before the book was even available.It's not surprising that the harshest criticism comes from those who obviously have not read this book.Sachs is often criticized for failing in Russia.The critics never point out, probably because they are not aware, that neither the Russian government nor outside governments and institutions followed his advice.

A popular criticism of this book is that Sachs's solution involves merely throwing money at a problem.This is perhaps the most misguided criticism.Sachs's plan does involve development assistance from wealthy countries; however, the amount he suggests that is needed is no more than countries have already pledged to contribute.Moreover, Sachs is clear that financial aid without a development strategy will produce little results.Sachs proposes an analysis of the impediments to development at the village level followed by a diagnosis and strategy to overcome them.A stable, honest government is essential in carrying out the plan.

Another popular criticism is that aid has shown to be inadequate in addressing the problems of development.Sachs addresses this issue in the book.His argument is that the amount of aid has been so low in the most impoverished countries that it could not possibly have a significant long-term effect.The governments in the United States invest 30% of GDP in public goods - roads, bridges, ports, police and courts, education ($10,000+ per student in many areas) - in order to achieve a growth rate of 2% in real per capita GDP.Should we be surprised that an investment of a few dollars per citizen is ineffective in Africa?

Sachs is also criticized for suggesting that aid be given to corrupt governments where the money will merely end up in an off shore bank account.Sachs is very clear throughout the book that it is imperative that the recipient countries devise and implement a poverty reduction strategy and stick to it.Countries that are not committed to this "need not apply".

In the end, Professor Sachs has made a good proposal that WILL be effective in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of deep poverty and a track record to prove it.Unfortunately, his plan WILL NOT be implemented primarily because of resistance from Washington.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at development economics
Professor Sachs gives a great tour of the world and its economic problems.He gives personal accounts of helping the economies of Bolivia, Poland, India, Russia and to a limited extent China.Most attempts at helping were successful (Russia, which had deeper and more entrenched problems, was a notable exception).Sachs gives sound advice on what works and what doesn't in really really poor countries.He also lays out how little it would take from America and other developed nations to make it all happen.

The one downside is that for Sachs' plan to work, foreign governments have to be willing to cooperate.It's kind of a Catch-22.The US is not willing to donate large amounts of money if it is used poorly, and foreign governments aren't going to be able to spend wisely if they don't have very much. But really - we are spending hundreds of billions fighting the war in Iraq to "help the Iraqi people".But we could help many more people much more efficiently if we just committed to do it.

Overall, one of the most interesting economics books I have ever read (and I have read a few).

3-0 out of 5 stars A few problems
If there is a more tireless and indefatigable advocate for the poor and downtrodden, and a more vigorous campaigner fighting the evils of poverty in dozens of countries around the world than Mr. Sachs, I don't know who it is. Sach's book provides a sweeping and compelling overview of the dire effects of poverty and the possibilities for aid and assistance, economic reform, and development in third world countries, discussing the successes and failures in many countries and how and why they either failed or succeeded.

Before I get into the rest of my review, I should say something about my own prior and perhaps naive views on foreign aid. Before reading Mr. Sach's book, I believed in helping poor countries as much as possible and putting as much money into it as one could afford. Unfortunately, after reading his book, I was somewhat dismayed to find that so much of what he said could just as easily be used to argue against it. So, like a number of the reviewers here, although I agree that some sort of action is necessary, most of these solutions unfortunately still seem to come down to throwing more money at what in many cases have already turned out to be bottomless pits, lining local dictator's and beaurocrat's pockets and accomplishing very little else in the way of long-term gain. One shudders at the number of countries in Africa where aid is desperately needed and yet so little seems to reach the actual populace, not to mention several former Soviet countries, such as Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, and countries like Cambodia, that have similar if not worse situations.

One of Mr. Sach's favorite countries, for example, is Ethiopia, one of the world's poorest nations, where less than 1 dollar is spent per year per person on medical aid. However, Ethiopia still has not come to grips with its population problem, and every generation or about 20 years, there is another famine and the world sends vast amounts of food and money to rescue the starving populace.

This happened back in the 60s, and again in the 80s. That one I remember well because of all the TV ads featuring actors/actresses like Sally Struthers, one of the stars from the TV sitcom, All in the Family. While this generosity is commendable, nothing had changed since the 60s, and Ethiopia was again starving as a result of a couple of years of crop failures. Again, the U.S. and the world again sent huge amounts of aid, which did save many lives, but again, it just postpones Ethiopia's need to deal with the population issue in a more realistic and timely way.

Although I learned much about the different circumstances and strengths and weaknesses of many countries around the world in regard to their economic problems and opportunities, sometimes the book tantalizes as much as it explains. For example, Mr. Sachs discusses the amazing progress China has achieved, contrasting that with the failure of many Latin American countries to continue to progress, not to mention the problems of Russia. He attributes the success of China to the development of TVEs (township and village enterprises), which became small but dynamic production and profit centers, as opposed to the inefficient Soviet state operations, and the failure to develop true capitalistic institutions where profits are plowed back into capital spending, growth, and expansion rather than into the new elite industrial leadership's pockets.

However, this doesn't really explain why local village enterprises in China really succeeded over the larger state concerns in Russia. Larger operations enjoy certain advantages such as economies of scale and access to governmental funds for loans. Deciding to follow up on the question, I did a Google search and came up with the following excerpt from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization document number 4536 (I apologize for the long quote but it provides info that Sachs leaves out, and also, I'm going somewhere with all of this):

"China's township and village enterprises (TVE) are rural, collective economic organizations established at the township or village level. They also include the city branches of township enterprises. TVEs had become a major component of the Chinese economy, contributing significantly to GDP, employing large numbers of people and contributing to social development.

The development of TVEs has varied across China's regions and economic sectors. TVEs in some sectors are hi-tech or export oriented, and they face regional and international competition. However, TVEs in the brick, cement, coking and metal-casting sub-sectors were set up primarily to absorb rural labour, to provide essential low cost products, and to contribute to improving livelihoods in a localised area. In these sectors TVEs relied heavily on direct interventions from local governments for access to resources and marketing opportunities. As a result of the limited exposure of TVEs in these sectors to the market and to market forces, development in these sectors was characterized by expansion, without technology and technique development.

Despite their general dynamism and growth, TVEs still have many disadvantages compared to state owned enterprises (SOE). A key one is the shortage of workers having significant professional skills. Another is the lack of access to finance. These gaps are also found between TVEs in Central China and those in the coastal regions.

While the building material, coking and metal casting sectors provide key inputs to China's economic development and have been a major contributor to China's economic growth over the last 20 years (TVE provide more than half of the total output from these sectors), the level of technology in these sectors is low. Accordingly, TVEs in these sectors are characterized by high pollution levels. Notably, these four TVE sectors account for a staggering one sixth of China's total emissions of CO2. Their average relative energy consumption is 30% to 60% higher than state-owned-enterprise sector using currently available technologies. In addition, the low quality of their products leads to additional energy inefficiencies in product use (notably, poor building materials have low insulation levels, leading to heat loss in buildings). TVE are also major contributors to local air and water pollution and health hazards for employees."

Unfortunately, the impression I get from this article in the way of explanation is that this apparent miracle won't last. The most likely explanation to me for the success of the TVEs is that the interior of China was so backward (it consisting mainly of literally of tens of thousands of small and relatively isolated villages) is that almost any improvement in industrial capability and capacity was a big improvement over what had existed before in the region. The same thing happened in the Soviet Union, where initially industrial output increased due to some fairly simple and basic improvements in manufacturing technology and production. Like the TVE's, they also initially seemed a big success, only later peaking and going into decline. However, the interior of both countries was so backward industrially that almost any improvement was likely to succeed in the short term, whether it was more collectivized as in the case of the Soviet Union, or smaller scale, more private enterprise type operations as in the case of TVE's.

My point, unfortunately, is that we still don't know whether TVE's will truly succeed or not in the long run, as much of the profit can also be explained by the low cost of labor. If labor is cheap enough, you can still make a profit not matter how inefficient and low tech and non-competitive your operation is.

So overall, although I applaud Mr. Sach's willingness to be an advocate for eliminating poverty around the world, we still don't really know what we're doing in many cases economically, and the practical problems are still daunting. Development economics is itself a developing academic area (by the way, John Kenneth Galbraith, an advisor to many U.S. presidents, did his Ph.D. dissertation on farm economics, although he became known mainly for his book, The Age of Affluence), and hopefully we will continue to learn more and be able to apply more rational and scientific solutions to the elimination of poverty in the future.

In the short-term, however, our efforts continue to be hampered by inefficient and corrupt governments and inefficient aid organizations--although I still believe that we must continue to provide help despite the small percentage of it that ultimately reaches those most in need. ... Read more


3. Economic Development (8th Edition)
by Michael P. Todaro, Stephen C. Smith
list price: $125.40
our price: $125.40
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Asin: 0201770512
Catlog: Book (2002-07-17)
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Sales Rank: 165614
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This best-selling text offers a unique policy-oriented approach that uses models and concepts to illustrate real-world development problems. Retaining its hallmark accessibility throughout, the Eighth Edition uses the most current data, offering full coverage of recent advances in the field, and featuring a balanced presentation of opposing viewpoints on today's major policy debates.

Economic Development includes extensive country-specific examples, with particular attention given to economic dislocations throughout Asia, Russia, and Brazil. Updated Country Case Studies and Comparative Case Studies allow students to apply concepts to specific developing nations. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not really much economics
While Michael Todaro's text is widely used, as another reviewer points out, it is as much political "science" and sociology as economics. I am an economics professor and I have taught Economic Development courses from this text and had to repeatedly bring the perspective of neo-classical economics which was lacking or misconstrued. This text is closer to neo-Marxist than neo-classical.

If you wish to gain the insights of economics, I would recommend "The Elusive Quest for Growth : Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics" by William Easterly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gives meaning to "development" ...... 5++
Todaro and Smith cover the major issues and influences of poverty in the third world, as we know it today.

With development having many different meanings and underdevelopment been a concept that many theories, especially economic ones, ignore, this book is exceptional in its analysis of the third world and the need for development, both economically and socially; the role of women and children in poverty is raised and discussed, as the important issue that it is, .... and more than often is ignored AND possible solutions to underdevelopment are suggested.

Additionally, much emphasis is placed on specific country examples, which are extremely interesting and useful from a study point of view, and Todaro and Smith further the cause for underdevelopment issues with their key characteristics of development.

An excellent resource for students, or anyone else, interested in development issues ..... 5+++.

5-0 out of 5 stars Accessible and Comprehensive
The greatest problem facing economists today (I should say "facing the world today") is how to create wealth in the poorest countries of the world. This introduction to the subject is accessible to any reader, even those with very limited previous knowledge of economics. The book begins with a critical summary of current development theories and then takes on a number of policy questions, with case studies. Each chapter ends with discussion questions and the publisher maintains a web site with useful quantitative and graphing exercises (with answers).

Michael Todaro writes from a left-of-center perspective and is more ideological than most textbook writers. However, he presents other points of view and presents them pretty fairly in my opinion. And I have to say that he scores some pretty big points against the neoclassical theorists by showing that their assumptions are frequently at odds with reality.

While some of Todaro's more stridently ideological statements can be annoying, I know of no other book that provides such a comprehensive, well organized, and engagingly written introduction to economic development.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very readable introduction to developmental economics.
Todaro in this book presents what is quite possibly the easiest to understand introduction to developmental economics that the world has to offer. He does not provide quick answers but a logical and well thought out conception of the complexities of the problems in a format that although not wholly excluding mathmatics, uses it only in appendixes, etc. to explain problems-- which leaves the book open to a wider audience (and also does not allow its readers into the overly simplistic answers that too much mathmatics sometimes hints at....) In my studies of development, this book more often than any other served as a quick reference and fairly handy bibliography. I recommend this book to any undergraduate student or student of public policy the world over. It should be a classic.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best book on the complexities of economic development.
Todaros's text on the complexities a developing country must face and consider to lead itself out of poverty and backwardness gets better with every edition, now on its sixth. It is the only book I have found that, with unsurpasssed dexterity, combines economics, sociology and political science into a unifying frame that should be required reading for policymakers and government throughout the developing world. His writing style, clarity of exposition and long-term vision are absolutely second to none. ... Read more


4. The Innovator's Dilemma
by Clayton M. Christensen
list price: $17.95
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Asin: 0060521996
Catlog: Book (2003-01)
Publisher: HarperBusiness
Sales Rank: 2373
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this revolutionary bestseller, Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen says outstanding companies can do everything right and still lose their market leadership, or worse, disappear completely. And he not only proves what he says, he tells others how to avoid a similar fate.

Focusing on "disruptive technology" of the Honda Supercub, Intel's 8088 processor, and the hydraulic excavator, Christensen shows why most companies miss "the next great wave." Whether in electronics or retailing, a successful company with established products will get pushed aside unless managers know when to abandon traditional business practices. Using the lessons of successes and failures from leading companies, The Innovator's Dilemma presents a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation.

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Reviews (125)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book About Business Strategies, Must Read for Managers
Comment: This review is done as a class project for the San Jose State University MBA e-commerce course by Ji Luo.

Dr. Christensen's book offered me a fresh perspective into looking at how large established business failed. As the author explained it, the standard process that governs sound management could be the same one that destroys the company. I found his use of graphics and quantities data sufficient as well as very useful in understand concepts such as the S-curve and the value networks. The detailed analysis shows that the author has done quite a bit of research into the topic and that makes the data more credible to me. His writing style is very easy to understand and organized. First few chapters go into how disruptive technology can destroy a company if not harnessed. His later chapters list guidelines on how to avoid the pitfalls. These guidelines are followed thoroughly by many case studies and quotes from industry leaders. While company's policies shouldn't be based on a few guidelines and the situations in a person's particular industry may find the guidelines hard to follow, the author's particular views are irrefutable and should at least be considered by the managers. It's really exciting to see him link the same principles to so many varying industries from high tech to low tech. The overarching principle of sustaining technology and disruptive technology and how a company should embrace it could be applied to any large established industry.

People who are interested in the business world should read this book and should especially be read by top managers in large corporation because many of them are ultimately responsible for success or failure of implementing disruptive technology. However, this is not a perfect book. I am a bit skeptical as to whether these rules apply to medium sized companies or companies with low margins. Therefore, my opinion is that the guidelines listed here really only applies to large organization with a lot of resources to divide. Also, The author sometimes repeat his points more than he should. He tends to concentrate so much on the hard disk drive industry that he left less room to get into deeper analysis into other industries.

Overall, I think this is a great read for anyone interested in business and wondered about how large companies such as Montgomery Wards could go belly-up or why Digital Corporation disappeared from our vocabulary.

5-0 out of 5 stars A "must own" for managers and business executives
This is the best book on strategy I have ever read (and I've read a few in my time). In his book, "The Innovator's Dilemma", Clayton M. Christensen, business professor at Harvard, explains why established firms fail, more often than none, when confronted with disruptive technologies.

Disruptive technology is different from radical innovation. Such technology initially proposes attributes that are not valued by current, mainstream customers. The technology is initially attractive to a small market segment -- making it unattractive for larger firms. Therefore lies the innovator's dillema: how to allocate resources to developing a technology that will target a smaller market and at lower margins.

Thoughout his book, Mr. Christensen develops a framework for managers and executives (also valid and valuable for consultants and analysts) to be able to resolve this dillema.

If you are to read only one book on business this year, the Innovator's Dillema should be it.

The reviewer is a certified management consultant and earned his MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University and completed the Wharton School Multinational Marketing and Management Program. He is also a Professional Engineer and holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering from the University of Toronto.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to a nice Theory
Not quite as easy to read as I would have liked. Christensen describes some very interesting & plausible theories, but is somewhat confined into employing the computer disk industry as the rapidly changing example which both demonstrates & proves his theories, and its not necessarily the most exciting case material. Other products only get a minor look-in.

What I did like is how he covers the footnotes at the end of each Chapter - so if they don't interest you, you can skip over them, but if they do interest you, then you don't have to struggle to the back of the book. I wish more authors & publishers would use that technique.

One quibble - given his Economics background - of course there are plenty of graphs, and 99% of them are straight lines - there are no time dependent variances in his world.

Read this before you read the Innovators Solution.

4-0 out of 5 stars Driven by disks
Clay Christensen combines the science of empirical research with the art of organizational behavior in his best-selling "The Innovator's Dilemma." The book provides tangible advice on how to foster innovation within a corporate environment. His case studies draw from the successes and failures of American companies within numerous industries (disk drives, excavators, motorcycles, software). Christensen's strong points include a creative presentation of data, lucid writing and frank admission that the advice in his book is not a one-size-fits-all panacea for management challenges. But a heads-up to readers: perhaps 50% of the book centers on the disk-drive manufacturing industry. Although the lessons learned in hard drives are interesting, a more balanced approach would have been welcome. "The Innovators Dilemma" is a well written management how-to, in the same league as classics by Peters or Hammer. The book seems to be written for managers in large organizations, but entrepreneurs will probably find the material just as beneficial.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book for anyone . . . especially business students
This was a fantastic book. I began reading it less than half way through the MBA program I am in and I was amazed at how many of the arguments others were making in class fell apart. This book helped me better analyze several aspects of many of my classes and I only wish I would have read it sooner.

I continued on and read the Innovator's Solution, and while I thought it was also a good book, I got much more out of the Innovator's Dilemma, though I still recommend both of them. ... Read more


5. Mr. China : A Memoir
by Tim Clissold
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060761393
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: HarperBusiness
Sales Rank: 1423
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The idea of China has always exerted a pull on the adventurous type. There is a kind of entrepreneurial Westerner who just can't resist it: red flags, a billion bicycles, and the largest untapped market on earth. What more could they want? After the first few visits, they start to feel more in tune and experience the first stirrings of a fatal ambition: the secret hope of becoming the Mr. China of their time.

In the 1990s, China went through a miraculous transformation from a closed backwater to the workshop of the world. Many smart young men saw this transformation coming and mistook it for their destiny. Not a few rushed East to gain strategic footholds, plant their flags, and prosper. After all, the Chinese had numbers on their side: a seemingly endless population, a thirst for resources, and the tide of history. What they needed was Western knowledge and lots of capital. Or so it seemed ...

Mr. China tells the rollicking story of one man's encounter with the Chinese. Armed with hundreds of millions of dollars and a strong sense that he and his partners were -- like missionaries of capitalism -- descending into the industrial past to bring the Chinese into the modern world, Clissold got the education of a lifetime.

The ordinary Chinese workers, business owners, local bureaucrats, and party cadres Clissold encountered were some of the most committed, resourceful, and creative operators he would ever meet. They were happy to take the foreigner's money but resisted just about anything else. At every turn, the locals seemed one step ahead of Clissold's crew threatening to take the Westerners for all they were worth.

In the end, Mr. China isn't a tale of business or an expatriate's love for his adopted land. It's one man's coming-of-age story where he learns to respect and admire the nation he sought to conquer.

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Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars A first-hand look into China's complex business culture

In "Mr. China," we get a genuine look into the, "Now you see it, now you don't," world of foreign investment in China.

You'll laugh, and cry, when you read Clissold's frightening tales.You'll find out first-hand what it's like to be a pioneer in an emerging market, still entrenched in communism, where firing workers is off limits, regulations are deliberately complicated, and property ownership is a moving target.

Much of what has been written about China deals with the economic boom in coastal cities.Clissold takes us out into the hinterlands, some areas of which have only recently been opened to westerners.Out in China's badlands, they can be trying to destroy you one day, and the next day they're your best buddies, staying up with you all night, sloshing down baijiu.Lucky for us (and for the author), he lived to tell about it.

This book is full of valuable lessons, not just about China, but which are relevant to any emerging market.Even if you're not looking to invest in China, this book is still worth reading.Because, like it or not, China is here to stay.And the more we understand their complex culture, the better we'll be able to deal with them as an economic superpower.

We should be thankful to pioneers like Clissold, who pave the way and take the arrows.Yet despite the extreme hardships, and tens of millions in losses, Clissold leaves us with hope that, some day, we'll be able to make this work."Mr. China" is definitely a step in that direction.


4-0 out of 5 stars Unusual stories about investments in China that went wrong
For every success story that we hear about China investments, there must be many which have gone awry. Yet there are not many books that depict such tales from the first narrator viewpoint. Many are dry textbook-like, how-to narrations. Thus, Mr China provides a refreshing look into the realities of doing business in this vast land of 1.3 billion. I particularly enjoyed the story on the investment in Five Star Brewery- perhaps because it is a tale about a consumer product which makes it easier to grasp.

However, I do not understand why Mr Clissord kept using "arrived back from " when he could have used "returned from". Perhaps, it is due to his long stay in China that he started formulating his thoughts in Chinese?

It would also help if Mr Clissold could explain in greater detail the hierarchial structure of the Chinese governmental bodies.

On the whole, this is book worth your time.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-read for anyone wants to understand modern China
As a person who was born in Taiwan and came of age in the States, I marvel at Tim's in-depth understanding of Chinese culture.All those proverbs he quoted at the beginning of each chapter are old sayings that are known for almost all Chinese and capture much essence of Chinese view of life and world through ages.His sincerity and truthful portrait of the Chinese that he encountered makes this book truly educational for anyone who wants to do business in China, like many reviews have already mentioned. What makes this book so special is Tim's compassion toward fellow human beings, in the instance of this book, toward people who live in the land that European happened to call "China."Scratching the surface difference of customs or language, people everywhere are pretty similar--they all long for a better live, try to do the best of what they are given and want to be treated respectfully.Being a member of this exclusive five-thousand year old club, I admire and appreciate Tim's efforts to put a humane face of Chinese people and try to build deeper understanding between two great nations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Reading Before Business Travel to China
Several days ago, I learned of the book Mr. China by Tim Clissold. I started reading it last night and finished it early this morning - only 252 pages. It is an absolutely mesmerizing chronicle of the investing in China in the 90's, and of the challenge to traveling out into the hinterlands of that enormous nation.

To a great extent it explains to me the situation I was actually in during my trip to Humen China last November - the balance between the Party and the private sector there, the role of the press, the work ethic and entrepreneurial drive of the Chinese, the intrigue of their nefarious rules/regulations and the balance between Beijing and the provinces. It reinforces the wisdom of our non-profit trade group having over 30 members with offices in China, a resouce we can draw from in our network. But this book is what individuals must read and come to grips with prior to travel to China.

I almost can not imagine what our members went through in opening factoriesthere. After you read this book, neither will you. And the same holds true for our many members there or soon to be in one form or another.

Simply amazing and an important, informative, moving and almost visceral read for those of us in this global game.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Emerging Market Lessons
I have worked extensively in Russia, rather than China, but most of the author's experiences and lessons are just as applicable to Russia or any other emerging market.

Other than describing some common pitfalls and challenges, the author does a great job of explaining with insight, humor, and feeling why people are attracted to invest and live in emerging markets.

A good, fun, quick, read that might actually teach you something.Highly recommended!

TMR ... Read more


6. Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One
by Thomas Sowell
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0465081436
Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 2200
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The ideal companion volume to the acclaimed Basic Economics--a guide to how our economic decisions turn out in practical terms.

The application of economics to major contemporary real world problems--housing, medical care, discrimination, the economic development of nations--is the theme of this new book that tackles these and other issues head on in plain language, as distinguished from the usual jargon of economists. It examines economic policies not simply in terms of their immediate effects but also in terms of their later repercussions, which are often very different and longer lasting. The interplay of politics with economics is another theme of Applied Economics, whose examples are drawn from experiences around the world, showing how similar incentives and constraints tend to produce similar outcomes among very disparate peoples and cultures. ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Book (Even for Environmentalists)
Thomas Sowell describes economics as thinking beyond Stage One-considering the later consequences of present policies. This is a great message, and one I wish our national leaders understood. I am a biochemist and a patent attorney, and I consider myself an environmentalist. Most environmentalists, unfortunately, need to think much more about Stage Two and beyond. This book is a good way to start this process and correct some of the naivete that surrounds environmental policy proposals. Mr. Sowell's analysis of recycling, for example, is a much-needed insertion of reality into this area.
I enjoyed the analyses of medical care and risk-taking. Mr. Sowell makes the excellent point that drug prices convey an underlying reality that is not nearly as easily changed as the prices are; drug price controls are therefore self-defeating. I felt Mr. Sowell did not go far enough on this, however. Life insurance works because it is reasonably easy to tell whether someone is dead or not, and because successfully killing someone for the insurance money is difficult and risky. Health insurance works poorly because there simply is no way to define "good" health care, much less tell whether or not someone else's child is receiving it. The demand for medical care is essentially infinite; nearly everyone would like themselves and their families to have better health than they presently do. As soon as a third party payer enters the picture, the necessary connection between demand for health care and the available resources of the patient or his family becomes a fog filled with conflicts of interest.
Mr. Sowell's analysis of zoning laws is basically good. I agree that we need much more consideration of the role of zoning laws in creating urban sprawl. I think Mr. Sowell puts too much emphasis on the role of "open space" in this, though. The main problem is not that we don't allow people to build in the remaining open space, but that thanks to too-restrictive zoning, housing density is far too low in the locations (such as near jobs, shopping, schools, parks, and subway stations) where people want to live. In my own neighborhood (Falls Church, Virginia), demand for housing is intense and home prices are soaring, but thanks to zoning and local politics, the few remaining lots are mostly having single-family houses built on them. Ridiculous!
Mr. Sowell's analysis is faulty in some areas. He too easily dismisses overpopulation as a serious problem. The difficulty is that if people are not required to pay the full costs of raising their own children, they will raise more children than they or their society can afford. If we are going to have such "pro-child" policies as universal free education, therefore, we must balance that with taking steps to control population.
Mr. Sowell admits that there is a limit to the earth's capacity to sustain human life, but says this is not a problem because we are still far from the limit. I am not convinced that we are as far from the limit as he thinks. The earth's resources (and its waste sinks) are being used at a rate which is simply not sustainable even over a time span of decades, never mind centuries. Mr. Sowell's analysis would be correct if there were no externalities. The fact is, though, that resource use is in effect very heavily subsidized. Users of crude oil, for example, do not now have to pay the costs of air pollution, roads, auto accidents, wars to protect the oil flow, climate change, and the like, but instead shove these costs off onto others. As long as this continues, crude oil will continue to be overused and the economy will be less efficient as a result. I would like to see Mr. Sowell's formidable abilities applied to the problem of solving the "Stage Two" problem of externalities, rather than simply sweeping it under the rug.

5-0 out of 5 stars Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One
This new book is a spirited and controversial examination of how economic choices in public policy often result in unforeseen consequences. Sowell, a professor of public policy at Stanford and author of Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy, examines labor, medical care, housing, and other areas of economic activity. He says that in stage-one thinking, making housing affordable by setting rent controls would seem to be self-evident but that such rent controls both reduce the stock of low-rent housing and cause that stock to deteriorate in condition. He explains that many landlords don't bother to offer properties when rents are low and that those who do find very little incentive to maintain them. On the institution of slavery in the American South, Sowell says slaves were usually better cared for than other laborers because of the slave owners' economic self-interest. He defends the existence of slums as low-cost housing that in the past allowed the residents who chose to live in them to use their funds for other purposes. His predictably laissez faire approach to economics will grate on many readers, but his reasoning is clear and thoughtful. Every library covering economics or public administration will require a copy.-

5-0 out of 5 stars Sowell Urges us to Think Ahead
Thomas Sowell's "Applied Economics" ought to be required reading in every high school and college economics, politics, and English courses. While Mr. Sowell is Ph.D economist and fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford, his ideas are useful even to the non-economist. As a society, we tend to be taken in too easily by people who make irrational arguments that sound good at first glance but produce miserable results since no one thought about the next step. Often times, too many words are politically popular but are actually quite harmful. Such words include: "living wage," "consumer protection," "rent control," etcetera. When these ideas are actually applied in practice, the results rarely meet the rhetoric over the long-run. Politicians only tend to care about what will get them re-elected, and as a result, few of them have an incentive to think about what will happen 10 years from now. As a result, many often escape the blame since the poor results will be far removed from their disasterous policies. This, of course, could easily be construed as a problem with democracy, but instead, my feeling is that it is a problem with our educational system. If our educational system actually educated citizens to think deeply about what would be the consequences of certain policies, perhaps the heated irrational logic emanating from certain politicians would cease. Perhaps such rhetoric would continue to work in irrational hotspots such as Berkeley, but rare for it to work elsewhere. One could only hope. This book is a must read for everyone -- regardless of who you are.

Michael Gordon

4-0 out of 5 stars What Comes After the Bold and Noble Ideas
This book is a much-needed antidote for those who measure the value of their policy prescriptions for their surface qualities. Are you for cheap medicine? Then you will want to regulate the prices set by pharmaceutical companies and limit the length of their patents. Are you for cheap housing? Impose rent control. How about fixing the so-called "north-south" inequalities in wealth that you believe are a result of globalization and discrimination? That's simple: increase foreign aid.

To these solutions, and many others like them, Thomas Sowell asks a very basic but often neglected question: What happens next? Once you have imposed rent control in a city, for example, what happens to its housing market? By providing preliminary answers to these questions based on empirical evidence, Sowell undercuts the surface moralism of those who promote these ideas.

Sowell looks at labor markets, the economics of medical care, housing and discrimination, how risk affects business, and finally provides a chapter on why various countries and regions show such different patterns of development. As with all his work, his writing is crystal-clear and enjoyable. This is a wonderful book, but I gave it four stars because Sowell has written many better.

2-0 out of 5 stars Doesn't add up
The arguments in the books for a FREE market doesn't add up to the conculsions. It cited many failures in government interventions as the basis for a complete free market, however there are no hard evidence that a completely free markets in the sectors covered in the book will work. In particular, it advocate a practical appraoch in that it emphasis what is important is actual experience in the past that matters, not the idealistic socialism. It is however, recent experiences that pointed to the fact that markets are never perfected. The public is misinformed about the safety of automobiles, the pubic is misinformed about the consequences of rent control. In a perfect information market, how can the public be misinformed.

The zoning of land use is against free market. On this topic, I invite Mr. Sowell to come to Hong Kong (where I live) to see how developers (not checked by a competent government) can damage one of the most beautiful natural harbour in the world.

Mr. Sowell's arguments are only valid if very one in the market are thinking about stage 4, otherwise it won't work. He is as idealistic as the communist.

In the real world, we are have to balance between the two exterme and I don't think Mr. Sowell's ideal world exist in any place in the world today. ... Read more


7. The World's Banker: A Story of Failed States, Financial Crises, and The Wealth and Poverty of Nations (Council on Foreign Relations Books (Penguin Press))
by Sebastian Mallaby
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
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Asin: 1594200238
Catlog: Book (2004-09-23)
Publisher: Penguin Press Hc
Sales Rank: 4125
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Book Description

Unstoppable force, meet immovable object. Scene: the World Bank, a mighty development kingdom of many fiefs, its ten thousand employees operating in some one hundred countries responsible for tens of billions of dollars in aid to the world's poorest nations. Enter: James Wolfensohn, the smooth global deal maker and power broker of gargantuan appetites who has furiously worked his many connections to become the World Bank's president. Over the course of his dazzling career, Wolfensohn seduced everything in his way-surely the development gurus of the bank would be no different? Even if this wasn't much the crowd for private jets and homes in Jackson Hole, for friendship with European royalty and Harrison Ford, for fencing at the Olympics and playing the cello in Carnegie Hall with Yo-Yo Ma, surely they would see what a noble sacrifice James Wolfensohn had made in walking away from his multimillion-dollar income?

Not exactly. In 1995, Wolfensohn struck the World Bank like a whirlwind, determined to reinvent the institution founded by Franklin Roosevelt and his World War II allies. Never has the World Bank's work been more important, more in the public eye, or more controversial than in the past nine years when challenges from global financial crises to AIDS to the emergence of terrorist sanctuaries in failed states have threatened our prosperity. In Sebastian Mallaby's masterful hands, the story of Wolfenson and his World Bank is a marvelous tour through the messy reality of global development. What John Gutfreund and Salomon Brothers were to the 1980s and John Meriwether and Long Term-Capital Management were to the 1990s, James Wolfensohn and the World Bank are to our time: the emblematic story through which a gifted author has channeled the spirit of the age.
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8. A Call to Action
by Hank A. McKinnell
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
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Asin: 007144808X
Catlog: Book (2005-04-21)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 5750
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

“Is our healthcare system really in crisis?” That’s a question Hank McKinnell one of the world’s most influential coporate leaders encounters every day.His answer may surprise you.While McKinnellagrees that there is a crisis, he doesn’t think the problem is with “healthcare”—rather, he asserts the crisis is in “sick-care.”

Healthcare systems around the world, McKinnell argues, are focused on sickness and its management rather than health. As a result, dialogue about how to sustain health now takes a back seat to arguments about cost—containing it, avoiding it, or shifting it to someone else.The result? A near-universal belief that healthcare is becoming unaffordable, fragmented, and impersonal. “Focusing only on the cost of care is looking at the healthcare problem though the worong end of the telescope,” says McKinnell, the chairman and CEO of Pfizer. “The real focus should be on the horrific cost of disease.”In America, the “sick-care” system delivers the world’s most sophisticated procedures, while skimping on vaccines, hampering the fight against AIDS, and intruding into one of life’s most personal relationships – doctor and patient.

Groundbreaking and provocative, A Call to Action, reframes the dialogue on healthcare and offers people a way out of the zero-sum, win-or-lose game they now encounter. Distilling more than 30 years of experience in global healthcare, McKinnell provides concrete action steps to build cost-effective, inclusive healthcare that he believes can extend millions of lives and save billions of dollars over the next generation. He addresses:

  • A new, prevention-based approach to employee healthcare
  • Why pharmaceutical companies have lost trust, and what they must do to regain it
  • Why Americans pay more for prescription drugs than people in Canada and Europe
  • How competition can spur the healthcare industry to improve services and contain prices
  • How new technologies can reduce medical errors and improve the dialogues between patient and doctor
  • How we might lose the race between the world’s most insidious virus and the world’s best researchers
  • How we can take more responsibility for our health

McKinnell also assesses the global challenge of infectious disease, particularly the pandemic of HIV. He demonstrates why this pandemic –the worst in human history –is beyond the scope of governments acting alone —and how, even in the face of devastating global catastrophes, public-private partnerships can deliver real hope.

The healthcare crisis can be brought under control. Sick-care systems can be changed to put patiens over payers. In this book, McKinnell offers a compelling case for change, and a plan of action to make healthcare systems work for us and our children.

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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars There is Hope
In "A Call to Action" Pfizer chairman Hank McKinnell makes the observation that the US has a "sick care" system, not a health care system.While the entitites working within this system may be the best at what they do, the lack of a true health care system will continue to impose a growing financial, social, and quality-of-life burden on all.Additionally, the health issues facing the world, such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic, are bigger than any one organization can handle.

Through provocative observations and insightful questions, McKinnell creates a framework for the discussion of this crucial issue.The solution can not lie solely upon private enterprise, governments, NGOs, or individuals, but must be achieved through the concerted efforts of all parties, both public and private.The questions raised in this book provide a necessary framework to both get the dialogue going as well as to organize what may otherwise be considered an overwhelming task.Importantly, this industry veteran shows that there is reason to believe the goal is achievable.

Our healthcare system has profound effects throughout every fiber of our society, from the way we live our lives to the taxes we pay to the role of government in providing for a healthful place in which to pursue our dreams.As such, it is important for all concerned citizens to understand the challenges facing the establishment and maintenance of a true health care system.

"A Call to Action" is a surprising, thought-provoking, and ultimately hopeful challenge to establish a true and sustainable health care system.I strongly recommend this to anyone interested in one of the biggest issues facing the US both today and in the future. ... Read more


9. Economics of Development, Fifth Edition
by Dwight H. Perkins, Malcolm Gillis, Steven Radelet, Donald R. Snodgrass, Michael Roemer, Donald Snodgrass
list price: $125.00
our price: $125.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393975177
Catlog: Book (2001-03)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 208663
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Adopted at more than 400 colleges and universities worldwide, Economics of Development remains the standard of excellence in its market. That tradition continues with this Fifth Edition in which the all-star team of authors, including newcomer Steven Radelet, introduce a number of important improvements to the book's scope and coverage. Like previous editions, this one benefits from the wide-ranging expertise of its authors, both as researchers and field practitioners, and its approach remains steadfastly pragmatic and authoritative. Now more than ever before, Economics of Development is the book to count on in your development course. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
This is one of the best books in economic development ever published. Written in plain english, so it's easy to understand, even for non-economics students. Highly recommended for graduate students, professors, and professionals interested in economic issues of developing countries.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent ... But ... !!!
This is an excellent academic book ,but it needs updating in light of the recent global developments. Basically it is missing a detailed analysis of The spread and effects of Globalization. Maybe there is a new edition in print now ??? ... Read more


10. Economics of Regulation and Antitrust - 3rd Edition
by W. Kip Viscusi, John M. Vernon, Joseph E. Harrington
list price: $78.00
our price: $66.30
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Asin: 0262220628
Catlog: Book (2000-07-21)
Publisher: The MIT Press
Sales Rank: 246554
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Departing from the traditional emphasis on institutions, this text emphasizes the use of economic theory and empirical analysis to understand regulatory and antitrust policies. Questions addressed include: What are the market failure rationales for, and appropriate form of, government intervention? What does theory show about competition in the presence of a market failure and the implications of government intervention to correct that failure? What do empirical analyses indicate about our regulatory experience and the direction of future intervention?

The third edition addresses many issues that have recently dominated the economic and political landscape. New material reviews the government's case against Microsoft, charges of anticompetitive pricing in NASDAQ and airlines, the blocked Staples-Office Depot merger, and the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This edition also covers the deregulation of the California electric power industry as well as recent deregulatory efforts in bank branching and natural gas transmission. On the social regulatory scene, it covers in detail recent cigarette litigation and the contentious issue of the contingent valuation of natural resource damages, as exemplified in the Exxon Valdez oil spill. New empirical evidence appears throughout the book.

Each part of the text can be used separately for a variety of courses including regulation and antitrust in undergraduate institutions, business schools, and schools of public policy, as well as background for doctoral courses. Exercises are included at the end of each chapter.
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Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars This Book Stinks
If you are looking for a nonconsistant book that jumps around and does not follow through on its explanation of certain topics than this is the book for you!

5-0 out of 5 stars Review of Economics of regulation and antitrust
This work provides an excellent overview of the field of regulation from an economic point of view. The primary focus is economic rather than institutional -- as a result it is more appropriate for economists than for legal scholars. Although the book does not require extensive training in economics, it does assume some formal knowledge of basic economic concepts. Since its focus is economic, little time is spent discussing legal cases surrounding many of the regulations compared with, for example, Law, Business, and Society, by McAdams, et. al. ... Read more


11. Industrial Organization: Theory and Practice (2nd Edition)
by Don E. Waldman, Elizabeth J. Jensen
list price: $125.40
our price: $125.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0321077350
Catlog: Book (2000-11-14)
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Sales Rank: 431822
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good and not a "heavy" book
I'm a undergraduate economic student and have tried a good sort of books in this matter, and I finally get one that fits very nice to my needs. This book touches all the aspects of the subject without being very hard to understand or too boring to read, and that is hard to find in book about industrial organization! Another good point is that the book is very new and have useful and contemporary examples. A liked very much! ... Read more


12. The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics
by William Easterly
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
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Asin: 0262550423
Catlog: Book (2002-08-08)
Publisher: The MIT Press
Sales Rank: 19846
Average Customer Review: 4.26 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Since the end of World War II, economists have tried to figure out how poor countries in the tropics could attain standards of living approaching those of countries in Europe and North America. Attempted remedies have included providing foreign aid, investing in machines, fostering education, controlling population growth, and making aid loans as well as forgiving those loans on condition of reforms. None of these solutions has delivered as promised. The problem is not the failure of economics, William Easterly argues, but the failure to apply economic principles to practical policy work.

In this book Easterly shows how these solutions all violate the basic principle of economics, that people--private individuals and businesses, government officials, even aid donors--respond to incentives. Easterly first discusses the importance of growth. He then analyzes the development solutions that have failed. Finally, he suggests alternative approaches to the problem. Written in an accessible, at times irreverent, style, Easterlys book combines modern growth theory with anecdotes from his fieldwork for the World Bank.
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Reviews (38)

4-0 out of 5 stars No Easy Answers
An economist at the World Bank, Easterly looks back at the dismal economic record of the Third World over the last 40 years and distills lesssons to guide donors and policymakers in the future. He is at his best when dissecting failed policies such as population control or structural adjustment loans, which were embraced by development experts of the day but rested on faulty logic and flopped in practice. The rest of his book contains fascinating, nuanced discussions of how bad governance, "poverty traps," and plain bad luck (such as terms of trade shocks) can keep poor countries trapped in vicious cycles of poverty. Many myths are exploded, such as the belief that poor nations are destined to "catch up" with rich ones, or that international investment flows to capital-poor states in an effort to find higher returns. The text is clearly written and filled with wry humor. However, the failure to discuss how "Asian Tigers" such as Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan broke out of poverty and achieved industrial take off -- at one point, Easterly half-seriously cites "good luck" as a key explanation for their 30-year record of sustained economic growth! -- is a glaring hole and results in my rating of only four stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars There are no easy answers to third world growth
For 5/6ths of the people of Earth, life is a daily struggle for basic needs: food, shelter, medicine. Infant mortality rates are high, women are oppressed, and individuals have limited opportunities to improve their lot.

William Easterly is a Senior Advisor in the Development Research Group of the World Bank. In his first book, he asks why trillion dollars of foreign aid to the countries of the "third world" since WWII have caused essentially no improvement in the quality of life for the people in these countries. I found the writing lucid and the many real stories of poverty and corruption both emotionally powerful and insightful.

Emphasizing a key mantra of economics -- people respond to incentives -- he details the long list of foreign aid tactics that have failed: capital investment (machines, factories, roads), education, birth control, loans, and loan forgiveness. Not that any of the tactics are bad, but rather they are ineffectual in a country lacking key social, political, and economic infrastructure.

Easterly then describes in detail the factors at play in driving growth: increasing returns (Leaks, Matches, Traps), creative destruction through technology, luck, governments kill growth, government corruption, and class and race conflicts.

Easterly shows that achieving economic growth is very difficult, but he does a great job of identifying the key systemic issues that poor countries must address.

Perhaps surprisingly, Easterly's model applies equally well to the economic disparities that exist within countries, even "rich" countries like the United States. The increasing returns model says that highly-skilled people will prefer to live and work with one another ("Matches"), as each of them will be more productive for being around other highly-skilled individuals. So this explains, for example, why areas like Silicon Valley, having once achieved critical mass, continue to grow. And why low-income inner-city and rural areas remain depressed ("Traps").

5-0 out of 5 stars debunking myths and the east asian tigers
While Easterly's book may seem targeted for economists, it's actually a book for everybody - it's needed to debunk myths that continue to prevail in policymaking. It's important that we understand what doesn't work and through a process of elimination of cure alls, we might eventually come to a solution.

As for one of the reviewer's question about why Easterly attributes a lot of the East Asian Miracle to "luck"... well, being an East Asian, we don't want to admit it. It's a lot about factor accumulation or basically saving really hard for a rainy day. But there's been low productivity from technology change and all this rampant growth has tapered off. So in a sense we are "lucky" that we could save like crazy under favorable world economic conditions then... But we came undone through too much suspicious government meddling, corruption, cronyism and thinking that we were invincible.

3-0 out of 5 stars A nice review of economic history
Easterly does indeed cover the history of economic development, and he magically creates the image of poor people who just never had the right incentives. I will not argue with his historical accuracy, this part of his book is straightforward enough. Indeed, any competent historian could have related an equivalent story. However, where Easterly falls short of his title of being an economist is in that of what to do next. People need the right incentives... ok what now. Martin Feldstien gave us his theory, Robert Solow threw his hat in the ring, and as such they are economists, however all Easterly is is an economic historian offering very little advice as to what is next.

5-0 out of 5 stars Educational, readable and thought provoking
I found this book enjoyable reading. It uses many standard economic ideas, but does not assume the reader knows them and it explains them clearly and simply. For instance, his description of the "Luddite Fallacy" is one of the best I have seen.

The subject that economists study, human interaction, is too complex to be a solved problem. Over the years there have been guesses that have not worked out. The theme of this book is based on the idea that people are entrepreneurial. If the developed world gives the less developed world a whole pile of money, then the entrepreneurial thing to do is to try and get some of it. Unfortunately, that will not necessarily be the use of the money that is best for the long term growth of the country.

There are a number of well meaning actions that the developing world has taken that have had unintended consequences and Easterly gives great examples of them. The question he asks and what he proposes is: what actions will incentivise people to do the things that will result in the best long term results?

Sometimes that might require toughlove, and as such may not be politically appealing, but it makes sense, as William Easterly so clearly shows in this readable and significant book. ... Read more


13. Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty
by Muhammad Yunus
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
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Asin: 1586481983
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Sales Rank: 14951
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This autobiography of the world-renowned, visionary economist who came up with a simple but revolutionary solution to end world poverty--micro-credit--has become the classic text for a growing movement.

In 1983 Muhammad Yunus established Grameen, a bank devoted to providing the poorest of Bangladesh with miniscule loans. He aimed to help the poor by supporting the spark of personal initiative and enterprise by which they could lift themselves out of poverty forever. It was an idea born on a day in 1976 when he loaned $27 from his own pocket to forty-two people living in a tiny village. They were stool makers who only needed enough credit to purchase the raw materials for their trade. Yunus's loan helped them break the cycle of poverty and changed their lives forever. His solution to world poverty, founded on the belief that credit is a fundamental human right, is brilliantly simple: loan poor people money on terms that are suitable to them, teach them a few sound financial principles, and they will help themselves.

Yunus's theories work. Grameen Bank has provided 3.8 billion dollars to 2.4 million families in rural Bangladesh. Today, more than 250 institutions in nearly 100 countries operate micro-credit programs based on the Grameen methodology, placing Grameen at the forefront of a burgeoning world movement toward eradicating poverty through micro-lending. ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Deeply Moving & Motivating!
If you know the story of Grameen Bank, and wanted to know more about the founder - I don't need to say anymore.

If you haven't heard of Grameen, prepare yourself to learn about a bank which has overturned the conventional wisdom about helping people who live in poverty.

Yunus' big idea can be put very simply: people who live on less than $1 per day (3 billion people) don't need to be tought how to feed themselves and survive - the very fact that they are alive is testament to their abilities.

His approach rests upon that faith in people's ability to help themselves, if given access to the very small amounts of loan capital they need to start a profitable venture - whether that is weaving cloth or repairing bicycles.

The road to reaching more than 2 million people in Bangladesh, and many other millions worldwide, wasn't smooth. What you get from reading this book is a sense that sometimes the 'homegrown' solution beats the 'imposed' ideas from the developed world.

A challenging book for liberals and conservatives alike!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I read
Mohammad Yunus story is truly inspiring.
Makes you question the rules of capitalism.

Writing style makes it very interesting to read.
I am glad I read ths book.

4-0 out of 5 stars The pioneer of microlending...
The story of the Grameen bank is an excellent example of how social change initiatives can be combined with government and private industry support to acheive a greater outcome than the organization could acheive by itself. Yunus provides an excellent chronicle of his bank's formation as well as explaining its principles. Highly recommended for anyone interested in social entrepreneurship or social change. The only shortcomings are: 1) as a finance person, I would like to have read more about the operational side of the banks relative to their commercial competitors - what specific factors enabled them to be so successful (other than the broad social factors he identifies)? 2) Need more information about how these types of programs can be applied to industrialized nations such as the US.

5-0 out of 5 stars Small loan impacts on the lives of third world peoples
In 1983 Yunus established a bank devoted to providing the poorest of Bangladesh with small loans, aiming to help the poor by supporting them with his own enterprise. Yunus' small loans paid off big time, and this provides a review of his theories of small loan impacts on the lives of third world peoples. An intriguing, important guide packed with ramifications for all.

4-0 out of 5 stars Practical help
I can only agree with the other reviews of this book, but I would like to add that anyone who appreciates what Yunus has done might also read 'The Mystery of Capitalism' by Hernando de Soto. Both de Soto and Yunus underline the importance of using market-based mechanisms to alleviate poverty at the grass-roots level (de Soto suggests giving squatters and illegal workers legal title to the land they occupy and the goods they have so they can use them as collateral to raise capital and receive infrastructure). P.J. O'Rourke makes the same point in several places, but he is writing from a quasi-comedic point of view.

If the past 25 years of history has been about anything, it is about the bankruptcy of the command economy. Warts and all, market-based solutions are the only way forward. The ideas of Yunus and de Soto are, above all, practical - which is probably why policymakers will overlook them in favour of big-money projects, grand pronouncements, and other things that don't work. ... Read more


14. PowerNomics : The National Plan to Empower Black America
by Claud Anderson, Dr. Claud Anderson
list price: $27.00
our price: $22.95
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Asin: 0966170229
Catlog: Book (2001-02)
Publisher: Powernomics Corporation of America
Sales Rank: 49954
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

PowerNomics: The National Plan to Empower Black America is a five-year plan to make Black America a prosperous and empowered race that is self-sufficient and competitive as a group by the year 2005.In this book, Dr. Anderson obliterates the myths and illusions of black progress and brings together data and information from many different sources to construct a framework for solutions to the dilemma of Black America. In PowerNomics: The National Plan, Dr. Anderson proposes new principles, strategies and concepts that show blacks a new way to see, think, and behave in race matters. The new mind set prepares blacks to take strategic steps to create a new reality for their race. It offers guidance to others who support blacks self-sufficiency.In this book, Dr. Anderson offers insightful analysis and action steps blacks can take to redesign core areas of life - Education, Economics, Politics and Religion - to better benefit their race. The action steps in each area require new empowerment tools that Dr. Anderson presents - a new group vision and a new culture of empowerment - tools designed to counter, if not break many of the racial monopolies in society. Vertical integration and Industrializing black communities are other major concepts and strategies that he presents in the book. He places a great deal of importance on building industries in black communities that are constructed upon group competitive advantages. A the same time he announced the release of PowerNomics: The National Plan, he also announced that he has established several models of the strategies he proposes in the book.PowerNomics: The Plan, is infused with Dr. Anderson's trademark creative thinking and answers questions such as:- Why are blacks the only group that equates success with working in a White corporation, government or the entertainment industry?- How did power and wealth - businesses, resources, privileges, income and control of all levels of government get so disproportionately distributed into the hands of White society?

- Industrialization brings many economic benefits to the geographic locations where it occurs. Why has Black America never been industrialized and how can it be done?- Why do visible blacks and black leaders avoid blackness, identifying the focus of their work instead for people of color, minorities, women, gays , the poor, Hispanics, and other immigrant groups?- What enables a constant stream of immigrant groups to politically, economically and socially dominate blacks?- In politics, how is it that blacks can be monolithic and loyal political supporters yet their group receives no quid pro quo benefits?- In his first book, Black Labor, White Wealth, Dr. Anderson examined history and showed how racism has locked and boxed blacks into a near permanent underclass. Picking up where Black Labor, White Wealth left off, PowerNomics: The National Plan is the missing link between the historical analysis of problems facing blacks and the strategies needed to correct those problems.Dr. Anderson's books are a phenomenon in the publishing industry. His work is distinguished because he has turned books that are serious, non-fiction, and heavy on black history, into best-sellers. PowerNomics: The National Plan continues that pattern. It is an astounding work. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good read
I thought this book was very informative. Although it does bring to light the work needed to be done on the Black pysche to turn around our economic situation.

2-0 out of 5 stars Bravo! The Time Has Come
This is an extremely powerful idea. Nevertheless, what the author has in mind, to say the least, is a most daunting task. Which, of course, begs the question: has the author successfully employed the aims of his book?

Inasmuch as Dr. Anderson's concepts require extraordinary organizational skills, superb fund-raising ability, a working economic model that one can study and follow, and a profound understanding of the behavioral sciences, Powernomics comes up measurably short regarding the aforementioned disciplines.

Finally, a book you have to read "Diary Of An Investment Banker", is far better, ..., Powernomics is worthy of some consideration.

James Rothschild,
Economist

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Realistic Plan
This book offers a VERY realistic plan for Black America. The reviewer that said it was unrealistic, truly must have little to no confidence in the Black Man and Woman. I differ strongly, if we built this country we can rebuild our own communities. And I truly believe we not only have the man power, but the creative capabilities.

This book should be studied and implemented into practice AT EVERY level within EVERY ORGANIZATION that is for the empowerment of our people.

Once again Dr. Claud Anderson has taken a revolutionary step in resolving issues. Blacks are victims of a traumatic experience Slavery, and continue to be victims of an overwhelming disease- White supremacy. We need all the solutions that we can get, and these solutions have proven to me, to be a necessary guide that I will implement within my own community.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
Very seldom do I come across a book that serves as a real solution to one of societies real problems. Black America, take notice to Dr. Anderson's work! He clearly dissects many of the social and economic issues that have held Black America back. By the same token, he has brilliantly demonstrated how Black America can realistically overcome these problems. This book is a masterpiece and I highly recommend to all!

2-0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like this book
I wanted to like this book but the suggestions are so unrealistic and in some cases so wrong that I can't reccomend it. ... Read more


15. Growth and Empowerment : Making Development Happen (Munich Lectures)
by Nicholas Stern, Jean-Jacques Dethier, F. Halsey Rogers
list price: $45.00
our price: $45.00
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Asin: 0262195178
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: The MIT Press
Sales Rank: 199807
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Book Description

Despite significant gains in promoting economic growth and living conditions (or "human progress") globally over the last twenty-five years, much of the developing world remains plagued by poverty and its attendant problems, including high rates of child mortality, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and war. In Growth and Empowerment, Nicholas Stern, Jean-Jacques Dethier, and F. Halsey Rogers propose a new strategy for development. Drawing on many years of work in development economics -- in academia, in the field, and at international institutions such as the World Bank -- the authors base their strategy on two interrelated approaches: building a climate that encourages investment and growth and at the same time empowering poor people to participate in that growth. This plan differs from other models for development, including the dogmatic approach of market fundamentalism popular in the 1980s and 1990s. Stern, Dethier, and Rogers see economic development as a dynamic process of continuous change in which entrepreneurship, innovation, flexibility, and mobility are crucial components and the idea of empowerment, as both a goal and a driver of development, is central. The book points to the unique opportunity today -- after 50 years of successes and failures, and with a growing body of analytical work to draw on -- to pursue new development strategies in both research and action. ... Read more


16. America Beyond Capitalism : Reclaiming our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy
by GarAlperovitz
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471667307
Catlog: Book (2004-10-08)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 6180
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Book Description

Praise for America Beyond Capitalism

"At a time when the national media’s been transfixed by the imperalist adventures and crony capitalism of the Bush administration, Gar Alperovitz discovers that not only have the seeds of a legitimately democratic political economy been planted, they are bearing fruit. Addressing a range of necessary changes, from urban design to health care to the distribution of wealth, Alperovitz’s Pluralist Commonwealth is the kind of careful, well-researched, and practical alternative progressives have been seeking. And it’s more–visionary, hopeful, even inspirational. I highly recommend it."
–Juliet Schor, author of The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need, and Professor of Sociology, Boston College

"An important guidebook to the future. First, Alperovitz leads a grim tour of the deteriorated values at the core of the American experience–equality, liberty, democracy, and the wise use of our collective wealth. Then he takes us to the mountaintop with a broad and optimistic mapping vision of how Americans can remake their economy and society to restore those values. A compelling and convincing story of the future."
–William Greider, author of The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy

"Succeeds brilliantly in taking the Jeffersonian spirit into the last bastion of privilege in America, offering workable solutions for making the American economy one that is truly of, by, and for the people."
–Jeremy Rifkin, author of The End of Work ... Read more


17. Encountering Development
by Arturo Escobar
list price: $21.95
our price: $22.95
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Asin: 0691001022
Catlog: Book (1994-11-14)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 43916
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

How did the industrialized nations of North America and Europe come to be seen as the appropriate models for post-World War II societies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America? How did the postwar discourse on development actually create the so-called Third World? And what will happen when development ideology collapses? To answer these questions, Arturo Escobar shows how development policies became mechanisms of control that were just as pervasive and effective as their colonial counterparts. The development apparatus generated categories powerful enough to shape the thinking even of its occasional critics while poverty and hunger became widespread. "Development" was not even partially "deconstructed" until the 1980s, when new tools for analyzing the representation of social reality were applied to specific "Third World" cases. Here Escobar deploys these new techniques in a provocative analysis of development discourse and practice in general, concluding with a discussion of alternative visions for a postdevelopment era.

Escobar emphasizes the role of economists in development discourse--his case study of Colombia demonstrates that the economization of food resulted in ambitious plans, and more hunger. To depict the production of knowledge and power in other development fields, the author shows how peasants, women, and nature became objects of knowledge and targets of power under the "gaze of experts." ... Read more

Reviews (2)

2-0 out of 5 stars Anger does not equal analysis
This is a tract, not a thoughtful piece of scholarship. It is in the Latin American school of angry social science, but is little informed by fact. Much of what it says is correct, but is also well known. But the analysis is weak, based on incorrect or outdated data, and simply a regurgitation of stereotypes instead of a deductive grounded analysis based upon good ethnographic work. It is therefore often simply wrong. But anger sells books.....

5-0 out of 5 stars Reunderstanding development
Arturo Escobar critics the whole concept of development in theory and practice from an extremely unusual and original perspective. He steps back and views development as something exotic and almost non-sense. Inspired on the work of Foucault, the author examines the evolution of the discourse about development as a form of how the West keeps exerting power and influence on the Third World. The ethnocentric views of development and interventions that come with them - propagated by Western governments, multinational companies, development institutions and academia - puts Third World cultures and traditional populations as something that should be significantly changed to achieve the so-dreamed "development." Although the results of these western-driven interventions over decades have usually been catastrophic for Third World's populations and cultures, Western "experts" keep coming to the Third World and elaborating new forms of discourses on development, now addressing objects like sustainable development, women and development and poverty erradication - all ethnocentric and based on western values. This book should be read by anyone who wants to reunderstand development in the Third World (and reflect if it is needed at all!). ... Read more


18. The Road to Serfdom
by F. A. Hayek
list price: $9.48
our price: $8.53
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Asin: 0226320618
Catlog: Book (1994-10-15)
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Sales Rank: 1896
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics, The Road to Serfdom has inspired and infuriated politicians, scholars, and general readers for half a century. Originally published in England in the spring of 1944--when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program--The Road to Serfdom was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would inevitably lead not to a utopia but to the horrors of nazi Germany and fascist Italy.

First published by the University of Chicago Press on September 18, 1944, The Road to Serfdom garnered immediate attention from the public, politicians, and scholars alike. The first printing of 2,000 copies was exhausted instantly, and within six months more than 30,000 were sold. In April of 1945, Reader's Digest published a condensed version of the book, and soon thereafter the Book-of-the-Month Club distributed this condensation to more than 600,000 readers. A perennial best-seller, the book has sold over a quarter of a million copies in the United States, not including the British edition or the nearly twenty translations into such languages as German, French, Dutch, Swedish, and Japanese, and not to mention the many underground editions produced in Eastern Europe before the fall of the iron curtain.

After thirty-two printings in the United States, The Road to Serfdom has established itself alongside the works of Alexis de Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill, and George Orwell for its timeless meditation on the relation between individual liberty and government authority. This fiftieth anniversary edition, with a new introduction by Milton Friedman, commemorates the enduring influence of The Road to Serfdom on the ever-changing political and social climates of the twentieth century, from the rise of socialism after World War II to the Reagan and Thatcher "revolutions" in the 1980s and the transitions in Eastern Europe from communism to capitalism in the 1990s.

F. A. Hayek (1899-1992), recipient of the Medal of Freedom in 1991 and co-winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1974, was a pioneer in monetary theory and the principal proponent of libertarianism in the twentieth century.

On the first American edition of The Road to Serfdom:
"One of the most important books of our generation. . . . It restates for our time the issue between liberty and authority with the power and rigor of reasoning with which John Stuart Mill stated the issue for his own generation in his great essay On Liberty. . . . It is an arresting call to all well-intentioned planners and socialists, to all those who are sincere democrats and liberals at heart to stop, look and listen."--Henry Hazlitt, New York Times Book Review, September 1944

"In the negative part of Professor Hayek's thesis there is a great deal of truth. It cannot be said too often--at any rate, it is not being said nearly often enough--that collectivism is not inherently democratic, but, on the contrary, gives to a tyrannical minority such powers as the Spanish Inquisitors never dreamt of."--George Orwell, Collected Essays

... Read more

Reviews (108)

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
Hayek's classic book is a dissertation on why political freedom is, and can only be, inextricably linked to economic freedom. Originally published in 1944, his specific examples of socialist planning gone wrong are (were) Italy, the USSR, and most prominently, Germany. He primarily uses the British for comparison and contrast purposes, and directs many of his remarks toward Western European nations who were flirting with their own versions of socialist economic planning. He felt that these nations were ultimately going down the same road that the Germans had already traveled two or three generations earlier.

Hayek's central thesis is that individual liberty (economic and political) and collectivism are mutually exclusive, and that even the most well-intentioned socialist society will ultimately evolve into a totalitarian state. Hayek elaborates upon the following key arguments (and others): (1) Collectivism represents the undoing of liberalism (in the classic sense). (2) Socialism necessitates that the efforts of the populace be directed towards a common goal, often called something like "the common good." The economic system must be centrally planned in order to achieve this goal. Such planning amounts to coercion, and individual liberty is sacrificed for the degree of security a socialist state provides. (3) A free society operates according to the Rule of Law, where the rules are known beforehand. The economy of a free society consists of the net sum of individual decisions made within the known legal framework. By contrast, a centrally planned society relies upon government decisions that must be made on the basis of current necessity, what Hayek calls "arbitrary government." (4) Money promotes economic liberty, acting as the medium to provide the individual with the freedom to use his compensation in whatever manner he chooses, rather than being dependent upon a compensation whose specific nature is determined by others. (5) Socialism is inherently nationalistic or ethnocentric, because the leading party often must rally the populace to focus against a threatening group in order to effectively promote its own agenda. A "one-world" socialism that unites across peoples, nations, and ethnic backgrounds is not workable. (6) True believers in a socialist society must hold the interests of the State as higher than their own. Those who will move up the ranks in a socialist society are often prepared to do anything on behalf of the state, no matter how much this opposes one's own moral principles. Those who are amoral are thus more likely to "succeed" in a socialist hierarchy. Hayek holds out little hope that a socialist utopia will work if only "good people" are put in charge.

Contrary to some of the negative reviews below, I must argue that Hayek's book is certainly not "vicious propaganda," (and, I might add, that I sincerely doubt that Hayek's own lips were "lice-ridden.") Nowhere in the book does Hayek celebrate wealth. There is not one sentence in the book extolling the virtues of material riches. He DOES celebrate individual liberty and the superiority of a free market economy. To intelligently oppose Hayek, one must provide a literate argument against the points Hayek actually argues. In addition, one would be compelled in this debate to explain how a rigid socialist system would NOT degenerate into Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, or Stalinist Russia (or, for that matter, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Castro's Cuba, Communist China, etc.)

That said, Hayek's book is not free from criticism. He takes a few swipes at the Germans -- Hayek all but proclaims that because of their general ethnic personality the Germans as a people were an ideal setup for Naziism and ruthless obedience to Hitler. Not surprisingly, some readers may take offense to this. Hayek also concedes that in a prosperous economy a basic minimum standard of living should be guaranteed everyone, although he makes no mention of how it could be guaranteed in a manner consistent with his overall free market vision. There is not a single statistic in the entire book (some may find this a GOOD thing), nor is there mention of any specific historical event, except the ongoing war at the time. Hayek's arguments are essentially based upon logical deductions, relying upon assumptions of human nature - as individuals, large groups, or those in authority. I suppose some will find Hayek's logic dubious, although arguably the history of the fifty-plus years since Hayek wrote The Road to Serfdom would back him up quite well.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Snapshot of History - A Profile in Intellectual Courage
The late Professor Hayek's book is one of the most important books of the twentieth century. It is dedicated to "the socialists of all parties". When Hayek wrote the book, virtually no one was left believing in a competitive market economy in mainstream English politics. The book was utterly defiant in terms of the zeitgeist. Indeed, the Attlee Labour government in England was elected not long after the book's publication and Hayek had long enjoyed a substantial connection with the London School of Economics. A wave of socializations followed - coal, steel, electricity, gas, water utilities, etc.

Whilst Hayek's arguments are valuable and important and should not be forgotten, because we are doomed to repeat history that we forget, the world has moved on. The truths Hayek had to argue for trenchantly are today commonplace. No one of any political significance in the English speaking Western world believes that he or she can secure election by promising to end private property and inheritance rights, for example.

The Holocaust, which was not fully appreciated in 1944 by the public and the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 have concretely made Hayek's points.

However, Hayek's surmounting of the vilification that he suffered for writing this important work and and his having the courage to speak against "the powers that be in academia" who expected an ocean of jobs from the socialization of the economy mark him as a man of profound intellectual courage, vigour and honesty.

It is noteworthy that Professor Hayek lived to see the fall of the Berlin Wall. This is an important book written by a Nobel economics laureate at the height of his intellectual powers, against the impending death camp of a totalitarian future. We are all in his debt for his courage. That one can read the book today in horror that his arguments were arrogantly dismissed shows how far the world has come.

1-0 out of 5 stars The Corporation Bible
If you love Enron and Halliburton, and you support corporate opression of the middle-class, read this hogwash.

If capitalism is so great, why is it easier to get health care in former Communist countries like Poland? Why does Cuba have a lower infant mortality rate than the United States?

4-0 out of 5 stars Paradox of success
Hayek distinguishes liberty, or true freedom, from license and "serfdom." In the tradition of Adam Smith, he analyzes economic and political questions from moral and practical perspectives, with emphasis on individual liberty. His central conceit, that increasing government activity in the economic sphere would devalue individual dignity and stifle human progress, might seen overblown to some readers; it could be that the influence of this book on conservative political leaders and thinkers in the latter half of the American century may have corrected some of the impending problems Hayek foresaw. The Road to Serfdom is a pleasurable, thought-provoking read, persuasively written.

5-0 out of 5 stars Why we have to fight government
Hayek, the great communicator of libertarian thought, meticulously explains why every scheme aiming for an utopian goal through state power, whether it be the well-being of a "race" or the universal socialist Eden, _must_ end in tyranny.

At first glance, his analysis seems to apply to a bygone era, before "the end of history" where liberal democracy triumphs over statist terror. However, his words are as important today as ever - liberty is as threatened today by both the well-meaning and the self-interested.

The most interesting part of this book for me was his explanation of how Nazism, Fascism, and Communism are of the same cloth, not only in their effects, but also in their influences. Major figures in the National Socialist movement made their way there from a communist background, well documented in this book.

It is illuminating, and sad, how society still considers Nazism to be to the "right" of the political spectrum and communism to the "left", and therefore less evil than Nazism. This despite the fact that communism killed many more people than Nazism ever did. Compare only the 14 million Ukranians with the 6 million Jews, and then we have not even mentioned the Poles and the other statistics on the road to tyranny.

In fact, fascism, national socialism and communism are the same - they meet in the oppresion and killing of people. That should give pause to the left and the right today, but still they persist in their schemes to achieve their idea of "justice" at any cost - even if that cost is tallied in human lives. Killing civilians in Iraq is good for them - because their childrem might be free. Or, it is unfortunate that you will die because the FDA forbids you to try unapproved drugs, but, it is better for the other people, don't you see? ... Read more


19. Corporate Irresponsibility: America's Newest Export
by Lawrence E. Mitchell
list price: $35.00
our price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0300090234
Catlog: Book (2001-11-01)
Publisher: Yale University Press
Sales Rank: 564445
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Corporations are often so focused on making short-term profits for theirstockholders that they behave in ways that adversely affect their employees, theenvironment, consumers, American politics, and even the long-term well-being of thecorporation, says Lawrence Mitchell in this provocative book. This is a significant issuenot only in the United States but also in the world, for many countries are beginning toemulate the American model of corporate governance. Mitchell criticizes this emphasison profit maximization and the corporate legal structure that encourages it, and he offersconcrete proposals to bring about more socially responsible corporate behavior.Mitchelldeclares that managers should be freed from the legal and structural constraints that makeit difficult for them to exercise ordinary moral judgment and be held accountable for theiractions. He suggests, for example, that earnings reports be required annually rather thanquarterly, that the capital gains tax be increased on stocks held for fewer than thirty days,and that elections of corporate boards of directors be held every five years rather thanevery year. Mitchell places the problem of corporate irresponsibility within the broadercontext of American life and demonstrates the extent to which contemporary corporatebehavior represents a corruption of our cherished liberal values of personal freedom andindividuality. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Suggestive But Too Theoretical
This fascinating and suggestive book makes a strong argument that an undue emphasis on financial performance has caused American corporations to shirk their responsibilities to workers, creditors, communities, or any other group except stockholders. To prove his point, author Mitchell, a business law professor at George Washington University, tackles a vast range of topics, from industrial sociology and shareholders' derivative suits, to Enlightenment individualism and comparative corporate governance. This makes for fascinating reading, and is designed to show that capital markets force corporate managers to focus on short-term financial results. However, it also left me with the sense that Mitchell's theoretical stretch exceeds his empirical grasp: none of the issues is really developed in any depth.

In particular, Mitchell fails to systematically compare the behavior of public and non-public corporations in the U.S., or to compare American corporations with corporations operating in less-individualistic legal and cultural environments abroad. Yet such comparisons would be crucial to testing his points about the harmful impact of financial markets on American corporate management. In reading the book, I also wondered whether the pressures to maximize short-term returns are less the result of "American individualism" and more the result of a business environment where hostile takeovers are easy and executive compensation is tied to stock prices. In any event, these issues can't be resolved by theorizing. Mitchell needed to interview some managers to find out what really makes corporations tick.

This is a pity since Mitchell writes well, has common sense, and cares about ordinary Americans who spend most of their working lives in large business organizations. His concerns about warped corporate priorities were entirely vindicated by the scandals at Enron (where shareholders as well as workers were screwed by corporate managers bent on boosting short-term share values), which were exposed only AFTER his book appeared in 2001. We need more books pointing out that American-style capitalism isn't the last word on business and can take a heavy toll on humane values. I just wish that Mitchell had crossed his T's and dotted his I's.

3-0 out of 5 stars Learned but heavy
I found myself being frustrated by the convoluted nature of his arguments to prove - IMO - unnecessarily academic and esoteric points. The writing style, while reasonably light, does labour on some issues to justify and support his arguments to a degree that is a little too involved. While I fully appreciate that Mitchell needs to properly formulate and support his arguments (and he is right in most of what he says I must add) - the shear "readability" suffers from the overly-academic rigour present. I would happily accept less rigour for have more anecdotes of misbehaviour for a more "easy read". Nevertheless what he says is very important, solid and I agree wholeheartedly with it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb.
The way Mitchell breaks down the corporate system in America today is outstanding. The way it practically predicts Enron is eventfully precise. His view for the future is one that is intricately complex, but at the same time simply logical. Great reading for those who are already knowledgeable about the subject or those newly acquainted with it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Lawyer-Author-Reformist: Double Oxymoron Overturned


I just realized this is the third book by a lawyer I have absorbed in this month's reading, and that is somehow a scary thought. If lawyers are starting to write popular reformist tracts against unfettered capitalism and the export of the flawed U.S. approach to capitalism, something very interesting must be happening in the dark recesses of our national mind.

This is not an easy book to read but on balance it is a very important book and one that would appear to be essential to any discussion of how we might reform the relationship between the federal government with its 1950's concepts and regulations, corporations with their secularist and short-term profit and liquidation notions, and the people who ultimately are both the foundation and the beneficiaries (or losers) within the political economy of the nation and the world.

The author lays out, from a business law perspective, all the legal and financial reasons why our corporate practices today sacrifice the long-term perspective and the creation of aggregate value, in favor of short-term profit-taking. He makes a number of suggestions for improvement.

Toward the end of the book, citing Lipsett but adding his own observations, he digs deep and summarizes our corporate culture as one that threatens traditional forms of community and morality (Lipsett), while increasingly dominating--undermining--foreign governments and cultures. Elsewhere in the book the stunning failure of our form of capitalism in selected countries is explored.

Although there are adequate notes, there is no bibliography and the index is extraordinarily mediocre--not containing, for example, the references in the book to oversight, political, or regulation. One star is deducted for this failure by the publisher to treat the book's content seriously. ... Read more


20. Liberty for Latin America : How to Undo Five Hundred Years of State Oppression (Independent Studies in Political Economy)
by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374185743
Catlog: Book (2005-02-16)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 17117
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Latin America's Foremost Political Journalist Makes a Brilliant and Passionate Argument for Real Reform In the Economically Crippled Continent

In Liberty for Latin America, Alvaro Vargas Llosa offers an incisive diagnosis of Latin America's woes--and a prescription for finally getting the region on the road to both genuine prosperity and the protection of human rights.
When the economy in Argentina--at one time a model of free-market reform--collapsed in 2002, experts of all persuasions asked: What went wrong? Vargas Llosa shows that what went wrong in Argentina has in fact gone wrong all over the continent for over five hundred years. He explains how the republics of the nineteenth century and the revolutions of the twentieth-populist uprisings, Marxist coops, state takeovers, and First World-sponsored privatization-have all run up against the oligarchic legacy of statism. Illiberal elites backed by the United States and Europe have perpetuated what he calls the "five principles of oppression" in order to maintain their hold on power. The region has become "a laboratory for political and economic suicide," while comparable countries in Asia and Eastern Europe have prospered.
The only way to change things in Latin America, Vargas Llosa argues, is to remove the five principles of oppression, genuinely reforming institutions and the underlying culture for the benefit of the disempowered public. In Liberty for Latin America, he explains how, offering hope as well as insight for all those who care for the future of this troubled region.
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fine analysis, uncertain resolution
As someone who lived and worked in Latin America during one of the region's recent attempts at major economic reform, I found myself frequently mumbling "right on" while marking up my copy of Alvaro Vargas Llosa's "Liberty for Latin America." One of the most refreshing elements of the book is that the Peruvian journalist does not blame European colonizers for Latin America's seemingly insurmountable struggle to pull its population from poverty.He takes the root of the problem back to the Maya, Aztecs, and Incas, when the sacred nature of authority was first instilled in the population. People existed not as individuals, but as members of social strata with specific functions, with the number one function of everything being to support the group on top. This fit in perfectly with the kind of top-down hierarchy practiced by Iberian colonizers.Independence and revolution put governments in charge, with peasants working land that now belonged to their government as opposed to a big landowner. In one way or another, the state kept its fingers in every possible pie while the majority of the population remained infantilized, expecting the government provide for them, to be the biggest patrĂ³n of all.

What a relief not to have all the region's woes blamed on Spanish or Portuguese colonizers, and to recognize that many of the practices that still hold Latin America back were institutionalized long before Cortez dropped anchor. But while Vargas Llosa's analysis is intelligent and thought-provoking, his recommendations for reform don't fit with what he's just said. We've read how the population has been conditioned to expect a higher authority-God or the government-to take care of everything. People who feel they have no power are not going to know what to do with school vouchers or how to apply for credit when their squatter communities are granted legal status-two of his recommendations. Have school vouchers actually worked anywhere? So much wealth is concentrated in so few hands in the region that it is hard to imagine that the oligarchs will voluntarily give any of it up, and we've seen that revolution doesn't work, and outside prodding backfires . . .Even after reading Vargas Llosa's intelligent work, liberty for Latin America still seems a long way off.
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