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1. Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist
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2. The Lexus and the Olive Tree:
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3. The Chinese Century : The Rising
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4. Confessions of an Economic Hit
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5. Macroeconomics + DiscoverEcon
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6. Greenspan's Fraud : How Two Decades
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7. Conquer the Crash: You Can Survive
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8. The Sky's the Limit : Passion
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9. The Dollar Crisis: Causes, Consequences,
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10. American Economic History (6th
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11. The Piratization of Russia: Russian
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12. International Economics (3rd Edition)
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13. Running on Empty : How the Democratic
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14. The Communist Manifesto
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15. And The Money Kept Rolling In
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16. Microeconomic Theory: Basic Principles
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17. Myths About Doing Business in
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18. Colossus: The Price of America's
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19. Open Veins of Latin America: Five
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20. The PRICE of GOVERNMENT: Getting

1. Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
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Asin: 006073132X
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: William Morrow
Sales Rank: 5
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Economics is not widely considered to be one of the sexier sciences. The annual Nobel Prize winner in that field never receives as much publicity as his or her compatriots in peace, literature, or physics. But if such slights are based on the notion that economics is dull, or that economists are concerned only with finance itself, Steven D. Levitt will change some minds. In Freakonomics (written with Stephen J. Dubner), Levitt argues that many apparent mysteries of everyday life don't need to be so mysterious: they could be illuminated and made even more fascinating by asking the right questions and drawing connections. For example, Levitt traces the drop in violent crime rates to a drop in violent criminals and, digging further, to the Roe v. Wade decision that preempted the existence of some people who would be born to poverty and hardship. Elsewhere, by analyzing data gathered from inner-city Chicago drug-dealing gangs, Levitt outlines a corporate structure much like McDonald's, where the top bosses make great money while scores of underlings make something below minimum wage. And in a section that may alarm or relieve worried parents, Levitt argues that parenting methods don't really matter much and that a backyard swimming pool is much more dangerous than a gun. These enlightening chapters are separated by effusive passages from Dubner's 2003 profile of Levitt in The New York Times Magazine, which led to the book being written. In a book filled with bold logic, such back-patting veers Freakonomics, however briefly, away from what Levitt actually has to say. Although maybe there's a good economic reason for that too, and we're just not getting it yet. --John Moe

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner Answer The Significant Seven

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, author and co-author of this season's bestselling quirky hit, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, graciously answered the Significant Seven questions that we like to run by every author.

Levitt and Dubner answer the Significant Seven questions

... Read more

Reviews (118)

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting, but not rocket science
Unlike a lot of economics books this book is pretty fair and unbiased. I don't think it is as funny as some readers thought, but the subjects are interesting. Most of it is common sense. Like that teachers cheat to make their students look smarter on standardized tests and real estate agents won't necessarily being doing everything they can to help you. As a graduate student in economics, I find is reasoning for the decline in crime being attributed to abortion highly speculative. Common sense would tell you that "aborting" fetuses that are likely to become criminals will reduce crime, only if that mother doesn't have as many children as she would if abortion were illegal. The author does a good job of staying away from the politics of abortion.

This book is good for the layman but is nothing new to the average economists. I personally think that it has been given too much praise and attention.

3-0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking but falls a bit short
While Levitt has the propensity to ask many interesting and thought-provoking questions, his data analysis is often suspect to the same tunnel vision which he attributes to many academic studies. Levitt seems so intent on proving the "conventional wisdom" wrong that he immediately accepts data from a single source as long as it provides a sensational conclusion. For instance, just about all of Levitt's conclusions on education and parenting come from a single ECLS study conducted 15 years ago. The early chapters on information and cheating are quite solid and alone may be worth the price of the book. However once Levitt tackles education, crime, and parenting his down-to-earth anecdotal approach becomes insufficient to explain these complex issues. Freakonomics is similar to many other pop-science bestsellers in that it makes its subject more approachable through oversimplified explanations and conclusions.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great, Quick Read, Perfect for Summer
I very much have enjoyed reading this book.As a grade school teacher, it doesn't surprise me that teachers cheat on their students' end-of-the-year assessments; what is surprising is that this is rarely talked about and people seem to be shocked and surprised when, on the rare occasion, someone gets caught.With the pressure to have one's students earn high scores coming from both parents and administrators, how could it not happen?Much more is expected of teachers today, and not all are up to the hard work, time and energy.But this book isn't only about teachers--you'll learn about drug dealers and how they organize their gangs quite similar to corporations; you'll be surprised that sumo wrestlers cheat (I actually hadn't thought about them or the game, but there is a way they can cheat), among other topics. Perhaps the most controversial notion is about what brought down crime levels in the 1980s, a time when everyone predicted crime would rise.It's an interesting idea, but Levitt doesn't provide much support, which was disappointing.

4-0 out of 5 stars Layman's LanguageAnalyses of Various Social Canards
Too often articles or books written by economists are couched in arcane verbiage and statistics.Levitt avoids this, and the result is a very interesting, though-provoking review of several social myths.

He begins by summarizing the status of crime in the mid-1990's - high, and projected to go much higher with the coming "teenager boom."Instead, it began a long, steep decline.The most common "explanations" were "roaring economy," "gun control," and "innovative policing." Levitt then goes on to summarize data that convincingly reture them all.For example, a good economy might decrease economic crimes, but why did violent crimes drop even more?Further, why didn't crime also fall during the booming '60s?As for innovative policing, Levitt reports that the declines began prior to this initiative, and that its prime contribution was through adding policeman (accounting for about 10% of the drop).Similarly he refutes the logic for crediting increased rights of citizens to carry guns, and gun buy-backs, while the drop in crack prices is credited with 15% of the drop.

Levitt then reports the results of Romania's strong anti-abortion posture in the 60s - a large contingent of resented children, many of whom became serious problems when they grew up.Finally, the "shocker" - Levitt presents various data that provide a solid case for concluding that the drop in crime was primarily due to Roe v. Wade making abortions available to lower-income women - many of whom would have had problems raising the unwanted children.

Other topics addressed by Levitt include documenting cheating associated with "high-stakes" (eg. potential job loss, raises, school closure) pupil testing (estimated at about 5% in Chicago Public Schools), documenting and explaining the lack of drug traffic profits for most of those involved (rakeoffs by those at higher levels).Another interesting and useful topic covered is how society often misplaces efforts into low-payoff efforts to protect children (eg. child-resistant packaging, flame-retardant pajamas, avoiding being seated near front-seat airbags, and keeping their children out of homes with guns), instead of the much higher-payoff of keeping children away from homes with swimming pools.

Throughout the book, Levitt carefully summarizes supporting data, while also informing readers of how similar data are often misused.His "bottom-line," so to speak, is for the reader to become more aware of the effect of incentives, and the frequent lack of factual bases for conventional thinking.

An interesting, useful two-hour read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Revelations?!only if you're the type to wear shades at night
while interesting, the subject matter of this book is not sublime, the questions are not revolutionary and the 'answers' are soooo not comprehensive. though a contribution is likely, to claim that crime went down simply because of abortion is silly. and duh swimming pools are 'more dangerous' if you look at data collected from past incidences. but you cannot claim this to be true of the inherent/accidental potential for danger of a swimming pool compared to a gun. this book seems to ignore that probability is only predictive if circumstances are equal. and that sometimes a name might carry significance beyond where it can get you in life. but perhaps that one is more than what can expected of educated white men. Still... fun reading, great cover. And I'm sure levitt's classes are more intellectually engaging than this book. ah! one more thing: drug dealers live at home because 'Gator boots, with the pimped out gucci suit/ Ain't got no job, but I stay sharp/ Can't pay my rent, cause all my money's spent/ But thats ok, cause I'm still fly/ Got a quarter tank gas in my new e-class/ But that's alright cause I'm gon' ride/ Got everything in my moma's name/ But I'm hood rich da dada dada da' - Still Fly by Big Tymers ... Read more

2. The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization
list price: $15.95
our price: $11.16
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Asin: 0385499345
Catlog: Book (2000-05)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 1813
Average Customer Review: 3.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From one of our most perceptive commentators and winner of the National Book Award, a comprehensive look at the new world of globalization, the international system that, more than anything else, is shaping world affairs today.

As the Foreign Affairs columnist for The New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman has traveled the globe, interviewing people from all walks of contemporary life: Brazilian peasants in the Amazon rain forest, new entrepreneurs in Indonesia, Islamic students in Teheran, and the financial wizards on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley.

Now Friedman has drawn on his years on the road to produce an engrossing and original look at globalization. Globalization, he argues, is not just a phenomenon and not just a passing trend. It is the international system that replaced the Cold War system; the new, well-greased, interconnected system: Globalization is the integration of capital, technology, and information across national borders, in a way that is creating a single global market and, to some degreee, a global village. Simply put, one can't possibly understand the morning news or one's own investments without some grasp of the system. Just one example: During the Cold War, we reached for the hot line between the White House and the Kremlin--a symbol that we were all divided but at least the two superpowers were in charge. In the era of globalization, we reach for the Internet--a symbol that we are all connected but nobody is totally in charge.

With vivid stories and a set of original terms and concepts, Friedman offers readers remarkable access to his unique understanding of this new world order, and shows us how to see this new system. He dramatizes the conflict of "the Lexus and the olive tree"--the tension between the globalization system and ancient forces of culture, geography, tradition, and community. He also details the powerful backlash that globalization produces among those who feel brutalized by it, and he spells out what we all need to do to keep the system in balance. Finding the proper balance between the Lexus and the olive tree is the great drama of he globalization era, and the ultimate theme of Friedman's challenging, provocative book--essential reading for all who care about how the world really works.
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Reviews (321)

5-0 out of 5 stars McDonald's Theory of Conflict Avoidance and More
I've been a fan of Thomas Friedman's New York Times foreign affairs column since September 11, when I found his voice about the Arab world and how it relates to this tragedy and our daily lives here in the United States. This book created a helpful foundation for understanding our changing planet.

The premise on which he bases the book is that there is a conflict in our world between olive trees, which represent our cultural heritage and identity, our spirituality and our rituals, and the Lexus, which is manufactured in technologically advanced factories for people who have cashed in on the globalized American capitalist system and can afford the amenities, and can buy them in increasing outlets worldwide.

Friedman makes a convincing case that this current era of Globalization (he suggests that an earlier era in the late 19th and ealier 20th centuries incited the backlashes that we call today Communism, Socialism and Facism) has replaced the former world order created by the Cold War. Then, everything was bipolar, and nations aligned themselves and propped themselves up
politically and financially with their alliances to either the Soviet Union or the United States. Now, Friedman states, there is only globalization, or global capitalism, and if your nation isn't plugged into it, your people will suffer.

Sometimes the full-bore theme of this book feels heavy, that there is no alternative to market capitalism worldwide seems a little biased, to me. But, Friedman, thankfully, doesn't only concentrate on this, but gives thought, particularly at the end of the book, to the public policies that nations can initiate to protect their olive trees, while not turning their backs on the Lexus.

He has some interesting theories, too, that I enjoyed reading about, particularly the idea that no country with a McDonald's franchise has ever attacked another country with a McDonald's franchise. (His first edition came out before NATO v Yugoslavia, but he still stands by it, as NATO isn't a nation...) His
idea here is that market capitalism can be a stabilizing force in the world because once people have a big enough middle class to support franchises like McDonald's they are hard pressed to risk their lifestyles for war.

I found this edition, which came out in 2000 to be somewhat painful, as his passages about what he calls "super-empowered individuals," who don't need to be in control of a country or its military to attack other nations or groups, somewhat vaguely but eerily predicted the September 11 plot. His position that the
increasing democratization of finance/capital, information and technology can improve life and destabilize it too are convincing, especially in what we've seen happen since the book was published.

The book, written in a pleasant, colloquial style with a lot of well-known examples is engaging and easy to read. I strongly recommend it.

3-0 out of 5 stars An overview, but not enough for "understanding"
Over the years, New York Times reporter Tom Friedman has earned a reputation for his crisp and engaging writing and his ability to present the complex world events in ways that are easy to understand. If you're looking for an introduction to issues involved in the globalization of commerce, this is one of the best books on the market for it. Friendman's descriptions of things like the "electronic herd" of global capital investment and his McDonald's theory of international conflict bring a lot of sense to an otherwise confusing landscape of issues.

This strength of the book is also its limitation. Friedman is a clear writer because he paints with a broad brush. There is a strong bias at work here, but Friedman tends to try to keep hidden both his bias and points of debate that would contradict his theses. For example, he argues that market capitalism is now the one and only way to participate in the global economy, ignoring that there are several distinct flavors of "market capitalism" (US, Japanese, and European, for example) with very different rules and very different outcomes. Reading Friedman, one might assume that the Asian tigers had achieved their success by following the US model (which is the laissez-faire approach also advocated by the World Bank), while in fact they achieved robust growth through an approach more or less like that followed by the Japanese, which involved a combination of protectionism, currency management, and mandated savings. Friedman uses the 1997 Asian economic meltdown to argue that this Japanese-style approach is no longer valid and that global capital investment will not return until they better conform to the financial market transparency typical of the US. During the current slump, however, capital has fled from the US back to many of these economies because of their performance and not because of their transparency.

The question with globalization isnt whether it's "good" or "bad," but whether and how it should be managed. If you're looking for a more in-depth discussion of these issues and a more honest revelation of the author's biases, there are better books available, such as William Greider's "One World, Ready or Not." But this book isn't a bad place to get your feet wet.

3-0 out of 5 stars Sort of rambles, has some great anecdotes and analogies.
The Lexus and the Olive Tree is an important book, but in many ways Thomas Friedman renders his own creation irrelevant. He is almost schizophrenic in his writing style, arguing with himself as if he has yet to make up his mind about the things he is writing. In some ways, it seems like he just prefers to share anecdotes (which are vivid and usually humorous) from his travels around the world, rather than the typical kinds of fact-based research one finds in these sort of books. The result is that the reader can understand some of the concepts, but they can also get a little tedious, and it is hard to translate the anecdotes into something that I assimilate into my worldview.

Furthermore, Friedman seems to love to quote people at length, but one wonders if indeed he is quoting word-for-word, or if he is just sort of crafting something to fit his book out of a vaguely similar comment the person may have made. But, then one thinks again, because the book is almost a little choppy in places because Friedman quotes random characters from all around the world for pages upon pages. One would prefer that he just paraphrase or use shorter quotes.

Because it was written 5 years ago, some of the reading is tedious (he explains what a DVD player is, for example), and in some areas he seems to be caught up in the "irrational" dot-com whirlwind. In his revised version of the book, it sort of just drones on, pontificating for about 20-30 pages too much. Thomas Friedman is a very personable guy, and he has a lot of interesting things to say about the world, but honestly, one doesn't care for his own political/religious philosophy being injected, mostly toward the end of the book. It was just awkward to read through the final chapter or two; the book has multiple personality disorder in some regards.

One almost feel like the book is written for an audience of Dick Gephardts. He wants to win the protectionist wing of the Democratic Party over with the book. He seems to be speaking to them. Maybe he is speaking to Republicans as well, but if so, he lectures a little too sanctimoniously on the environment and the notion of a social safety net (he calls Republicans "mean-spirited voices... uninterested in any compromise" and tries to argue that Africa, with its near-anarchy in places, would be a Republican's dream) to win conservatives over entirely. He sort of just randomly breaks into prostheletyzing, arguing, for example, "That the NRA should feel guilty about the Colombine massacres went without saying." Why even go into that? That's just tacky.

Finally, a reader gets sort of annoyed reading his own made-up terms (Golden Straightjacket, Electronic Herd, etc.), over and over, particularly since none of them caught on whatsoever in the past half-decade since the book came out.

Some of it is dead on, though, particularly when he writes as an observer of the world rather than an activist, and this book is a good way to conceptualize globalization for those who are having a hard time adapting their political ideology in the post-Cold War era. In general, I'd say The Lexus and the Olive Tree starts off strong, ends weak, and that's a shame. It was on track to get 5 stars from me, even with the early tributes to Al Gore and other political cheap shots, but the final part of the book was just THAT lacking, that it falls to 3 stars.

2-0 out of 5 stars Basic, almost insulting.
In the book friedman describes several interesting points ranging from the trade offs of culture and capitalism, to the basic efficiencies of different economies, though the way he describes things is almost insulting. The metaphors and anologies used seem to indicate a journalist writing for the elderly or those who have no idea what a digital medium is. Being a young student this quickly wore on my attention span.

I tried to read the book twice and failed becuase I get so fed up with his style. For example, he has a tendency to end paragraphs with exclamations that are as corny as the saying "click on that!" This drove me to the point where I would read the entire paragraph except the last sentence, obviously not the best way to read a book.

The good news is that the liberal bias seen in From Beirut to Jeuraslim(sp) is nowhere to be seen, replaced by ideas that only the free-est of the free markets would survive, a complete contradiction to his pro-arab Beruit book.

I would recommend milton friedman over thomas friedman, anyday, if you want an accurate portrayal of the power of the free market.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent primer for the novice and interested alike
Friedman's book "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" is an excellent illustration of basic globalization principles and strategies, told in simple and easy language for the layman's point of view. The heavy use of anecdotal evidence also lends a comfortable "storytelling" perspective that generally keeps the reader's attention focused.

One of the things that interested me about this book was Friedman's attempted placement of his work alongside other authors on similar subjects. In the introduction, he plainly states that his purpose in writing this book is not only to fully explain the concept, analysis, and anecdotal evidence of globalization, but also to add to the body of knowledge that is shaping and defining the post-Cold War era in history. Citing other seminal works that have been described as groundbreaking descriptions of this time in history, he lists 3 other books that he hopes to complement on that very subject: "The End of History and the Last Man" by Francis Fukuyama, "The Clash of Civilizations" by Samuel Huntington, and the collected works (books and articles) of Robert Kaplan. In truth, I have recently read all 3 of these selections and can honestly agree that Friedman has successfully accomplished his goal.

For the most part, I already understood globalization (and how it ties in with the greater subject of economics and capitalism) so I thought I might get bored with his tedious simplification and excessive detail... but surprisingly, I found this not to be the case. Overall, I found Friedman to definitely be an expert on the subject, which is often rare for newspaper journalists - and especially the NY Times foreign affairs correspondent who covers the entire planet. This subject is less about "foreign affairs" than economics... but then again, Friedman was the Wall Street correspondent at the Times before he took the foreign affairs desk.

One caveat, though.... this book was published before 9/11 - the first edition was 1999 and the 2nd was in early 2001. So one or two of his predictions didn't pan out, but as to globalization I don't think he'd change much in a 3rd edition. I can only think of one subject in the book where Friedman was dead wrong - his idea that stronger US relations with eastern Europe (specifically the Baltic states) was a bad idea because it might antagonize Russia. Turns out NATO expansion into Europe has gone relatively well... and Russia has practically eliminated their early protestations since 9/11, and in fact are already looking to stronger ties directly with NATO.

Having read those other 3 works, I can honestly say that Friedman has penned a true masterpiece on the post-Cold War body of knowledge. And Friedman is mostly pro-globalization too (unlike the anarchist WTO and G-8 protestors that get all the press), even when he objectively presents both sides of the argument. His overall thesis is basically this: globalization is here to stay, there really isn't anything people can do to stop it (much like the sunrise), so it's best to get used to it, understand it, and realize how you can find yourself moving with it instead of against it. In the end, Friedman uses his considerable journalistic (if not storytelling) talents to offer a subject where readers at all levels of economic expertise can find something to enjoy. ... Read more

3. The Chinese Century : The Rising Chinese Economy and Its Impact on the Global Economy, the Balance of Power, and Your Job
by Oded Shenkar
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.65
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Asin: 0131467484
Catlog: Book (2004-10-13)
Publisher: Wharton School Publishing
Sales Rank: 8590
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Book Description

Within 20 years -- possibly far sooner -- China will have the world’s largest economy. That will powerfully impact you: your job, your company, your economic future, and your country. In The Chinese Century, Oded Shenkar shows how China is restoring its imperial glory by infusing modern technology and market economics into a non-democratic system controlled by the Communist party and bureaucracy.

Shenkar shows why China’s accelerating growth differs radically from predecessors such as Japan, India, and Mexico -- and how it will lead to a radical restructuring of the global business system. Discover why the U.S. is most vulnerable to China’s ascent... how China’s disregard for intellectual property creates sustainable competitive advantage... and how China’s growth impacts every global business and consumer.

Above all, Shenkar shows what you must do to survive and prosper in "the Chinese Century."

· Cheap labor + millions of high-skilled professionals

· How China will sustain dominance in low-tech industries as it enters high-tech realms

· Building tomorrow’s Toyotas and Sonys... faster and cheaper

· Chinese multinationals: learning from joint ventures, preparing to lead

· Leveraging Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and the "Chinese diaspora"

· Bringing together the world’s most powerful pool of human resources

· $2 Rolexes, and beyond

· Piracy, counterfeiting, bootlegging, and stolen intellectual property

· From economics to geopolitics: counterbalancing America

· Previewing China’s increasingly assertive foreign policy ... Read more

4. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
by John Perkins
list price: $24.95
our price: $15.72
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Asin: 1576753018
Catlog: Book (2004-11-09)
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Sales Rank: 386
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Book Description

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man reveals a game that, according to John Perkins, is "as old as Empire" but has taken on new and terrifying dimensions in an era of globalization. And Perkins should know. For many years he worked for an international consulting firm where his main job was to convince LDCs (less developed countries) around the world to accept multibillion-dollar loans for infrastructure projects and to see to it that most of this money ended up at Halliburton, Bechtel, Brown and Root, and other United States engineering and construction companies. This book, which many people warned Perkins not to write, is a blistering attack on a little-known phenomenon that has had dire consequences on both the victimized countries and the U.S. ... Read more

5. Macroeconomics + DiscoverEcon Online with Paul Solman Videos
by Campbell R McConnell, Stanley L Brue
list price: $91.87
our price: $91.87
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Asin: 0072982721
Catlog: Book (2004-04-05)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill/Irwin
Sales Rank: 31650
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Book Description

Macroeconomics is an integrated knowledge-building tool that is both concise and comprehensive. A 240-minute DVD explains macroeconomics in entertaining, easy-to-follow fashion, while well-designed Web interfaces help you to place the material into the real world. Professionals looking to learn more are shown both sides of each argument, then given the information they need to make informed choices on how macroeconomic factors impact society.

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6. Greenspan's Fraud : How Two Decades of His Policies Have Undermined the Global Economy
by Ravi Batra
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 1403968594
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Sales Rank: 6863
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For two decades Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has held reign over economic policy, outlasting three presidents. His long tenure has had a profound effect on global economics and on individuals. In this hard-hitting exposé, international bestselling author Ravi Batra takes sharp aim at Greenspan's policies since he came into power. Greenomics, Batra argues, has extracted trillions of dollars from the American middle class and sharply benefited the rich, while protecting big business. Batra proves that Greenomics has also been responsible for periods of irrational exuberance, and exposes the wild inconsistencies in his social security plans. Greenspan's Fraud explores Greenspan's influences and motivations and the discrepancies between his words and actions, while revealing how his policies have national and global impact.
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Reviews (10)

3-0 out of 5 stars It's not Greenspan's fraud
It's not Greenspan's fraud. That would be giving Mr. Greenspan too much credit. The Federal Reserve is a fraud that was formed long before Greenspan was made its chairman. Greenspan has done a reasonable job of keeping the false prosperity intact, but it won't last. Like all Fed chairman before him he just counterfeited a bunch of money. Take a look at our incomes vs the cost of living and it becomes obvious we haven't made any progress at all. A Great Depression is the only way to resolve the economic distortions the Fed has enabled.

4-0 out of 5 stars Looking for Mr. GREENSCAM!
     Despite its title, this is less a book about the "Maestro" Alan Greenspan (the current Chairman of the Federal Reserve System) than a review of the recent travails of the U.S. economy and the imbalances it has spawned at home and abroad by its plutocratic excesses. That Mr. G. is a privileged member of that plutocracy of wealth none would deny; he has after all been hailed as Chief Gnome of the Global Economy ever since the Stock Market Crash of 1987; but that he is also the chief architect of its manifold shenanigans and manifest frauds is a stretch, and a claim which Mr Batra can't make stick. Which is unfortunate because the U.S./global economy desperately needs a scapegoat right now!

Probably ALL of us know something about Mr Greenspan. He has been in the public eye as part of the politico-economic elite ever since President Ford appointed him Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors in 1974. He became Chairman of the Fed in 1987, in the wake of the great Paul Volcker, and quickly established himself as Savior of Global Financial Markets after his prompt and brilliantly successful response to theCrash of `87. (How ironic that his Fed career should also ends with a crash: the Millennial Meltdown of 2000-2002). To the rest of us, Greenspan is probably best known for what is sometimes called "Fed-speak," a contorted, convoluted, pretzel-logic kind of economese that passes all understanding. (It might more reasonably be called "GreenSPAM"!) These tidbits aside, however, few of us know much about Mr. G. or the Federal Reserve. And because Batra does not provide us with a coherent chronological account of his quarry's background and career, we are at a loss to know whetherthe barrage of accusations that he fires off in his first chapter (a long and disorganised anti-Greenspan screed) has any merit. This is a failing which dogs Batra's footsteps throughout the book.

Although his case against Greenspan (in Chapters 1 and 4) is not as rigorous as we might like, Batra's larger argument about the causes of the U.S. economic malaise since the early Seventies is excellent. Specifically, what he provides is a much needed neo-Keynesian "demand-side" response to the manifest idiocies of "supply-side" conservatism. In the late Seventies and early Eighties, "Supply-siders" (so called) claimed that high taxes on the wealthy were bad for savings, and hence, investment, and hence growth. Batra shows (Ch 7) that the era of highest taxation on the wealthy, the Fifties and Sixties, was also the era of highest growth! Go figure! Supply-siders also claimed that raising the minimum wage would cause higher unemployment. "Not so," says Batra, who skewers that self-serving myth in Chapter 8. But, you may say, how could the Supply-Siders have been so WRONG if they had the RIGHT recipe for balancing the budget? The answer, as Batra shows, was that the budget was NEVER balanced; it was merely kept under control. How? By increasing payroll taxes on working Americans, under the sleazy guise of "fixing Social Security". Throughout the Eighties and Nineties, despite their alleged ideological differences, both Democrats AND Republicans lined up to vote for reduced taxes on wealth and increased taxes on work. By claiming to "save" Social Security they increased worker deductions, and then used the additional Social Security funds to "balance" the general budget! And, as Batra's incendiary second chapter on the "Social Securiity Fraud" convincingly demonstrates, they did so by lying through their teeth to the American public. Because Greenspan was at the center of that disgraceful stab in the back, Batra holds him accountable for the entire scam. GreenSCAM! But, if you read Chapter Two, which on its own will more than repay your invrstment in this book, you'll realize that while the "Maestro" was the ringmaster, there was no shortage of cheerleaders and helpmates. And Democrats were no less spineless than their GOP counterparts.

To conclude: this book is not a good guide to Greenspan, the man or the mythical figure who has dominated the economic landscape for the past twenty years. But it is an EXCELLENT guide to the manifest ways in which the "new economy" has benefitted the rich and shafted the rest of us.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's about time !
True, Alan Greenspan may have been lucky in preventing inflation even though that is truly questionable given his support of ENRON-omics. However, day after day you'll hear Greenspan flip and flop on the status of the economy with no coherent understanding. Moreover, he'll even endorse the worst of free trade just because it will make Wall Street happy at the expense of Main Street. This is where Batra's book steps in. You see, Greenspan has no genuine interest in doing what is truly best and correct for the nation as fed chair. His only goal is to serve as a special interest puppet. After all, if the free markets were true replacements for the existing safety nets such as social security, then why is it that Alan Greenspan keeps on flipping and flopping on his stands? Is it because of his wife Andrea Mitchell who gets to show up on the corporate media and the extra money she'll get as Bush's speechwriter after Bush finishes bilking us taxpayers? Not only is that so but Greenspan knows that without economic safety nets, baby boomers will be forced to live off of worthless stocks that resulted from one too many stock market crashes. Batra isn't writing this book to bilk rich people as some conservative reviewers might try to mislead you into believing. His point is that for having played a major role in the 20 years of destructive globalism, Greenspan is actually too good to be true and that's what Wall Street, the conservatives and libertarians, and the media that lives off Greenspan's acting mode are afraid you will find out about.

Pick a day of the week a throw a dart. That seems to be what decides whether Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan will tell us we are headed for disaster or doing fabulously on any given day. It has reached the point where it is not just fence straddling, but truly troublesome psychosis. And it has been going on for a while now. Look at this from last year. First, from May 6, 2004 comments to a banking conference: "Our fiscal prospects are, in my judgment, a significant obstacle to long-term stability because the budget deficit is not readily subject to correction by market forces that stabilize other imbalances." Then a few months later to the House Budget Committee: "The most recent data suggest that, on the whole, the expansion has regained some traction." One day he is pointing out that there is an "inverted yield curve," a little thing that precedes every recession and never appears except when there is a recession about to occur, and the next he is saying the economy is wonderful - even in the face of all obvious evidence to the contrary, such as seen in this Washington Post quote typical of the situation: "Greenspan was upbeat about the economy in remarks to the House Budget Committee, and did not suggest there would be any major changes in the Fed's monetary policy, which was a welcome relief to rate-wary investors. But the short-term cheer over his comments was not enough to allay the market's deeper concerns." The problem, though, is not Greenspan himself but something we see play out on a much, much larger scale, and which has the entire nation confused about the current state of the economy, which is actually very simple to explain. You see, it is the job of the entire investment firm profession to get you to buy stocks and bonds. And economists serve these people, and tend to be Republicans. The reality is that Greenspan and others understand the second part of the above Washington Post quote, that there are permanent "deeper concerns" due to the policies implemented by President Bush and the Bush/Limbaugh Republicans. The deficit is real, the declining dollar is real, that the lack of pensions are real, that record number of personal bankruptcies are occurring each year.. So why does the reporting and commenting go back and forth so much? Because they have to say something and to try and say something positive. They sit and wait on this and that report and then are supposed to make some comment based on these snapshots. If they were simply to continue to focus on the big picture, they would have nothing new or interesting - or very positive - to say. How many times can you write, "You can't keep running up the nation's credit cards like this?" How many times can you point out that the tax cuts were not targeted in any way toward job creation - they simply handed money to wealthy people without any incentives linked to increased hiring or any other mechanism of job creation. Lots of money was handed directly to companies, and so their profits increased. That would be nice except for one catch: it was money we didn't have to give. The cheerful reporting of the sudden increase of cash among companies is the eqivalent of going out and buying a new truck and 42-inch TV on your credit card and then coming home and saying, "See how well we are doing, honey, we have all sorts of nice new stuff." The reality in that case would be that, no, things around the household haven't improved, just someone in the household made a stupid decision to run up all sorts of debt that has to be paid down at some point. We hear talk now about foreign investors getting leery of floating our endless bonds. And we hear about the inverted yield curve - the surest sign of a coming recession, when short-term interest rates are, unlike normal, higher than long-term interest rates. You have to take this all a step further, though, because this is just the government aspect of things. Though the press likes to report useless, skewed month to month "unemployment" numbers, the reality is that these numbers only include people still receiving unemployment compensation benefits. Those who have exhausted all of their benefits and are still unable to find work are called, "long-term unemployed." The number of people in this group tells the real story of unemployment, of people permanently put in the worst of financial situations. And as reality has it, the last two years has seen record numbers of long-term unemployed. On top of that, the trend that started during the Clinton years of record personal bankruptcies continues. And the trade deficit continues to set new records. So on the one hand you have a government completely broke, setting deficit borrowing records every year. And on the other, you have the American people completely overspent, credit cards run to the max and many stuck long-term without any employment. And then you have a Baby Boomer group that will be retiring many without pensions, only with dot-com-crash-battered 401K's to depend on. Lady's and gentlemen, the math doesn't add up. The only thing the Bush/Limbaughians have to try and keep things from seeming the disaster they are is their complete domination of the media - of course, as we've explained, this is why they've set up 24 hour-a-day propaganda on all media, to convince the people that things that are horrible for them are actually just fine. You can look at this report or that number, but the "conundrum" Alan Greenspan keeps coming back to is simple: How can he continue to try to say anything positive when the obvious, big-picture context of the economy is horrible and only being exacerbated by current policies? And so you see poor Alan looking like a deranged monkey on acid, saying we have a recovery, things look good, and then, just a few days later, we have a real problem, the deficits and inverted yield curve cannot be ignored.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ignore the kneejerk reviews - this book tells the truth
So what did Greenspan do for this country that you have to be so proud about? Well, he did push for unfair "free" trade and is continuing to do so with offshoring and the upcoming CAFTA and he overtaxed America on Social Security in an attempt to help the Republicans destroy Social Security and is now pushing for privatization. It's true the Greenspan goes only where the wind blows, be it Clinton in office in the 1990s or now Bush. Maybe Wall Street paid some negative reviewers money to try to stop the dirty secret truth of Alan Greenspan from marching on but like a real patriot always knows "THE TRUTH IS MARCHING ON !" ... Read more

7. Conquer the Crash: You Can Survive and Prosper in a Deflationary Depression
by Robert R. Prechter Jr.
list price: $27.95
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Asin: 0470849827
Catlog: Book (2002-06-21)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 31730
Average Customer Review: 3.73 out of 5 stars
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In Conquer the Crash, Robert Prechter explains why he thinks the boom times are behind us. Based on his interpretation of the Elliott Wave principle (an idea premised on the notion that mass investor psychology is what really drives markets), Prechter believes that the U.S. economy is about to enter into a deflationary depression that few investors are prepared to deal with. In making his case, Prechter assembles an impressive array of data that in essence suggests that the bill for the last 10 years of market excess is about to come due. The second half of the book shows how to avoid becoming "a zombie-eyed victim of the depression" and offers advice on protecting one's assets in a deflationary environment (cash is king). If there's any good news in the future that Prechter sees coming (other than how to avoid it), it's that all-out depressions don't last very long. Conquer the Crash should appeal to gloom-and-doom investors and to those desperately looking for a safe haven from the uncertainties of today's markets. --Harry C. Edwards ... Read more

Reviews (89)

5-0 out of 5 stars Who are you going to believe?
Subscribers to Prechter's newsletters will have already read most of what is in this book. But for the other 99.99% of investors in the world who are not his subscribers, he has distilled down his reasoning and recommended course of actions into one convenient place.

This book is really two books within one set of covers -- the publisher even uses two different kinds of paper stock to differentiate the "books." In "book one," Prechter draws from history and shows charts & graphs (some going back 300 years) of what has happened in situations similar to what we are going through today. Known for his Elliott Wave analysis, Prechter does not stop there. He uses all of the tools of technical and fundamental analysis to methodically build his argument that the current market downturn is very far from over. Like a lawyer presenting a case, he covers everything from esoteric considerations such as rising federal debt as a percentage of GDP, to public psychology, to the ultimate impotence of the Fed. At the end of the section, the reader is left with the choice to either believe that history repeats, or that "this time it's different."

"Book two" presents practical advice of what to do now. He offers suggestions of what to do if you're in the stock market and your account is way down. He covers junk bonds, real estate, treasuries, pension plans, 401Ks, insurance, gold, and the whole spectrum of investments. To help the reader, he lists the safest banks in the country. He has eye-opening advice for people who are relying on government protection such as FDIC bank account insurance. Finally, he shows how to actually profit in the environment we are currently in.

Some disparage Prechter for his past fault of getting out of the market too early. It's a valid criticism; nevertheless, every one of his predictions are currently playing out. How do you argue with someone who is right?

Ultimately, the reader is left with a choice. One is to follow the financial mass media, economists and brokerage analysts who say recovery is just around the corner. The other is to look at history and Prechter's prediction, along with his track record of being only one of a handful of people to predict the magnitude of the market crash. Who are you going to believe?

5-0 out of 5 stars Shows you how to profit from the coming depression.
In his new book, Robert Prechter makes a convincing case that we are heading for a deflationary depression, similar to the environment the U.S. saw in the early 1930's, and Japan has experienced for the last 12 years. Readers are shown how to prepare, and even prosper as this deflationary scenario unfolds. While most will be crushed by the weight of their own mortgage and credit card debt, readers of this book can take advantage of a once in a lifetime investment opportunity.

Prechter's understanding of technical, contrary, and economic analysis is exceptional. According to conventional wisdom of investors, traders, and the so-called "experts" on Wall Street, external events and fundamentals cause psychology and social mood to change. Flying in the face of this conventional wisdom, Prechter maintains that in reality the opposite is true; psychology and social mood cause underlying economic and market conditions to change. Once you view events from this perspective you can successfully anticipate conditions and properly adjust your investment techniques for maximum wealth appreciation and preservation.

Prechter identifies the many ways for readers to profit off the continuing stock market decline. Whether you trade stocks, bonds, commodities, or options you will find valuable advice in this book. It will have a permanent spot on my own bookshelf next to Prechter's earlier classic "At the Crest Of the Tidal Wave". Prechter's advice will surely be used in my own trading.

2-0 out of 5 stars Interesting but...
I like Prechter because he's an interesting, unconventional thinker. But... I want to be careful and fair... doesn't his track record leave quite a bit to be desired?

At one time (I think the early 80's), I've read or heard he did well with his market predictions. But, not sure, didn't he get the 87 crash wrong in the sense that the market quickly recovered and that would've been the opportunity of a lifetime to buy? And, hasn't he's been bearish though another great opportunity, the incredible bull market of the latter 90's?

Finally, here we are in mid 2004, with Gold holding _above_ $400, the stock averages within spitting distance of their old highs, and the fed likely to raise interest rates because of the economic recovery (along with job creation) to keep inflation in check.

It just seems like Elliot Wave strings you along... there're always unlikely alternate counts and unlikely alternates to those that make you question why the unlikely of the unlikely seem to happen so often. I'm not trying to bash; would actually prefer to be more positive; but am simply expressing an honest dissapointment.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!
Prophets of doom have always made entertaining reading. In his latest fire-and-brimstone warning, Robert R. Prechter, Jr., an experienced forecaster of long-term economic and social trends, says financial Armageddon is just around the corner. While his technical analysis ("Wave Theory") may appear to be stock-market astrology, readers may appreciate his examination of the basic functions of money and credit, his argument that worldwide central banking has fundamentally altered these functions, and his perceptive comparisons of the late 1990s with the Roaring Twenties. Prechter might have appealed to a broader audience by toning down his graphs and technical talk, and focusing instead on his investment suggestions: If the market turns down, you'll save your skin, but even in a bull market, keeping your money safe can't hurt. We recommend this book to anyone looking for bear-market investment advice, as well as those interested in technical analysis or an opinionated view of business and market cycles.

2-0 out of 5 stars A poorly argued case, even for market bears.
Mr. Prechter is best known as a popular advocate for the Elliot Wave principle. He continues this school of thought in this book.

The book is divided into two parts. The first part attempts to persuade the reader that the US economy is headed for a deflationary depression. The second part recommends actions to prepare and prosper during a deflationary depression. This specific edition of the book also includes an update written in 2004. (The original book was written in 2002.)

First of all, with any investment book review, it is important to understand the reviewer's biases. My belief is that the US will enter some type of unwinding, either through an extended securities bear market, or more severe overall imbalance. I maintain a minor belief in technical analysis but do not rely on it.

Elliot Wave analysis is, at its core, a technical analysis methodology. Elliot Wave claims to find a recurring pattern in short term, long term, and ultra-long term market price charts. What is gravely missing, however, is some sort of explanation or justification for its supposed utility. Many schools of technical analysis, for example, give plausible explanations for why "resistance levels" exist based on market or individual investor psychology. This is completely missing from Mr. Prechter's writings and thus he fails to distinguish himself from a long line of failed data miners.

This missing and crucial "why" is the most glaring hole in this book. While other writers attempt to prove a thesis through a chain of reasoning and supporting data, Mr. Prechter skips steps in his thesis. The holes are not glaring to a casual reader, but a person with some breadth in economic knowledge will easily spot large omissions.

For example, even if you accept the disjointed framework of technical and fundamental analysis, the fundamental arguments for deflation are seriously flawed. Note, also, that Elliot Wave principles claim only to predict the performance of securities. Thus, Elliot Wave is agnostic with respect to the inflation vs. deflation debate. Therefore, Mr. Prechter's arguments for deflation are purely fundamental in basis. This is where his loose foundation really comes apart. His understanding of the Federal Reserve functions are contrary to those written by many other writers and scholars, including many who share similar contempt for the Federal Reserve. This is rather crucial, because the specific authorities and obligations of the Federal Reserve can determine whether a presumed economic failure results in deflation or hyper-inflation. Convincing cases for deflation have been made, but Mr. Prechter does not offer one.

Where many market bears thoroughly argue and carefully build their conclusions, Mr. Prechter glosses over far too many details to arrive at this deflation conclusion and blatantly ignores examples that contradict his thesis. He uses the US depression of 1929 as his sole argument that monetary policy is powerless to prevent deflation, forgetting that Federal Reserve authority was much lesser back then. Meanwhile, he ignores the numerous historical hyper-inflation examples caused by monetarism, such as 1970's US "stagflation", the recent collapses of Argentinean and Mexican currency, or even popular historical cases such as the South Sea Company bubble and post World War One Germany. Mr. Prechter is either grossly ignorant or deliberately avoiding such cases. Neither speaks well for him.

Most importantly, he sets up his own case of why he is wrong. He admits that there is a small probability that he could be wrong and that hyper-inflation will set in. Mr. Prechter says that this would be indicated by a declining US dollar and a price of gold reaching above $400 per ounce. Both are now clearly true, yet in his 50-page 2004 appendix, he conveniently ignores this fact and chooses to emphasize only his market index prognostication.

The rest of his fundamental case rests on material already beaten to death by other bearish scholars. He writes about historical price to earnings ratios, the contrarian indications given by popular finance magazines and long-to-short ratios, for example. His fundamental arguments are not thoroughly presented and escape ridicule only because others have argued the case before him. He adds nothing new here.

Since the first part of the book is so poorly supported, the second part regarding how to survive a depression is irrelevant. His recommendations generally apply only to deflation and would not work in a hyper-inflation or zero-inflation economy.

When one supports an already argued case, the burden of proof is small. However, if one dares to present a different case as Mr. Prechter has done, one needs to cover all well known and reasonably applicable cases at a minimum. Mr. Prechter has failed in this regard and by his own criteria. ... Read more

8. The Sky's the Limit : Passion and Property in Manhattan
by Steven Gaines
list price: $26.95
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Asin: 0316608513
Catlog: Book (2005-06-01)
Publisher: Little, Brown
Sales Rank: 2121
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Book Description

The bestselling author of Philistines at the Hedgerow probes the secretive world of Manhattan luxury apartments, where real estate costs the most and matters even more.

Steven Gaines once again trains his sharp eye on rich people behaving badly. This time, the arena is Manhattan luxury real estate and the outlandish displays of ego, outrageous behavior, blood feuds, status hunger, and conspicuous consumption that dominate that world.

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT reveals the apartment swapping adventures of many celebrities, from Jerry Seinfeld to Barbra Streisand, from Tommy Hilfiger to Gloria Vanderbilt--with typical Gaines verve and style. But Gaines digs much deeper to tell us the fascinating story of how boxes stacked on boxes came to be seen as the ultimate in status for the rich. He introduces us to a fascinating, diverse cast of carriage-trade brokers, whose most important task is to get their anxious clients past the dreaded co-op board. And, he gives us finely etched portraits of a few of the discreet, elderly society ladies who are the real arbiters of who gets into the so-called "Good Buildings." ... Read more

9. The Dollar Crisis: Causes, Consequences, Cures
by Richard Duncan
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Asin: 0470821027
Catlog: Book (2003-07-25)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 26061
Average Customer Review: 3.82 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"A sobering, timely wake-up call to the looming dangers of a massive - critically necessary - correction in the U.S. Richard Duncan writes with immense clarity and experience, weaving historical material into a rich tapestry of disturbing patterns, warning that the world cannot afford to ignore the lessons of Asian and Latin American financial crises - and Japan's malaise - as an even greater economic threat looms. A must read, with economic seat belt buckled." - David H. Satterwhite, Managing Director, The Economist Conferences Corporate Network-Japan

"Richard Duncan has written a fascinating study of history in the making. He is right to propose that we need joint efforts by different stakeholders to overcome a coming monetary crisis." - Frank J. Richter, Director, Asia, World Economic Forum

"Hard on the heels of the collapse of the "new economy" is that of the "new finance". Richard Duncan crisply explains why payback time for years of USs credit excesses, payments imbalances and securitized sub-par lending is imminent. Mr Greenspan, your time is up. The wisdom of Ludwig von Mises will prevail." - Philip Bowring, Columnist, International Herald Tribune

"Make no mistake - much of the discontent with the global financial system is rooted in the dollar standard. The risk of a dolar crisis is real and the author deserves much praise for clearly exposing a force that many seek to deny. A must read for anyone with a savings deposit." - Jesper Koll, Chief Economist, Merrill Lynch Japan

"This is a welcome attempt at exploring the symptoms of what may become a major financial storm. Is the world wise to expect the problem to find its own solution? Richard Duncans suggestions for a cure imply a degree of worldwide slump that may prove difficult to foster, but his arguments are worth listening to." - Philippe Delhaise, President, Capital Information Services Ltd ... Read more

Reviews (28)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great points on international trade issues, poor solutions
This book is really worth the read for anyone trying to make sense of our world economic environment. Mr. Duncan makes many persuasive points as he explains the cause of the boom/bust cycles that have occurred since the breakdown of the Bretton Woods agreement. A major point is that the proliferation of a fiat "dollar standard" has created credit inflation in the banking systems of export heavy nations. This increase in credit created much distortion and malinvestment, and the cycle ended with over-capacity and speculation. Asset bubbles were then created in equities and real estate. He also describes the "boomerang dollar" as the money flowing out of the US, because of our current account deficit, finds it's way back here as foreign nations buy our corporate, federal, and agency debt. Our budget deficit is largely financed by foreigners who then add the dollar denominated assets to their bank reserves. The author's work is well researched and presented.
In part four the author presents his solutions to what he believes is a looming global deflationary depression. He describes a global minimum wage, and the empowerment of the IMF to basically become the world's central bank. It was enough to make the Austrian hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I believe his solutions are thankfully unworkable. The cost and logistics of overseeing the minimum wage compliance would be staggering. We have enough trouble enforcing work laws in our own country. How do we expect some UN knockoff to monitor an employer in Saigon or Calcutta? The author's solution to allow the IMF to use special drawing rights to provide global welfare makes me wonder if he may have written the fourth part of his book as an intellectual exercise, target practice if you will.
Mr. Duncan's book is important in its factual examination of some very troubling global economic developments. I'm glad I read it. But, his solutions are way off the mark. Any real solutions come with much pain, it can't be avoided. We need a sound money system, less government intervention, and more reliance on free market forces.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read between the lines
Having traded currencies successfully for the past 20 years, I found this book to be a credible resource. With the U.S. deficit spiraling in the wrong direction, we need to be aware of all the possibilities to create optimum contingency plans. This book will provide you with the information to make the informed decisions.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dollar Crisis Accurate and Timely
I first read The Dollar Crisis four months ago. With each re-read, the author's reasoning for and results of the coming dollar crisis makes more sense. It lays an extremely good foundation for the current world imbalance and makes valid predictions which are based on historical models.

Although I wish the author had given additional recommendations for what we, as individuals, might do to protect ourselves before the eventual dollar demise, I do believe his idea of establishing a Global Minimum Wage may be the best way, internationally, to avoid the collapse of the dollar. I wish him the best of luck if he pursues this ambitious solution.

2-0 out of 5 stars Starts with conclusion and then uses facts to back it up
this book is typical of this "the sky is falling" genre. It presents many useful statistics about trade imbalance and growing debt for the U.S. However, rather than try to determine potential scenarios or outcomes, I feel like the author is always trying to make the data fit his conclusions. While these conclusions may play out, most people are just not that good at determining the future. For example, he talks extensively about the coming disinflation. Since his book, inflation has reappeared. Also, it seems like it's going to be with us for a while because of the Fed's agressive monetary policy, and strong demand from China for commodities.

Also, he tries (like many others) to suggest a gold standard is better than the fiat standard we have. While I understand the sentiment, it's just hard to believe that in today's very, very complex financial world that we could ever go back to Gold. Besides, no one (outside of the gold circles) seems to care if money isn't backed by gold.

Bottom line for the world: If I borrow $10, it's my problem. If I borrow $3 trillion, it's everyone's problem. In other words, the world is married to the dollar for now, and any other marriage (i.e., to a future currency) will take a lot of time to unwind. Also, countries are probably not going to stop buying our debt for quite a while since we're all hooked.

Bottom line for the book: Great facts. Conclusions too far-reaching.

4-0 out of 5 stars A bit rushed, yet a valuable book nonetheless
As I write, the Fed has declared victory over the deflationary threat and is getting ready to raise interest rates. Thus, one reading this book would think that its dire warnings regarding deflation constitute old, passe news. They should beware. Duncan wrote this book in order to further educate people amongst the common investor class as well as analysts/economists about how dire the *overall* economic picture is in America. I.E. Said deflationary threat may have seemingly dissipated, yet the larger trends outlined in the book beg the question over whether disinflation/deflation have truly been knocked out in favor of a genuine economic recovery.

For any student of economics, political economy or investments, this book will serve as a rare and valuable primer regarding the real reasons why we are the richest nation on the planet, the core reasons for said status, the true nature of "money", and our relationships with other nations deemed as our "creditors". Quantitatively supplemented with charts, tables, graphs, quotes and figures cited directly from sources such as the IMF, Federal Reserve and luminaries/authors in the field (Stiglitz, Soros, Von Mises, Keynes, Friedman, Krugman, et al.), Duncan certainly backs up effectively his core assertions. If nothing else, the book serves as a mini course in global finance and macro-economics, and thus deserves a read.

The book didn't get much press or publicity in the U.S. after it was published in 2003. No wonder. Its bearish tone and thesis are hardly qualities that Kudlow and Cramer would rant about, let alone even cite cautiously. However, the book does compliment other compelling texts with similar subject matters such as "Conquer the Crash" by Robert Prechter, Jr., "Financial Reckoning Day" by William Bonner, "The Case Against the Fed" by Murray Rothbard, "The Truth About Markets" by John Kay, "The Mystery of Capital" by Hernando de Soto and even "After the Empire" by Emmanuel Todd -- in describing what would otherwise be washed out in the mainstream media and press.

I was initially put off by the grammatical oversights that pop up every now and then, yet later figured that the book practically went from author's computer to the printing press. That's rare, considering the large publisher, yet considering the urgency of the material, I overlooked it. Again, the majority of the content outweighs aesthetic concerns.

Also, Duncan can be annoyingly redundant with many of his core points, which, coupled with the above complaint, gives the book's writing the sense that no one else really reviewed said text. Yet, again, the urgency of Duncan's arguments, that our current account and trade deficits are out of control, that foreign creditors are starting to show palpable concern, that current trends resemble past lead-ups to crashes while out-sizing them, amongst other points, mitigate such concerns.

The language he uses in describing his latter proposals is rushed and not as empirical as what he revealed earlier, yet his proposals are bold enough to warrant attention. If the reader wholly disagrees with his proposals regarding how to confront and treat our Himalayan-sized global money imbalances, at least the reader has a sober, solid foundation after the first 3/4s of the book for trying to arrive at their own proposal(s).

Great book, generally. The type of text that should be required reading at the *high school* level nowadays (yes, indeed, raise the bar...considering what future generations must contend with, debt-wise). ... Read more

10. American Economic History (6th Edition)
by Jonathan Hughes, Louis P. Cain
list price: $121.67
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Asin: 0321088220
Catlog: Book (2002-07-17)
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Sales Rank: 259126
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11. The Piratization of Russia: Russian Reform Goes Awry
by Marshall I. Goldman
list price: $29.95
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Asin: 0415315298
Catlog: Book (2003-04-10)
Publisher: Routledge
Sales Rank: 83387
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1991, a small group of Russians emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union claiming ownership some of the most valuable petroleum, natural gas and metal deposits in the world. By 1997, five of those individuals were on Forbes Magazine's list of the world's richest billionaires. These self-styled oligarchs were accused of using guile, intimidation, and occasionally violence to reap these rewards. This revelatory work examines the structure of the Russian economy and considers why it collapsed in 1998 and why it began its recovery in 1999. It also provides a close examination of the Russian oil industry and the oligarchs who control it and who have now decided to go "legitimate". ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars How The Russian Mafia Destroyed Russia
I first became acquainted with this work through an NPR interview. The author, Marshall Goldman, was suddenly asked by the reviewer what he thought about top Mafia thug Mikhail Khodorkovsky giving a million dollars to the Library of Congress (as a means of legitimizing himself). Naturally, as I work at the Library of Congress, I perked up, paid attention, and then bought the book. Wow.

Khodorkovsky (currently in jail) started out as a good little communist, belonging to the Komsomol, and going to college. Johnny on the spot, he parlayed a small bank charter for
Menatep to become Russia's richest man. Unfortunately, Menatep was involved in the Bank of New York money laundering scheme, bilking the US out of billions. In 1994, the Federal Reserve ordered the CIA to investigate Russian banks, a study which concluded most Russian banks are Mafia controlled. Although the study is still classified, Menatep was the only bank publicly noted for being Mafia controlled (page148). Knodorkovsky started Yukos Oil, which was a swindle. Using this money, Khodorkovsky, with Henry Kissinger as a member of his board, gave one million dollars to the Library of Congress to start the Open Russia Foundation (page 149).

Another Library of Congress rent-a-thug was Vladimir Gusinsky. Gusinsky predated Khodorkovsky--probably because he's currently on the lam--and had helped fund the Librarian of Congress' Russia documentary film. Gusinsky had actually attended the University of Virginia to study financial management. He named his business empire MOST (a play on the word bridge)after the sign on ATM machines. Goldman also provides us with the "how" of how these two Mafia "oligarchs" could seem presentable given their backgrounds. Somebody got them the services of APCO, which is an offshoot of Arnold and Porter, a top DC law firm full of congressmen and other movers and shakers (page 129). The rest is history, as they say.

I also just have to mention one of the Russian jokes that Goldman repeats. Due to broad government theft this one circulated: A man parked under Yeltsin's office and walked away. A guard rushed up and said "You can't park under Yeltsin's office." "It's okay, the man replied, "I locked the car."

Goldman gives us the backgrounds and histories of all the top "oligarchs" and an explanation any layman can understand regarding just how Russia became so corrupted. This book, then, is not just for Library of Congress employees looking to see who the latest donors to our institution are.

Our Librarian of Congress, James Billington, is a former Sovietologist and "Russian scholar," so I suppose he knows what he is doing. Here is what Goldman thinks, though, "The more involved Russian businessmen become with the West, the more likely it is that they will come to adopt Western business practices, presumably good ones. But there is no guarantee. Given how deeply ingrained some of the less desirable practices are among Russian administrators (past and present) it is only to be expected that some of the more nefarious behaviour we have encountered inside Russia will also surface outside (page 118)."

5-0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Must Read
I was first drawn to this book after hearing the author interviewed. He was talking about his book when he was interrupted and the interviewer asked Marshall Goldman about Russian Mafia PR campaign on US government officials.(...)In the book there is a brief mention of this fact on page 149, "To show how public-spirited YUKOS [the Mafia-run oil giant] had become, it donated $1 million to the U.S. Library of Congress and set up an Open Russia Foundation with, among others, Henry Kissinger as a member of the board of trustees." It was James Billington, the current Librarian of Congress and former "Sovietologist" professor who brought them all together. Wow.

This book is not just about the Mafia figure, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who ownes YUKOS. What sets Goldman's book apart from others I have read, such as "Comrade Criminal," is the description of what went wrong in Russia when the Soviet Union fell. Dr. Goldman paints a rather bleak picture. Goldman explains the how and why of the vouchers scam and how out of Russia, a certain overnight class of incredibly rich "oligarchs" came on the scene. Goldman shows how these billionaires never developed an economy, at one point contrasting how in Poland the problems that occured in Russia never arose.

If you want to lose sleep you need to read this book as the inroads of Russian Mafia-controlled in America should cause real alarm. As cited on page 118, "The Russian were supposed to adopt out ways, not bring their ways to the United States." Congress is well aware of all this, as on page 128 Goldman relates how the CIA reported that half of Russia's banks were Mafia controlled. The only bank to be so named publicly is MENATEP (page 148). The man the Librarian of Congress brought to the Library of Congress was not just the founder of MENATEP, but also involved in the Bank of New York money laundering.

The two chapters on the oligarchs (pages 98-156)make for heavy reading, especially since two of the oligarchs are (now were) directly involved with the Library of Congress, Vladimir Gussinsky (who fled Russia) and Khodorkovsky (arrested in his jet and currently in jail in Russia). Goldman really gives you the average Russian viewpoint of these oligarchs and the Putin reactions. That the oligarchs are intertwined with the KGB and the fact that the Russian government is predominated by KGB types is described by Goldman. His repeating of jokes really gives the feel, like the one about the subway rider who asks the man standing on his foot if he is from Petersburg (Mafia central) or the KGB. When the man says neither, he is then asked "then why are you standing on my foot?" The other great joke describes the outright theft of the country through the story of the man who parks his car under the window of Yeltsin's office. You can't park under Yeltsin's office the guard says, which the man responds "It's okay, I locked my car."

It is all this together than makes this book a classic.(...)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book on the topic
I have read many books on the transfer of the USSR state economy to private hands and this is, by far, the best and clearest on the topic. If one has to read just one account, this is it.

Since this is one of the great economic changes of the 20th century, and robbery on a scale that has few if any precedents, Goldman's book is very valuable and important. He is candid about the monumental errors his colleagues made as advisers (ignoring those who dipped into the honey pot and made, by professorial standards, fortunes). He has interviewed countless people and made the arcane clear. Authoritative, well-written, an excellent piece of work. ... Read more

12. International Economics (3rd Edition) (Addison-Wesley Series in Economics)
by James Gerber
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Asin: 032123796X
Catlog: Book (2004-04-28)
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Sales Rank: 189957
Average Customer Review: 2 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not that great
I read this book for an international studies class, but as an econ minor, i was really dissapointed. the book is targeted towards non-econ majors, i think, but it ended up just confusing most of my friends in the class who had no econ background. however, i did okay, not becuase of this book, but because of my own econ background that allowed me to fill in the gaps and understand the confusing explenations and definitions used in this book. there are better ways to say what gerber tried to say, in my opinion, so i would not recomend this book very highly. although it was decent, it could have been much better. ... Read more

13. Running on Empty : How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
by Peter G. Peterson
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Asin: 0312424620
Catlog: Book (2005-06-04)
Publisher: Picador
Sales Rank: 274537
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Book Description

When Bush came to office in 2001, the 10-year budget balance was officially projected to be at a surplus of $5.6 trillion. But after three big tax cuts, the bursting of the stock-market bubble, and the devastating effects of 9/11on the economy, the surplus has evaporated, and the deficit is expected to grow to $ 5-trillion over the next decade.The domestic deficit is only the half of it.Given our $500 billion trade deficit and our anemic savings rate, we depend on an unprecedented $2 billion of foreign capital every working day.If foreign confidence were to wane, this could lead to the dreaded hard landing.

Peter G. Peterson--a lifelong Republican, chairman of the Blackstone Group, and former secretary of commerce under Nixon--shatters the myths with hard facts and a harrowing view of the twin deficit's real impact. Republicans and Democrats alike have mortgaged America's future through reckless tax cuts, out-of-control spending and Enron-style accounting in Congress. And the situation will only get worse as the Baby Boom generation begins to retire, making unprecedented demands on entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. Despite what Bush says, we are on a path thatcould end in economic meltdown, and we simply cannot grow out of the deficit.

In Running On Empty, Peterson sounds the warning bell and prescribes a set of detailed solutions which, if implemented early, will prevent the need for draconian measures later. He takes us behind the politicians' smoke-and-mirror games, and forcefully explains what we must do to rescue the future of our country.
... Read more

14. The Communist Manifesto
by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels
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Asin: 0451527100
Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
Publisher: Signet Classics
Sales Rank: 2235
Average Customer Review: 3.51 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A modern edition on the 150th anniversary of the Manifesto. The Communist Manifesto, drafted on the eve of the 1848 revolutions, is the most brilliant and incisive political text ever written; a work of great literary power as well as historical insight. Eric Hobsbawm, whose writing has brilliantly described the century and a half of history that has been both shaped and illuminated by the Manifesto, presents it here. As the "age of extremes" draws to an end and capitalism seems everywhere to be triumphant, as it did one hundred and fifty years ago, Eric Hobsbawm critically appraises a work which, he argues, is now more timely than ever. Hobsbawm notes the curious fact that the Manifesto remained a subterranean text for many decades and did not circulate on a mass scale, or achieve a canonical status, until comparatively recently. He argues that only the complete unfolding of capitalism on a global scale in recent times allows us to take the full measure of Marx and Engels's truly astounding mixture of passion, science and poetry. ... Read more

Reviews (192)

2-0 out of 5 stars Empty promises
As one familiar with the principles of communism but unclear on Marx's continued relevance after communism's collapse,The "Communist Manifesto" seemed like an ideal read, and it is certainly a work of art. Karl Marx crtiques capitalism like no one before him; he even offers up a firm event timeline for those interested in watching knowledgably as the capitalist system inevitably self-destructs. Unfortunately, Marx's predictions have not actually occured. How does Marx account for the dominance of today's middle class? Where is the declining rate of profit? Why do liberal democracies respect human rights, when communist ones do not? Rather than simply poking holes in Marx's arguments, and without even touching on the fact that communism has failed miserably (millions killed, millions more plunged into poverty), I wish to point out the Communist Manifesto's fatal flaw: Marx never takes the time to explain how communism is actually supposed to work. This is why it is so easy to dismiss every form of communism that has ever been put into practice (and thus failed) as un-true to Marx's central ideas. It is up to the reader to infer how communism should be actually practised simply by excluding the concepts that Marx deplored: Private ownership, "exploitation", and so on. As any intelligent person will infer, this book is no manifesto, it is an attack on the ideas of others. For those intersted in intelligent suggestions on how the world should conduct its complex affairs, I suggest Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations". If however, one is more interested in vague predictions and guidelines on avoiding the problems of man, the Bible or the Qu'ran would certainly offer more clarity. If Christianity, Judaism, or Islam are not your thing, feel free to pick up the "Communist Manifesto" and join the rest of Marx's followers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, regardless of your stance on communism
This is a book that definitely deserves to be read. Marx's examination of a modern bourgeois society and its historically inevitable change from capitalism to communism will illicit much praise from some readers and harsh repudiation from others. The reason it desrves to be read rests in the conflict of opinion. The fact a book like this, whether enjoyed or detested, can affirm one's own beliefs so strongly for or against communism shows it does have an intriguing power. Just look at all the conflicting reviews below. We have, on one side, people saying that the reason communism hasn't worked so far is because there has been no real communist societies while, on the other side, we have people saying these "unreal" communist societies that become totalitarian are the direct by product of attempting to implement communism, ergo communism cannot work. I find that this heated debate becomes the reason one should at least read Marx's work. It does develop and mold one's belief systems in some way and any book that powerful is deserving of readership. "The Communist Manifesto" and the ideas expressed within are things you won't forget... whether you like it or not.

1-0 out of 5 stars This Book is what Killed 90 MILLION people Worldwide
This book started communism. Communism is responsible for 90 MILLION deaths world-wide. Now, how can this book have such a high Amazon rating? It is beyond me. Shows how stupid people can be. Communism doesn't work, and it is not a fair way of living. So, don't buy this book. And if you do, don't forget that you are being brainwashed. Remember the 90 million dead as you read this. I mean, 30-40 million in China, 30 million in Russia, and more in other countries. That's how many communism has killed. And people say Hitler was a bad man!

1-0 out of 5 stars stupidity or complete ignorance
I was born and raised in Ukraine and lived in US for the last ten years. I was absolutely shocked to find many people(democrats, that is)in this country who hate their presidents(other than Al Gore and Bill Clinton, of course, who could do no wrong, never mind giving nuclear technology to North Korea), hate their military, hate their country, think terrorist attacks are this country's fault and capitalism is the root of all evil. However, everyone who advocates communism grew up in a middle class homes, never went hungry and were never threatened with death for expressing their views. Most of my russian and ukrainian friends laugh themselves silly at the democrats's views because they are so ridiculous. Why don't everyone who gives this book 5 stars move to North Korea or Cuba and decide how they like being sent to concentration camps, tortured and starved to death. I'm sure there will be no volunteers.

4-0 out of 5 stars Must read - know thine enemy
I highly recommend that anyone interested in world development read this book. Personally, I feel Communism poses the greatest threat this world has ever seen - recommending a charge toward soul-draining anarchy. However, in and of itself the book is valuable as an illustration of that map toward terror.

Marx may indeed have been an eloquent and convincing speaker. These qualities come across in this work. But what is valuable to notice in actually reading this doctrine is that while Marx's grande plan for overturning the world and securing a new order, nowhere in the document is the future discussed. Repercussions, consequences, any vision regarding "what happens next" is absent. This key fact is what should be noted. By noting this element of the doomed-to-fail ideology, future generations can avoid being fooled by "brave words," as Marx indeed cites of his very enemies.

This book should be read. For, only by knowing thine enemy can that enemy be utterly defeated. ... Read more

15. And The Money Kept Rolling In
by Paul Blustein
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Asin: 1586482459
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Sales Rank: 905635
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Book Description

The dramatic, definitive account of the most spectacular economic meltdown of modern times exposes the dangerous flaws of our global financial system.

In the 1990s, few countries were more lionized than Argentina for its efforts to join the club of wealthy nations. Argentina's policies drew enthusiastic applause from the IMF, the World Bank and Wall Street. But the club has a disturbing propensity to turn its back on arrivistes and cast them out. That was what happened in 2001, when Argentina suffered one of the most spectacular crashes in modern history. With it came appalling social and political chaos, a collapse of the peso, and a wrenching downturn that threw millions into poverty and left nearly one quarter of the workforce unemployed.

Paul Blustein, whose book about the IMF, The Chastening, was called "gripping, often frightening" by The Economist and lauded by the Wall Street Journal as "a superbly reported and skillfully woven story," now gets right inside Argentina's rise and fall in a dramatic account based on hundreds of interviews with top policymakers and financial market players as well as reams of internal documents. He shows how the IMF turned a blind eye to the vulnerabilities of its star pupil, and exposes the conduct of global financial market players in Argentina as redolent of the scandals-like those at Enron, WorldCom and Global Crossing- that rocked Wall Street in recent years. By going behind the scenes of Argentina's debacle, Blustein shows with unmistakable clarity how sadly elusive the path of hope and progress remains to the great bulk of humanity still mired in poverty and underdevelopment. ... Read more

16. Microeconomic Theory: Basic Principles and Extensions
by Walter Nicholson
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Asin: 0030335930
Catlog: Book (2001-10-26)
Publisher: South-Western College Pub
Sales Rank: 107153
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Applauded for providing the most clear and accurate presentation of advanced microeconomic concepts, Walter Nicholson brings us Microeconomic Theory: Basic Principles and Extensions, 8e . It gives readers the opportunity to work directly with theoretical tools, real-world applications, and cutting edge developments in the study of microeconomics. Reviewers exclaim, "Nicholsons text is solid, rigorous and comprehensive. It is sensibly challenging for students, best serving students with a mathematics background, and absolutely essential for those who are preparing for graduate studies in economics." ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Intermediate Book on the Market
This is the book you should purchase to learn classical intermediate economics if you plan to go to graduate school in economics. You will need calculus, but if you want to learn 'real' microeconomics, calculus is indispensable. Competing texts are too mathematically infantile to be of much use. This text is very worthwhile for self-study because solutions are given to half of the end-of-the-chapter problems.

A relatively mathematically sophisticated student should be able to go through the book on their own. After you've done this, you will be well on your way to possessing the 'intuition' as well as the 'basic' mathematical underpinnings needed at the graduate level.

As others have mentioned, the book is relatively light on game theory. Other texts will be necessary (Binmore, etc.) for learning this topic at the advanced undergraduate level.

5-0 out of 5 stars an excellent intermediate book
This is a very good book for someone that wants a thorough understanding of intermediate level micro. It presents economics at a level in between Hal Varian's Intermediate Micro, and the far more advanced book by Mas-Colell. It gives a clear introduction to economics using calculus and, unlike other books, Nicholson covers second derivate conditions. This provides additional inights that help understand the more technical Mas-Colell.
Also, the type set and fonts are eye-friendly, and Nicholson is a master at explaning economics in a way that helps you learn it. I recommend this book for the serious student who wants to get ready for graduate level microeconomics courses. By serious, I do not mean only students that are majoring in economics, but also any other student who really wants to learn microeconomics.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best!
At the first glance, this book is elegantly laidout, but mathematically "inadequate". However when you really read it, you find the author is a master in explaining very complicated concepts in an easy way. I am a PhD student, but I learned "economics" from this book. The textbook by Mas-Colell that our professor chose was a disaster. That book was heavy, stinky, and the authors did a bad job in explaining even the simplest ideas. I decided to use the Nicholson's book and understand everything and (only) this book made me love microeconomics.

Lots of economists like to show off their math skills and like to show what a "rocket science" their field (economics) is by applying weird notations and "bad" English. Therefore, they intentionally make simple (maybe sometimes profound) ideas appear as complicate as they can be. Once you waste 1 day's time and undertsand the idea, you yell to yourself, "what a simple thing!". My experience is, spending 3 day's on Mas-Collel's book, I understand a thing, but it only requires 30 minutes if you use Nicholson's book.

I was a physicist before persuing economics. In physics, we regard a good scholar (or someone who really understands what he is talking about) as someone who can explain difficult stuff in easy ways. Otherwise we dont think too much of him/her. In this sense, Nicholson (maybe Varian too) is truly a scientist, a great scholarly master. I am using these great terms because I am very grateful to the author since I truly learned stuff from it and it saved me from the great disappointment in microeconomics inflicted by Mas-Collel's book.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good book but needs improving
A good textbook providing sufficient coverage of microeconomics with mathematical details. In this edition, it adds some matrix algebra as an extends. However, it seems to be inadequate. And I hope the future edition should includes more and more mathematical technique similar to the Eugene Silberberg's (The Structure of Economics).

5-0 out of 5 stars An everyday book for an economist
When you joined the economics school, and later on, you realized that there are books that you'll use it forever. One of them is Nicholson; used in Canada, US, England, Mexico, etc. is a book that will build up mathematic economists with strong theoretic background. I really enjoyed this book and this course. Thumb up for the book. Thumb down for the price. ... Read more

17. Myths About Doing Business in China
by Harold Chee, Chris West
list price: $42.00
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Asin: 140394458X
Catlog: Book (2005-03-02)
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Sales Rank: 180973
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18. Colossus: The Price of America's Empire
by Niall Ferguson
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Asin: 1594200130
Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 2924
Average Customer Review: 3.62 out of 5 stars
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"The United States today is an empire—but a peculiar kind of empire," writes Niall Ferguson. Despite overwhelming military, economic, and cultural dominance, America has had a difficult time imposing its will on other nations, mostly because the country is uncomfortable with imperialism and thus unable to use this power most effectively and decisively. The origin of this attitude and its persistence is a principal theme of this thought-provoking book, including how domestic politics affects foreign policy, whether it is politicians worried about the next election or citizens who "like Social Security more than national security." Ferguson, a British historian, has no objection to an American empire, as long as it is a liberal one actively underwriting the free exchange of goods, labor, and capital. Further, he writes that "empire is more necessary in the twenty-first century than ever before" as a means to "contain epidemics, depose tyrants, end local wars and eradicate terrorist organizations." The sooner America embraces this role and acts on it confidently, the better. Ferguson contrasts this persistent anti-imperialistic urge with the attitude held by the British Empire and suggests that America has much to learn from that model if it is to achieve its stated foreign policy objectives of spreading social freedom, democracy, development, and the free market to the world. He suggests that the U.S. must be willing to send money, civilians, and troops for a sustained period of time to troubled spots if there is to be real change—as in Japan and Germany after World War II--an idea that many American citizens and leaders now find repulsive. Rather than devoting limited resources and striving to get complex jobs done in a rush, Americans must be willing to integrate themselves into a foreign culture until a full Americanization has occurred, he writes. Overall, a trenchant examination of a uniquely American dilemma and its implications for the rest of the world. --Shawn Carkonen ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars He Brings Clarity to the Issues: USA Reluctant Imperialist
This is a compelling and worthwhile read. It is not an "anti-US" book, but provides constructive analysis of foreign policy. Niall Ferguson is a professor at NYU plus a fellow at Oxford and the Stanford Hoover Institution. He has authored six other books on politics, history, and economics. In this book he attempts to bring together economic data, history, and political concepts to prove some points about the role of "empires" in the spreading of economic and political benefits.

One of his main points concerns the success of past empires such as the British Empire in the spread of democratic institutions, democratic ideals, trade, investment, and economic growth. The British Empire was in fact a vehicle that spread positive economic and social development across the globe. It provided a political and economic framework for the development of many countries and regions. When there was de-colonization, some of the poorer countries that were not yet self sufficient failed to sustain develop on their own and have remained mired in war, disease, etc. and run by various undemocratic repressive regimes. These states - some even with the benefit of oil wealth - among others are now "failed states" and are problematic to themselves and other world citizens.

The author claims that the UN is really quite a small and an ineffective political institution having a budget of less than 0.1% of the US federal government. It is not an institution (yet) where we can solve the world's problems. The US on the other hand, although far larger than any other country economically and militarily, is caught in an imperialistic ambivalence in which the US can perceive injustices and can in fact invade countries with overwhelming military force, but then lacks the ability to remain focused for any length of time once the war is over. Once the quick military victory is won, it wants to bring the troops home and in general it fails to follow through. The invaded country is not left in a state of political equilibrium or economic self sufficiency. Lacking the needed stability and permanent reform, such countries remain problem "failed states" - like Afghanistan.

He claims that the US is an imperialistic nation but is in a state of self denial. Even though the rest of the world views the US as imperialistic, the US itself fails to grasp or wants to avoid that concept because of the potential negative self image connotations. So the US remains ambivalent and confused in its foreign policy, and according to the author lacks the ability to carry out comprehensive and coherent foreign policy. Symptomatic of that is the concept of a limited war - sending for example 250,000 troops to Iraq when the generals said send 500,000 (my figures). Also he thinks that US suffers from an "attention deficit" syndrome, plus self doubts, internal confusion, and looks for quick military solutions. It remains largely fearful of any long term conflict that produces American casualties similar to Vietnam. Conflicts that produce casualties - be they peace keeping or otherwise - quickly loose US domestic public support. The author claims that the American political leadership has been reluctant to make a case for sustained foreign involvement - often not finishing an engagement - even though a greater effort is often needed to solve the problem and reverse the fortunes of many "failed states".

The US administration says that it is not in the business of nation building, but according to the author a long term investment in many countries is in fact that is the only way to solve the problems in a more permanent fashion (as we did in Germany and Japan).

This is a very well written book with lots of facts and figures. It tends to pull together a lot of nebulous concepts and bring them into focus. Highly recommend. I found it to be a compelling read. Five stars.

Jack in Toronto

5-0 out of 5 stars Post 9/11 "Guts," but does U.S. Have "Grit" to Finish Job?
Professor Ferguson argues that a liberal empire is required in today's world. His definition of liberal empire is one that has the self-interested motives of security and economic gain, while at the same time having the altruistic motives of instituting peace and order, the rule of law, noncorrupt administration, stable fiscal and monetary policies, etc., to the "colonies" it rules.

While the outcome is still uncertain, Professor Ferguson paints a bleak picture of America's ability as a liberal empire to "build" democratic governments on very short time frames. He points out that we Americans are good at implementing "regime change" (see the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq), but poorly suited at effective nation-building due to domestic and foreign political pressures to leave places like Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as possible, even if the proper institutions to effectively govern and induce foreign investment are not in place.

Thus, what the U.S. needs to do is stay (even if we say we are going to leave soon-e.g., the British empire model) in these young developing nations to ensure that the proper institutions are set up to foster economic, political, and cultural success.

Great book, and written in a mostly objective manner... I highly recommend it to anyone interested in history, economics, and foreign affairs.

1-0 out of 5 stars Author Discredits himself
The author claims that Palestinian terrorism in Israel is the result of Israel's failure to negotiate peace and instead make war on terrorism. He either intentionally or ignorantly omits a consideration of the fact that israel numerous times has offered peace to the Palestinians, and most recently offered to give the Palestinians it's entire infrastructure in Judea and Samaria and Gaza (i.e. all the housing, etc.). The result of that offer was the most recent intifada. You can't negotiate with an enemy who irrevocably wants to destroy you, or who in many cases sees your destruction as an end in itself.

Although the author writes with seeming intelligence and insight, his failure to acknowledge basic facts such as those I have presented above, discredits his own work. If he fails to inform his reader correctly on one issue, how can one know whether or not he falsly presents facts on other issues. I don't know whether or not to believe him.

Sometimes we believe people know what they are talking about because they write or speak well, not because what they have to say is true. I believe this is one of those cases.

5-0 out of 5 stars America, the indispensable but reluctant empire
"Colossus" is a typical Niall Ferguson book. It is provocative and contains fresh insights; it navigates with considerable ease between history, politics, and economics; and it is extremely well written, illuminating succinctly the author's thoughts and engaging the reader's interest.

Mr. Ferguson, formerly of Oxford and now a professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, writes to sketch out the reality of America's global position-to argue that, for all intents and purposes, America is an empire. Mr. Ferguson is not fundamentally opposed to empires-not because he likes foreign control but because he recognizes a benign type of liberal empire that can afford both the metropolis and periphery with benefits that independence cannot.

"Colossus" surveys various themes, beginning on whether America constitutes an empire (yes), then surveying America's ascent to its role as a global power, and finally gauging America's relation to multilateralism and its allies (American unilateralism, he argues, has more to do with the United Nations' overall failure to achieve certain objectives than with American instincts.)

But the real question is, what is the impact of this empire? Mr. Ferguson is enthusiastic about the prospect of a liberal empire, a position he bases on the record of decolonization; decolonization, he writes, was "an experiment to test the hypothesis that it was imperialism that caused both poverty and wars and that self-determination would ultimately pave the way to prosperity and peace. That hypothesis has been largely proven false."

For all his eagerness for America to play its role and underwrite the current wave of globalization, Mr. Ferguson is skeptical about America's ability to be an effective liberal empire. Empires, he argues, need to go places, learn their histories, and expend the money, manpower, and attention to get the job done. America's celebrated examples of nation-building-Germany and Japan-took years to complete; and both countries still retain American troop presences. All this is in contrast with America's appetite for an exit strategy from Iraq and Afghanistan.

In other words, America should be a global leader, but is unlikely to be an effective one, unless it undergoes a profound metamorphosis of the way it views its imperial role. America's looming economic liabilities are also going to alter America's budgetary orientation, possibly affecting its position as a superpower. Whether Mr. Ferguson is right in his predictions remains to be seen; but "Colossus" will surely stand out as one of the most authoritative and comprehensive reviews of America's role as an imperial power.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Intellectual Feast
This book is one of those precious works that goes in and re-arranges the brain cells, causing your perceptions of the world at large to be made sharper and clearer than they were before reading it. The author provides such a thoughtful and creative array of views on the subject of Empire, and America's role as an Empire, that my own perceptions of American influence in the world has undergone a complete overhaul. Even if you disagree with the author's points, as I did on many occasions, your own thinking on the subject will be made more structured and coherent as a result of being exposed to the author's revealing discussion.

It should be mentioned that Ferguson does not knee-jerkingly cast Empire in a negative light, as I believe its title mistakenly suggests he is going to do. He asserts that the kind of empire that America could be would be a good thing for the world, if America would but live up to that potential. His conclusions as to why and what will keep America from living up to that potential are both sobering and "hit the nail on the head" on target.

All of the simplistic criticisms of American power that litter the New Arrivals tables these days makes this book stand out as doubly worthwhile. Niall Ferguson's book provides a provocative education on a topic, American power and empire, that grows more important with every day. ... Read more

19. Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent
by Eduardo H. Galeano, Cedric Belfrage
list price: $17.95
our price: $17.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0853459916
Catlog: Book (1998-06-01)
Publisher: Monthly Review Press
Sales Rank: 64562
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fabulous!
This is a must for people who like to know the truth of what happened in Latin America over the centuries of European influence... and the truth isn't pretty. Eduardo Galeano doesn't blame the American people for all of Latin American problems and incredible corruption at government and management levels, he points out at the American governments and their foreign policy; the fact remains we, Latin Americans, have been invaded by American marines more than 200 times, and every single time it hasn't been to defend the people and democracy but to support right wing corrupted officials and capitalists. Take Chile for example, it was American dollars and American advisors which help orchestrating the criminal and totally anti-democratic coupe d'etat of 1973...

Eduardo Galeano is an excellent writer, and he has dedicated most of his life to put his writing at our service, so that we understand how we ended up in such mess and poverty having one of the richest continent on Earth.

I first read this book when I was 13, now I am 38 and came to your site because I would like to have an updated copy of this book for my children. I read the other comments made before mine and could not let the opportunity go to give people the other side of the coin...


PS: I live in Australia and this book is a text book for some of the courses run by Australian universities.

5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling, must read for us latinos
I really recommend this book; it opened my eyes to many aspects of Latin American History. Sure, it's not very pretty, but reality usually isn't. I think it's essential for every latino who wants to try to understand our past, present & future to read this book. I read it first in Spanish, just recently a bit of it in English; it reaffirmed my belief that it is best to read authors in their native language (when you can), or as the case may be, in the language the text was originally written. Mr. Belfrage did a good job, but some insights and terms were lost in his translation. Also, I read other customer reviews and it's interesting to note that the only two "bad" comments came from the united states, a place with a very warped view of Latin America.

1-0 out of 5 stars Facts are facts, but we cant blame others for out mistakes.
As a REAL LATINAMERICAN that was born and has lived in Latinamerica most of his life i have to say i disagree with this book. Yes facts are facts and the USA has intervened in latin america far too many times, but we cant blame them for our problems. Look at Cuba, after the early 1960's the USA has not intervened with Cuba and Fidel has been free to run "his" country, and look at what he has done, even after he received billions in money from the former USSR. Yet, who do we blame for Cuba being such a poor country?
I recommend reading "Fabricantes de Miseria" its a great and not one sided book about how everyone from wealthy bussiness families to unions and militaries have ruined latinamerica. Although i think that book is only in spanish.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic masterpiece
Eduardo Galeano's classic work serves as a testament to the world. His words resonate with all of us who have seen and felt the pillaging of Latin America first hand. The book writen in "90 nights," when Galeano was 31 years old meticulously illustrates how Europe and North America have raped, and exploited Latin America in their continued crusade for wealth. Galeano displays how the genocide of the Indigenous Americans and the enslavement of Africans created 'the foundation stone upon which the giant industrial capital of modern times was built'. Read this book and tell me that isn't true.

5-0 out of 5 stars open veins of Latin america
Great response, good condition and better than average service thank you ... Read more

20. The PRICE of GOVERNMENT: Getting the Results We Need in an Age of Permanent Fiscal Crisis
by David Osborne, Peter Hutchinson
list price: $25.00
our price: $15.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0465053637
Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 5089
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Government is broke.The 2004 federal deficit will be the highest in U.S. history. The states have suffered three years of record shortfalls. Cities, counties and school districts are laying off policemen and teachers, closing schools, and cutting services.Government leaders have patched together combinations of accounting gimmicks, on- time fixes, real cuts, and tax and fee increases to relieve the fiscal pain.But it won't go away.

Overall, American governments from the White House to City Hall are enduring theirworst fiscal crisis since World War II.But this time, the crisis will be permanent.On one side are skyrocketing costs for health care, Social Security and pensions.On the other is opposition to tax increases.In the face of this crisis the bankrupt ideologies of left and right offer little guidance. The Price of Government does.

Whereas Reinventing Government, David Osborne's 1992 New York Times bestseller, was a manifesto for change, The Price of Government is a clear, step-by-step roadmap for change, offering concrete solutions drawn from the authors' combined thirty years of experience leading and advising public institutions.The authors begin by describing a radically different approach to budgeting-one that focuses on buying results for citizens rather than cutting or adding to last year's spending programs.They go on to show how leaders can use consolidation, competition, customer choice, and a relentless focus on results to save millions while improving public services, at all levels of government.

These ideas have been put into practice successfully from schoolhouses to statehouses and from City Hall to the Pentagon. They are built on common sense, not ideology. The Price of Government will interest everyone who is concerned with how tax dollars are spent-and how to get the results we need at a price we're willing to pay. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Valuable, Depth, Practical
There is no question today that governments-at all levels-are in dire fiscal straits. Years of political maneuvering, wasteful spending, mismanagement, and an economic roller-coaster have taken their toll. While wonderful innovation has been seen in a number of government agencies at the federal, state, and local level, most have a very long way to go. The resistance to change must be overcome if we are to avoid widespread bankruptcy of the very organizations that we, as taxpayers and citizens, rely on for shared services and support. Change is a community effort, not just something to be delegated to a few elected or appointed officials. But the work to be done is akin to hugging a hippopotamus...especially if the animal doesn't want to be hugged!

The authors are consultants-which could be considered good news or bad news. In this case, it's good news. They are founder and senior partner of Public Strategies Group, a firm specializing in the field of improving government. Osborne is author of the best-seller, "Reinventing Government." These authors have the credentials that cry out how valuable their book might be.

The five sections of the book organize their huge volume of information, commentary, and advice: Smarter Budgeting, Smarter Sizing, Smarter Spending, Smarter Management, and Smarter Leadership. Through fifteen chapters the authors describe what's been happening, the impact, what changes could-or should-be made, and what benefits will result. There are no illustrations in this book-a few charts; it's straight text in page after intriguing page. Tremendous content that can be absorbed in a straight-through read or studied in a reference book fashion.

Community leaders will find an incredible amount of material to work with in these pages. The question is how many communities will have sufficiently strong and committed leadership-political and apolitical-to overcome the resistance of tradition and self-serving turf protection in order to bring about critically needed change. If you can build the community resources to make the needed improvements, this book will be a real treasure for exploring opportunities and finding wise solutions.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best management book this century
Takes Reinventing Government to the next level. Very readable yet provides specific directions on how to apply total quality management and performance management to create public organizations that function efficiently and develop public budgets that lead to results valued by citizens.

The best management book I have read this century. Recipes for successful public management.

5-0 out of 5 stars A blueprint for better government
This book is about our future--the one we can have if we choose the difficult path of dramatic change. The authors present a convincing argument that we don't have to choose between higher taxes or service cuts. There are great opportunities for getting more from government services with the taxes we are willing to pay. The authors lay out a blueprint for pursuing those opportunities starting by radically changing the way governments do budgeting. The success stories are compelling. This is stimulating reading to anyone interested in getting better results for the dollar. I loved the chapter on politics and the argument for leading from the radical center. ... Read more

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