Global Shopping Center
UK | Germany
Home - Books - Business & Investing - Economics - Economic Policy & Development Help

1-20 of 200       1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   Next 20

click price to see details     click image to enlarge     click link to go to the store

$17.16 list($26.00)
1. China, Inc. : How the Rise of
$18.45 $17.32 list($27.95)
2. The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities
$125.40 $44.60
3. Economic Development (8th Edition)
$12.56 $5.99 list($17.95)
4. The Innovator's Dilemma
$16.97 $15.93 list($24.95)
5. Mr. China : A Memoir
$19.77 $19.72 list($29.95)
6. Death by a Thousand Cuts : The
$19.80 $14.00 list($30.00)
7. Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond
$16.32 $13.74 list($24.00)
8. Running On Empty: How The Democratic
$19.80 $18.99 list($30.00)
9. Why Globalization Works
$29.95 $22.75
10. The Piratization of Russia: Russian
$19.77 $16.95 list($29.95)
11. The World's Banker: A Story of
$12.21 $6.39 list($17.95)
12. Natural Capitalism: Creating the
$18.45 $16.00 list($27.95)
13. A Call to Action
$122.75 $61.54 list($136.35)
14. Economics of the Public Sector:
$125.00 $49.98
15. Economics of Development, Fifth
$124.95 $78.99
16. Health Economics and Policy with
$11.20 $8.77 list($14.00)
17. The End of Oil : On the Edge of
$17.79 $12.70 list($26.95)
18. Three Billion New Capitalists:
$66.30 $45.49 list($78.00)
19. Economics of Regulation and Antitrust
$22.05 $6.00 list($35.00)
20. In an Uncertain World: Tough Choices

1. China, Inc. : How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World
by Ted C. Fishman
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743257529
Catlog: Book (2005-02-08)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 476175
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

2. The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time
by JeffreySachs
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594200459
Catlog: Book (2005-03-15)
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The
Sales Rank: 123
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

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

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

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

Reviews (14)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Economic Development (8th Edition)
by Michael P. Todaro, Stephen C. Smith
list price: $125.40
our price: $125.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0201770512
Catlog: Book (2002-07-17)
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Sales Rank: 165614
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

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

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

Reviews (5)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. The Innovator's Dilemma
by Clayton M. Christensen
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060521996
Catlog: Book (2003-01)
Publisher: HarperBusiness
Sales Rank: 2373
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

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

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

... Read more

Reviews (125)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read this before you read the Innovators Solution.

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

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

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

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

Book Description

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

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

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

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

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

... Read more

Reviews (20)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the whole, this is book worth your time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TMR ... Read more

6. Death by a Thousand Cuts : The Fight over Taxing Inherited Wealth
by Michael J. Graetz, Ian Shapiro
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691122938
Catlog: Book (2005-02-14)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 16399
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

This fast-paced book by Yale professors Michael Graetz and Ian Shapiro unravels the following mystery: How is it that the estate tax, which has been on the books continuously since 1916 and is paid by only the wealthiest two percent of Americans, was repealed in 2001 with broad bipartisan support? The mystery is all the more striking because the repeal was not done in the dead of night, like a congressional pay raise. It came at the end of a multiyear populist campaign launched by a few individuals, and was heralded by its supporters as a signal achievement for Americans who are committed to the work ethic and the American Dream.

Graetz and Shapiro conducted wide-ranging interviews with the relevant players: members of congress, senators, staffers from the key committees and the Bush White House, civil servants, think tank and interest group representatives, and many others. The result is a unique portrait of American politics as viewed through the lens of the death tax repeal saga. Graetz and Shapiro brilliantly illuminate the repeal campaign's many fascinating and unexpected turns--particularly the odd end result whereby the repeal is slated to self-destruct a decade after its passage. They show that the stakes in this fight are exceedingly high; the very survival of the long standing American consensus on progressive taxation is being threatened.

Graetz and Shapiro's rich narrative reads more like a political drama than a conventional work of scholarship. Yet every page is suffused by their intimate knowledge of the history of the tax code, the transformation of American conservatism over the past three decades, and the wider political implications of battles over tax policy.

... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books on how Washington D.C. works today
Right off, let me say that this is one of the best books written about how politicians in Washington D.C. respond to certain constituents when promoting or opposing changes in the tax law.Before your eyes glaze over and you think that this book is for tax experts, I assure that it is not.The authors are wonderful writers and focus on the people behind the drive to repeal the inheritance tax.Thus, it is more about personalities, personal stories, and ideology and how these are used to enact changes in the tax code, than about taxes on inherited wealth per se.Graetz and Shapiro attempt to solve several "mysteries" in this book.First, how did a tax on inherited wealth, which existed for over 60 years and was seen as appropriate, come to be viewed by many Americans as unjust and immoral? Second, how did the diverse coalition attempting to abolish the inheritance tax maintain their cohesiveness when compromise counteroffers should have weakened it?Third, why were groups who favored maintaining the inheritance tax so ineffectual when responding to the abolitionists?Finally, what does the fight over the estate tax tell us about the future of progressive taxation, the idea that those with greater resources should pay higher tax rates?The story Graetz and Shapiro tell should give great comfort to those who want government at all levels to be as small and powerless as possible, and cause great concern to progressive, like myself, who wish to see government programs in service to the majority of working people, rather than in service to the wealthy and powerful.No matter which side of the ideological debate you are on, this book is a wonderful read and I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Graetz and Shapiro's book is a must-read.
Graetz and Shapiro's book DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS is a must-read for anyone interested in national tax policy.Graetz and Shapiro write well and the story is fascinating and timely.

5-0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for all Registered Voters
A friend gave me a copy of this book; and, therefore, I felt duty-bound to give it a try despite the fact that I never read books pertaining to politics.After struggling through the first few pages, I becaame facinated.It is not a book about estate taxes.Rather, it is a book about how our government works (or does not work).Every registered voter should be required to read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent of the Conservative Playbook
This is an immensely readable, highly educational book.It details how conservatives went after one of the most progressive taxes in our system and successfully got it eliminated.It also details the power of the conservative ideas machinery and how it works in Washington to get what it wants.For those who care about how badly the system is broken -- how the concerns of the few trump the concerns of the many on daily basis in Washington -- this is an excellent book.And most importantly, it exposes how the conservatives are moving the tax system away from wealth to work -- away from the rich to the middle class.That should be a concern to most Americans.I highly recommend the book; most people will be surprised how enjoyable it is as a read. ... Read more

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

Book Description

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

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

Reviews (16)

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

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

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

Michael Gordon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Running On Empty: How The Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
by Peter G. Peterson
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374252874
Catlog: Book (2004-07-14)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 531
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

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

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Thought-Provoking Book About Our Current Dilemma!
Over the last several years, former Secretary Of Commerce Pete Petersen has become something of a cottage industry in and of himself, writing several books, appearing as a pundit on talk shows, and acting as chairperson for both the Blackstone Group and the prestigious Council for Foreign Relations (CFR). Here he continues the caustic warnings he first articulated in "Gray Dawn", a polemic ranting against the potentially devastating consequences of the graying of the American population and the stress this demographic factor would have on growing federal deficits, the aging population itself, and on the national debt. He amplifies those warnings by making a rather alarming set of observations as to the consequences of the reckless and foolhardy policies of the current federal government, policies that combine the worst elements of supply side 'voodoo economics' with continued growth in federal entitlement programs.

The mix, Mr. Petersen argues, may become a disastrous witch's brew with catastrophic results both for the domestic economy and the continued well-being of the American people. He saves his most strident criticism for the style of morally questionable leadership currently in vogue, a reckless world view that seems to shamelessly trade immediate and permanent tax cuts for the very wealthy for a mounting tidal wave of debt for our children and their heirs. In detailing his grievances with current policies, Petersen cites a series of common partisan myths, including the notion that the majority of the elderly are poor, that more elderly than children are poor, that Americans are over-taxed, that providing tax cuts for the rich can successfully shrink government, and that imposing so-called "means-testing" for federal benefits will be catastrophic for the needy.

The author places the majority of the blame for our current set of problems upon the shoulders of a variety of forces within contemporary society, from interest groups and their lobbies to an almost pathological concern with short-term results, to the cult of individualism we all seem to suffer from, and, of course, to generational change. He views a number of strategies as potentially helpful in abating the negative set of circumstances we are ensconced in; indexing social security benefits to prices rather than wages, extending health care to all using the plan offered to federal employees as a model, and forcing Congress to include unfunded retirement obligations in the balance sheet (thus ending the thirty five year old sham of never mentioning to the American people the reason we have such a serious shortfall in social security funds in the out-years is because the federal government has consistently and quite deliberately violated the provisions of the Social Security law by spending the extra funds collected every year rather than investing them in accordance with federal law and allowing the investment income to grow). This is an interesting and thought-provoking read, and one that is sure to be the topic of continuing debate. Enjoy

5-0 out of 5 stars Holy Cow! "Insider" Speaks Truth, Tars Both Parties

This extraordinary book should be read in tandem with Lewis H. Lapham's "Gag Rule" and perhaps also William Greider's "The Soul of Capitalism" as well as Jonathan Schell's "Unconquerable World."

I find it extraordinary to have the Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, which I have always considered to be an old man's club of established elites, largely out of touch with 80% of the real world (that is to say, the 80% that has almost nothing in the way of wealth, health, or rights), step up to the plate and speak truth.

This book addresses the second core issue in America's future, i.e. the twin deficits that are not only going to kill the business of America, but also deprive the children of America of their future. (Lapham addresses the first: restoration of honest democracy). In combination, the $7 trillion deficit in federal spending, and the $500 billion a year trade deficit, with roughly $2 billion in foreign loans being required every single day to keep America afloat, both suggest that we are snorting political cocaine and every one of us is a damn fool for allowing two political parties to get away with selling us down the river.

As the author points out in the Preface, when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cautions its own master, the USA, that it is in danger of becoming an insolvent Third World country, running up bills that "would require an immediate and permanent 60 percent hike in the federal income tax, or a 50 percent cut in Social Security and Medicare benefits," we cannot say we have not been warned.

The author is balanced, focused, deliberative, and earnest. He carefully explains how both the "mainstream" political parties have completely abdicated all responsibility, and completely betrayed the public interest in their eagerness to sell legislation to the highest corporate bidders.

There is one grievous flaw in the book. In concluding that we can only survive by educating ourselves and then finding our voice, the author neglects to address the fast means of achieving short-term fiscal recovery in tandem with campaign finance and electoral reform: the elimination of subsidies, tax fraud, and tax relief for corporations. We have close to a trillion in unwarranted and unsound subsidies to poor agricultural, fisheries, forestry, and minerals programs where every dollar in subsidy is yielding high long-term costs to the taxpayer citizen; we have over $50 billion a year in documented import-export tax fraud ($25 rocket engines going out, $3000 toothbrushes coming in--advanced money laundering and tax avoidance); finally, the corporate share of federal tax revenue has dropped from 32% to 6% in the past twenty years, with corporations like Halliburton paying $15M in taxes on billions in profit--easy to fix: pay taxes on the profit declared to the stockholders.

This is a serious and important book, and it also helps explain why the election of 2004 does not really offer America any choices. Both candidates are from Yale's Skull and Bones, and neither of them is likely to confront the Wall Street elite and betray their secret society. As the author points out, both Democrats and Republicans have betrayed the people of America--the individual voter-constituents, and absent a popular revolt that demands a coalition government committed to electoral and campaign finance reform, I see nothing but trouble ahead as the America Republic continues to fail, and the American charade grows in its dangerous totalitarian and elitist manifestation. ... Read more

9. Why Globalization Works
by Martin Wolf
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0300102526
Catlog: Book (2004-06-01)
Publisher: Yale University Press
Sales Rank: 2113
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

10. The Piratization of Russia: Russian Reform Goes Awry
by Marshall I. Goldman
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0415315298
Catlog: Book (2003-04-10)
Publisher: Routledge
Sales Rank: 83387
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

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

11. The World's Banker: A Story of Failed States, Financial Crises, and The Wealth and Poverty of Nations (Council on Foreign Relations Books (Penguin Press))
by Sebastian Mallaby
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594200238
Catlog: Book (2004-09-23)
Publisher: Penguin Press Hc
Sales Rank: 4125
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

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

Not exactly. In 1995, Wolfensohn struck the World Bank like a whirlwind, determined to reinvent the institution founded by Franklin Roosevelt and his World War II allies. Never has the World Bank's work been more important, more in the public eye, or more controversial than in the past nine years when challenges from global financial crises to AIDS to the emergence of terrorist sanctuaries in failed states have threatened our prosperity. In Sebastian Mallaby's masterful hands, the story of Wolfenson and his World Bank is a marvelous tour through the messy reality of global development. What John Gutfreund and Salomon Brothers were to the 1980s and John Meriwether and Long Term-Capital Management were to the 1990s, James Wolfensohn and the World Bank are to our time: the emblematic story through which a gifted author has channeled the spirit of the age.
... Read more

12. Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution
by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, L. Hunter Lovins
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316353000
Catlog: Book (2000-10-12)
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Sales Rank: 4103
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (49)

5-0 out of 5 stars Natural Capitalism is a MUST READ for MBA's, CEO's, Politici
Throughout this extensively researched book, the three authors (Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins) eloquently describe the mind-set required of businesses that wish to evolve their models of business successfully into the next millennium.

By providing a mix of real-world examples, coupled with logical extensions to the philosophies that have dominated main stream economic theories for the majority of the 20th century - the authors allow us to peak through the curtain - to catch a glimpse of what the world will be like in 50 years time.

Natural Capitalism espouses a vision of a world where long term profit is the driving force behind global strategy, where 'whole system thinking' dominates rather than simplistic compartmentalised agendas.

We have only just discovered the technologies that allow us to assess the impact of the techno-industrial systems which we have grown over the past 150 years. With a little imagination, and a lot of logic Natural Capitalism gently points out the way forward. Toward a trajectory where the (re)application of such systems can construct a new environment, together with the economic opportunities and rewards that come from such an evolution...

This a must read book for all entrepreneurs, businessmen, politicians, researchers, economists, environmentalists, educationalists in fact just about anybody who wishes to live both comfortably, profitably and in harmony during the next century. It argues for an extension to the economic theories that pervade organisational thinking, for a more realistic assessment of the life cycle costs involved in business processes, and above all for a more realistic assessment of the value of natural resources.

This book will help you think. This book will help you live. This book will help you work. This book will help add value to your life... READ IT!

5-0 out of 5 stars Beyond Darwin
As this new century begins, if there is only one book which everyone on the planet should read, it would be Natural Capitalism. Why is it so important? In my opinion, because it provides the most convincing, the most compelling argument in support of Wendell Berry's assertion that "what is good for the world will be good for us." Darwin's concept of natural selection becomes irrelevant if there is no environment in which such selection can occur. The authors introduce us to "The Next Industrial Revolution" with all oif its emerging possibilities. In subsequent chapters, they continue to examine natural capitalism in terms of "four central strategies": radical resource productivity, biomimicry, service and flow economy, and investment in it. According to the authors, natural capitalism "is about choices we can make that can start to tip economic and social outcomes in positive directions. And it is already occurring -- because it is necessary, possible, and practrical." For me, the information provided in Chapter 3 was almost incomprehensible in terms of the nature and extent of waste. Of the $9 trillion spent every year in the United States, at least $2 trillion is wasted annually. How? For example: Highway accidents ($150 billion), highway congestion ($100 billion in lost productivity), total hidden costs of driving (nearly $1 trillion), nonessential/fraudulent healthcare ($65 billion), inflated and unnecessary medical overhead ($250 billion), and crime ($450 billion). All of this waste can and should be reduced, if not eliminated. What the authors present, in effect, is a blueprint for the survival of the planet. All manner of statistical evidence supports their specific recommendations. Unless "The Next Industrial Revolution" succeeds in implementing those recommendations, natural capitalism will eventually be depleted ...and no one left to regret its loss.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not the environmental economics bible people seem to think
Natural Capitalism suffers some fatal flaws, while not a complete waste of time, not a book to read if you want great ideas that can make it out of the ivory tower. While claiming to provide a path for evnvironmental and social justice, this book blithely ignores the actual impacts of its ideas on the lower classes as well as the prevalence and tenacity of international monetary and banking organizations. While touting that having people pay for rental on material goods, or pay for the service they supply, rather than purchasing the item(such as washing machines) will reduce the number of them in landfills each year, he is ignoring that ultimately someone is going to be owning the machines and therefore holding the capital investment. Those who pay for the service(sound a lot like going to the laundrymat?) will simply be throwing their money into the maintenance of the company's capital investment. The authors further ignore that most countries outside the first world have their economics and politics dictated by international monetary regulations. While this book does present some instances of environmentally friendly ideas and archtecture, such as a banking building in Amsterdam, they do not provide the scripture that most people seem to feel they do. Further, they are basing environmental sustainability off technology such as photovoltaic cells, which do provide cleaner energy by process than oil or coal, but contain heavy metals that are put back into the environment as toxins and require large scale mining and smelting technology to produce. Ultimately, I thought this book was geared more toward engineering social response through the pocketbook, which the U.S. government already does, than a study in environmental econimics within the capitalist framework.

1-0 out of 5 stars Nothing new Here
I find that this book fails to live up to expectations as
the authors are treading old water. Their idea of
Radical Resource Productivity, is already happening and
is a natural progression, sometimes taking longer than
we would hope, but nonetheless inevitable. They seem more
interested in Social Engineering than Economics, and simply
make observations about things already taking place, while
sprinkling in some projections for good measure.

If you're looking for ideas read Fuller's Critical Path, written
in 1981. His ideas are original and groundbreaking for the
time. Reading Natural Capitalism, I honestly felt like I was
attending a lecture given by people lauding mother nature.

I agree with their ideals and think that by and large many of the
methods can be implemented, over time, but the book isn't ground
breaking, and it fails to truly discuss economic factors, which
are so crucial to the success or failure of these methods. The
bottom line is there isn't enough practical discussion of the
factors holding these methods back. If there were it might be
possible for the authors to cut through them. Too often there are
economic factors holding companies back from making improvements
they may be fully aware would help them. That is one reason these
changes take time, lack of capital (not natural).

I think the authors are dreaming of a future that could
not possibly unfold as easily and seamlessly as they entail.

5-0 out of 5 stars A new lease on life
Paul Hawken and the Lovins have teamed up to provide one of the best overall books on "Natural Capitalism" which offers a whole new approach to the way in which we do business. For too long we have taken natural capital for granted, squandering our natural resources and unleashing an unhealthy array of by-products which have further contaminated our world. It is time to add natural capital to the ledger sheets, properly balancing our record books. But, far from being a screed the book is meticulously researched with extensive notes and references to help guide your own research into the subject.

Everything from the Toyota Production System, which offered a leaner, much less wasteful approach to auto manufacturing, to the Hypercar which offers a hybrid-electric propulsion engine which would result in much greater fuel effeciency are illustrated. It is this lean thinking which the authors think will revolutionize the industrial sector, making for the greatest breakthroughs since the microchip revolution.

What is most heartening is that major companies such as Ford Motor Company and Carrier Air Conditioning are adopting these practices and making them work. They are doing so because it saves money and provides them with endless growth possibilities. The authors support the lease-use system which puts the onus on the manufacturer to produce better products and maintain them throughout their service to the user, the so called "cradle to cradle" concept. New materials are resulting in much lighter and more efficient components that would reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and in time phase out petroleum products all together.

Too good to be true you might say, but this is the shape of things to come once we get past the tired old dogmas that have greatly limited our economic potential. The authors show how regressive tax policies and federal subsidies have greatly handicapped our productivity and they encourage political leaders to rethink the way we hand out incentives for better business practice. This book will give you a whole new lease on life, and encourage you to rethink the way you live. ... Read more

13. A Call to Action
by Hank A. McKinnell
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 007144808X
Catlog: Book (2005-04-21)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 5750
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

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

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

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

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

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

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

... Read more

Reviews (1)

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

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

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

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

14. Economics of the Public Sector: Third Edition
by Joseph E. Stiglitz
list price: $136.35
our price: $122.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393966518
Catlog: Book (2000-02)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 233812
Average Customer Review: 3.25 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

At the center of our country's political life are some basic economic questions: How does the government affect the economy? What should the government do? Why are some economic activities undertaken in the public sector and others in the private? Should government do more than it is currently doing, or less? Should it change what it is doing, and how it is doing it? To answer these questions, we must begin by understanding what the government does today. How had the government grown over the past fifty years? How do the size and scope of government in the United States compare with government's size and scope in other countries? This new edition of the acclaimed textbook by leading economic Joseph W. Stiglitz is the definitive text for studying public sector economics. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Review of Public Sector Economics by J. Stiglitz
Excessive use of graphs and charts which are very difficult to follow. Some chapters read easily, others very difficult to understand. Would be better if it had a complementary teacher's guide. LRM

2-0 out of 5 stars mixed feelings
accessible text for beginners, but the text is NO preparation for the end-of-chapter questions. With no available answer key and no help from a teacher, the questions are IMPOSSIBLE to answer leaving the student/reader/taker of test extremely tired and hungry and unsatisfied with econ knowledge at 2 in the morning.

3-0 out of 5 stars A very uneven text
I found reading this book a very frustrating experience. The good things include:

* Solid undergraduate discussion of the economics of taxation;

* An introductory discussion of a great many of the fascinating policy controversies of our time;

* Often a lively text by one of the most powerful minds in contemporary economics.

Flaws include:

* A failure to update many of the data and references carried over from the preceding (1988) edition;

* Too much focus on American facts and institutions;

* A failure to understand the Public Choice perspective;

* A failure to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of the Flat Tax, and a refusal to cite the work of Hall, Rabushka, and Bradford in the area;

* A failure to describe the work of Ronald Coase properly;

* A sneering denigration of the stock market as a "gambling casino", without mentioning the role of the stock market in disciplining managers, in reallocating risks, and in diffusing ownership of large enterprises;

* A failure to appreciate how problematic the taxation of realized capital gains can be;

* A failure to appreciate the drawbacks of pay-as-you-go public old age pensions;

* A failure to appreciate the merits of vouchers enabling parents to choose among private as well as public schools;

* Finally, an unseemly deference to the Clintonista party line, unseemly in an academic.

The tragedy is that politicians, judges, and the better cut of journalists could use a better text on this subject.

5-0 out of 5 stars Comments
All I've to say is that is an excelent book is very useful in careers like economy is very intuitive and easy to understand ... Read more

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

Book Description

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

Reviews (2)

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

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

16. Health Economics and Policy with Economic Applications
by James W. Henderson
list price: $124.95
our price: $124.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0324260008
Catlog: Book (2004-03-08)
Publisher: South-Western College Pub
Sales Rank: 387404
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

Health Economics and Policy is a basic introduction to the microeconomics of health, health care, and health policy. This edition demonstrates how economic principles apply to health-related issues. It explains the social, political, and economic contexts of health care delivery and explores the changing nature of health care. Students learn to analyze public policy from an economic perspective. While the text was written for non-economics majors, it includes enough economic content to challenge majors. ... Read more

17. The End of Oil : On the Edge of a Perilous New World
by Paul Roberts
list price: $14.00
our price: $11.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618562117
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Mariner Books
Sales Rank: 5856
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

The End of Oil is a "geologic cautionary tale for a complacent world accustomed to reliable infusions of cheap energy." The book centers around one irrefutable fact: the global supply of oil is being depleted at an alarming rate. Precisely how much accessible (not to mention theoretical) oil remains is debatable, but even conservative estimates mark the peak of production in decades rather than centuries. Which energy sources will replace oil, who will control them, and how disruptive to the current world order the transition from one system to the next will be are just a few of the big questions that Paul Roberts attempts to answer in this timely book.

As Roberts makes abundantly clear, the major oil players in the world wield their enormous economic and political power in order to maintain the status quo. Of course, they get plenty of help from the tens of millions of consumers, particularly in the U.S. and Europe, who guzzle oil as if there is an unlimited supply. And this demand shows no sign of abating--nearly half of the world's population lives without the benefits of fossil fuels and they desperately want to be among the haves. In countries such as China and India, where energy systems are already breaking down, Roberts discusses how they are looking to oil to fuel their race for development, in many cases ignoring environmental considerations altogether.

Though there is much to be pessimistic about, Roberts does uncover some positive developments, such as the race for alternative energy sources, notably hydrogen fuel cells, which could help to ease us off of our oil dependence before a full-blown energy crisis occurs. No one book could cover every aspect of what Roberts calls "arguably the most serious crisis ever to face industrial society," but The End of Oil is a remarkably informative and balanced introduction to this pressing subject. --Shawn Carkonen ... Read more

Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars Well-researched, balanced approach to hugely critical topic
The End of Oil is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the global future of energy, and is concerned about current trends in energy consumption, pollution and global warming. Well-written and thoroughly researched, The End of Oil offers a balanced view of how energy is produced and consumed, with the focus being on oil, transportation (as being a huge consumer of oil), and the US economy (which is heavily dependent on low-cost fossil fuels). Author Paul Roberts succeeds in giving air time to both "oil pessimists", who foresee economic and even military strife as oil gets ever more scarce and expensive, and to "oil optimists", who have faith in the ability of oil companies, and the governments that support them, to harness whatever technology will be needed to extract more oil for generations to come. While this book is not a doomsday polemic, it does portray a potentially dire, perhaps even explosive future if we don't start playing the right cards in the energy production and consumption game very soon.
The issue of how to develop a global energy industry that is economically and ecologically sustainable is complex, and cannot tap into very many "easy answers".
Working in favour of the desired outcome are initiatives undertaken to harness wind power, largely by Germany and Denmark, solar power largely by Japan, and geothermal energy by Iceland. Even carmakers are getting gas-electric hybrid and fuel-efficient diesel vehicles to market, and biofuels such as Ethanol and Biodiesel are available today in some parts of the world.
Working against a sustainable energy future are i) a world population that continues to grow, with its concomitant energy demands, ii) a burgeoning middle class in large population centres like India and China whose thirst for "Western-style", energy-intensive cars and appliances boosts demand for energy, iii) huge, moribund infrastructures dedicated to producing "cheap" power from burning coal in dirty, inefficient and ways, iv) Western politicians fearful of losing votes if they were to go against the interests of the automotive lobby or the coal lobby, and v) vast resources of oil held by nations (Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria, Russia) whose regimes are unstable and|or wary of the influences of their biggest oil customer, the US.
The End of Oil is, in many ways, the written equivalent of the must-see documentary film "The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream". Peak oil, the notion that we are at or near the date in history when extraction volumes of oil will stop increasing each year and instead will start to decline, is very real and very serious. Roberts writes about the "energy illiteracy" that plagues too many citizens of the developed world as it leaves them oblivious to their wanton waste of energy, and of the "energy poverty" that relegates billions of persons in the developing world to pollution-intensive, unhealthy qualities of life. Roberts describes the large and unsustainable imbalances in having some parts of the world use much more than their per capita share of energy, and, correspondingly, generate more than their share of greenhouse gas emissions.
Roberts, at the end of the book, offers a three-pronged approach that is his best effort to effect positive change but yet be mindful of the harsh realities currently facing the energy industry: 1) shift the developed world, especially the US, to use natural gas instead of oil, to the greatest extent possible; 2) have the developed world, spearheaded by the US, create a market for carbon credits, thereby introducing the all-important market signal to businesses and governments that the release of carbon, in the form of CO and CO2, is not costless, and 3) have the US and other developed countries initiate energy conservation at many levels in society, from installing CF light bulbs, to having individuals choose to drive vehicles with the best fuel economy.
I support Roberts' prescription for immediate action, especially the need for conservation efforts: it's always cheaper to conserve a unit of energy than it is to derive a net new unit of energy. Goodness knows, in the US and Canada, there is so much `low-hanging fruit' in the form of conservation opportunities, that a little political will directed toward such efforts could result in the need for fewer oil tankers to arrive at our shores each day.

5-0 out of 5 stars Realistic, yet ultimately hopeful and helpful
I found this to be a good read, loaded with pertinent and relevant facts and figures, without being overwhelming. I was also impressed that while alarming, it was not relentlessly depressing. It also is not nearly as monotonous as Deffeyes' Peak Oil. Roberts lays out the current energy regime and delves into the highlights of how we got here, without going all the way back to Spindletop. He effectively paints the picture of the end of easy oil, without laboring over geophysics for 15 chapters. He then proceeds to connect the dots between energy and politics. How cheap energy has been the catalyst for economic growth and the distribution of wealth and power globally. He realistically assesses the motivations and probable actions of key players such as OPEC, the US, China, Venezuela, etc. Then he tackles climate change and the real threats of continued inaction.
But fully half the book is devoted to what comes next. The answer of course is, no one knows exactly. But there are many candidates; wind, solar, hydrogen, etc.
He looks at some of the triumphs and pitfalls of each of these and comes to the logical conclusions.
The final chapter, entitled How Do We Get There? is a balanced statement of what needs to happen and what is likely to happen. There is a bleak scenario which sagely predicts all of the things that have happened so far in late 2004 and early 2005. He shows pretty clearly where this road is headed and what will happen at the end of it. But then he offers a neat three stage plan for avoiding that fate and ushering a smoother transition to a new energy paradigm.

Step One
Import natural gas as a "bridge" energy source. It utilizes much of the same infrastructure and provides nearly the same utility, yet is very clean. It will not last forever, but there is a good supply, maybe 50 years in which to begin the phase out of the old hydro-carbon assets and allow us to begin implementing a distributed power generation grid and encourage both efficiency and cleanliness. Clean-burning natural gas power plants can begin producing hydrogen which will be the next energy vector. Hydrogen itself is not an energy source, it is an energy carrier. But it offers tremendous advantages especially for transportation. Fuel cell technology, though holding promise, is not yet ready economically to replace internal combustion, but can gradually be introduced to ease the transition, while gas-electric hybrids help pick up the slack.

Step Two
Institute a carbon emission tax/penalty system. This utilizes an efficient market mechanism to correctly align incentives with desired outcome. It places a cost on continued inefficient carbon-based electrical generation and transport and offers market-based rewards to both fuel efficiency and environmental sustainability. He suggests pairing the carbon tax with a well funded R&D program to develop technologies like coal gasification and carbon sequestration technology. This would allow us to utilize the super abundant, but highly polluting sources of coal to cleanly provide tremendous power output without the unwanted carbon emissions. Exploiting the globally abundant resource cleanly will give us the boost needed to fully develop the hydrogen based economy as a replacement to the haydrocarbon one.

Step Three
Energy conservation and reduction. It is necessary to force efficiency onto the automotive industry. He offers a "feebate," essential a tax and reward system to prompt American drivers to recognize the externalities of continuing to buy super-inefficient gas-guzzlers. Instead of penalizing buyers of compacts and hybrids and rewarding Hummer drivers, we need to use government to align the incentives and increase the up-front costs of gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks. The point is don't tax the gas, tax the user of the gas, all at once and up front, so to induce massive sticker shock. A few cents more at the pump will not work, since it is spread over many years, and most Americans won't register it when they are making the decision about what type of vehicle to purchase.

This plan would allow for a smooth transition to a non-polluting, sustainable energy structure that could actually meet the needs of a growing world population, while giving the time and resources to develop technologies like solar, wind and biomass, that might eventually replace the dimishing natural gas supplies.
The new emergent paradigm will be distributed, decentralized, clean, sustainable and hyper-efficient. (Thankfully Roberts didn't actually use the word "paradigm." That was my own. Sorry.)

One of the most amazing aspects of the book was the amount devoted to assessing waste and inefficiencies. Internal combustion engines, even the very best ones, only utilize about 20% of the energy content in a gallon of gasoline. The rest is lost as heat. Coal-burning power plants are even less efficient; 90% of the energy content of a ton of coal goes up the chimney. Even the power that is produced, fully half is bled away as heat when transmitted down aging powerlines. Cutting out the inefficiencies in the power generation grid alone would save the equivalent of 20 years of oil imports. However, the cost is not insignificant and because the assets involved (old coal power plants) are fully depreciated, there is no economic incentive to do this.

Roberts offers a rational set of actions that balance a faith in the efficiency of markets, economic incentives and technology advances with a need to reduce our use (and waste) of scarce energy resources. I felt at least somewhat hopeful that there is a way out of this mess, and that we may still avoid a cold, dark future, if we can overcome our own immaturity.

5-0 out of 5 stars Should be Required Reading
Paul Roberts presents a wonderful overview of the looming energy crisis in this book.As he points out, it is not the end of oil that we need to be worried about, it is the end of *cheap* oil, which occurs at the production peak.This is unarguably the most severe crisis facing society in the next decade, but very few people are even aware that there is an issue.

The book takes on even more urgency with the current record high oil prices ($54+), with most analysts expecting the price to go much higher.There are signs that we are approaching or even at the peak *now* (e.g. OPEC has little to no spare production capacity left and can no longer keep prices down).The topic could not be more relevant.

It is all too easy to get trapped in a "sky is falling" mentality when discussing this subject, but Mr. Roberts manages to avoid that tone, instead presenting the facts (and his opinions) in a fair and even-handed (and very readable) way.But that approach just makes his conclusions all the more frightening.

This is a Must Read for everyone.Anyone contemplating the purchase of a (non-hybrid) SUV should read this book first!

This book is an informative read.Anyone interested in helping their country to become independent from the need of oil may wish to pick up a copy of "Forget The Gas Pumps--Make Your Own Fuel" which illustrates how to convert a vehicle to run on pure alcohol without any gasoline.Also you may wish to check out the other books on running vehicles on other alternative fuels as well as electricity.

3-0 out of 5 stars Security, Security, Security
As anyone with a shred of intelligence knows, there will eventually come a day when no country, not even the United States, will be able to power its economy with petroleum.This resource will eventually become too precious to economically provide us with our needed energy.The saying `money makes the world go round' is off the mark.It is oil that makes the world go round, or, at least, an inexpensive, dependable source of energy.For most of the 20th century that source of energy has been oil.

Oil is still the best source of energy when looking at it simply from an economic perspective.There are still vast supplies of oil available that, while far away from most end-user countries, are cost-effectively transportable.Oil is the only source of energy currently available to power the modern transportation system and it also offers a good trade-off between cost and pollution when it comes to power generation.

But, as Paul Roberts reminds us with his book, "The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World", we are fast approaching a day when oil production will peak and begin its either slow or steep descent into the dustbin of history.The estimates for that peak range from the pessimistic 2005 to the optimistic 2030.As with most things the truth lies somewhere in the middle, with the peak coming probably between 2017 and 2022.Roberts makes a strong case for a steep descent after whatever date actually sees the peak with the potential for much chaos to follow if we do not start planning now for when that day arrives.

Roberts mostly discusses the inherent supply problems that have crept into the world oil market since the rise of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in the 1970s and the supposed climate changing effects of burning fossil fuels for energy.The real danger in the current oil market is that, as each day passes, OPEC controls more and more of the world's economically exploitable petroleum.This means that our country is becoming ever more hostage to the whims of politically unstable, fundamentally anti-American petrostates like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela.

Roberts also discusses the various alternative energy programs that have caught the public's attention from time-to-time.He gives wind and solar power the run through along with hydrogen fuel cells.Roberts gives a detailed explanation of how these technologies get short-shrift in the current energy environment and how they are not really the panaceas we may believe them to be.Hydrogen fuel cells in particular have many cost and technological short comings that must be overcome before they can replace fossil fuels as the "gasoline" of choice.

Roberts delves a little too much into the climate side of carbon-based fuels for my liking.He has definitely bought the climate-change line even though there is no hard evidence that proves carbon and other "greenhouse gases" are causing the current round of rising world temperatures.All we have are computer models many of which have already been programmed to accept the greenhouse effect as fact.There is actually a lot of evidence being currently uncovered that the past 300 years have seen unusually low global temperatures compared to the norm during mankind's existence since the end of the last ice age.

My feeling on the oil issue is that we must diversify out of it as soon as possible.Leaving our energy stability up to organizations like OPEC and countries like Russia is a recipe for disaster.Also, the world will eventually have to switch to a hydrogen-based energy system because we are variously running out of the carbon-based fuels we have relied on since the dawn of the industrial age.The United States may as well lead the way in this endeavor as it will allow us to use our amassed wealth to buffer the nation against the potential turmoil surrounding such a switch.Paul Roberts has here provided a good blueprint of how that might be accomplished. ... Read more

18. Three Billion New Capitalists: The Great Shift of Wealth and Power to the East
by Clyde Prestowitz
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0465062814
Catlog: Book (2005-05-03)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 257
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

From one of our shrewdest economic trend-spotters, a wake-up call that prosperity is about to shift from the West to the East, and what we can do before it's too late

By the beginning of this century it was already commonplace to speak of the U.S. as a "hyperpower," to talk of its military, political, and economic clout as unprecedented in world history, and to assume that American dominance would continue at least throughout our lifetimes. It is conventional wisdom that America will have no serious rivals for at least a generation. But the American position is far more fragile and ephemeral than much of the world believes.

Clyde Prestowitz shows the powerful yet barely visible trends that are threatening to end the six-hundred-year run of Western domination of the world. The trends include America's increasingly unsustainable trade deficits; the equally unsustainable (and dangerous) buildup of massive dollar reserves in places like Japan and China; the end of America's position as the world's premier center for invention and technological innovation; the sudden entrance of 2.5 billion people in India and China into the world's skilled job market; the role of the World Wide Web in permitting many formerly localized jobs to be done anywhere in the world; and the demographic meltdown of Europe, Japan, Russia, and, in later decades, even China. Three Billion New Capitalists is a clear-eyed and profoundly unsettling look at America's and the world's economic future, from an author with a history of predicting the important trends long before they become apparent to others. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Who is manning the wall?
The author transmits a compelling wake-up call to all of us, especially our government and business leaders.As a military officer, I was trained by the US government that massing the effects of combat power at one single point is critical to the sucess of the mission.The book makes a compelling case that Asia (and Europe) seem to have realized what the US has forgotten, that effective, penetrating ECONOMIC combat power necessarily includes synchronizing the efforts of industry AND government policy to achieve dominance in high-tech industries.Considering that the US can't compete cost-wise in low skill labor markets, I hope our leadership invests the time to read this book.The author is a talented story-teller, and I particularly enjoyed the insights provided through his relationships with key players in the world economy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Three Billion New Capitalists
Prestowitz does a great job describing our (USA) selfish economic behavior and the likely consequences. He also aptly describes the essential absence of leadership needed in order to address the massive changes that will occur. Projections of the future for various countries and groups (EU) are quite interesting as well. Having just read THE WORLD IS FLAT, I was glad to find this book promptly. THREE BILLION NEW CAPITALISTS is a great read and adds understanding about complex issues.

5-0 out of 5 stars We have met the enemy, and he is us
This book thoroughly details how the US is mortgaging its own future in exchange for high living standards, oil, and cheap imported goods without even realizing it.But what's more unsettling is that the US doesn't seem to be taking any steps to change this, even with the spread of outsourcing and our failing education system.Fortunately, the author spells out some suggestions to help the US maintain its presence in a changing world.This is a well-written wake-up call that everyone should read, especially students who are going to be the ones who feel the effects of globalization the most.

5-0 out of 5 stars Better than "The World is Flat"
I just finished reading Three Billion New Capitalists and came to the conclusion after much thought on the subjects that Clyde Prestowitz's book is much better and more insightful than Tom Friedman's book "The World is Flat". I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what's happening in this world today.

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful
This book is powerful and insightful. On a more personal level, I don't know what the other reviewer was talking about. ... Read more

19. Economics of Regulation and Antitrust - 3rd Edition
by W. Kip Viscusi, John M. Vernon, Joseph E. Harrington
list price: $78.00
our price: $66.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0262220628
Catlog: Book (2000-07-21)
Publisher: The MIT Press
Sales Rank: 246554
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

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

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

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

Reviews (2)

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

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

20. In an Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Wall Street to Washington
by Robert E. Rubin, Jacob Weisberg
list price: $35.00
our price: $22.05
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375505857
Catlog: Book (2003-11-18)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 7118
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

Robert Rubin was sworn in as the seventieth U.S. Secretary of the Treasury in January 1995 in a brisk ceremony attended only by his wife and a few colleagues. As soon as the ceremony was over, he began an emergency meeting with President Bill Clinton on the financial crisis in Mexico. This was not only a harbinger of things to come during what would prove to be a rocky period in the global economy; it also captured the essence of Rubin himself--short on formality, quick to get into the nitty-gritty.

From his early years in the storied arbitrage department at Goldman Sachs to his current position as chairman of the executive committee of Citigroup, Robert Rubin has been a major figure at the center of the American financial system. He was a key player in the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. With In an Uncertain World, Rubin offers a shrewd, keen analysis of some of the most important events in recent American history and presents a clear, consistent approach to thinking about markets and dealing with the new risks of the global economy.

Rubin's fundamental philosophy is that nothing is provably certain. Probabilistic thinking has guided his career in both business and government. We see that discipline at work in meetings with President Clinton and Hillary Clinton, Chinese premier Zhu Rongji, Alan Greenspan, Lawrence Summers, Newt Gingrich, Sanford Weill, and the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan. We see Rubin apply it time and again while facing financial crises in Asia, Russia, and Brazil; the federal government shutdown; the rise and fall of the stock market; the challenges of the post-September 11 world; the ongoing struggle over fiscal policy; and many other momentous economic and political events.

With a compelling and candid voice and a sharp eye for detail, Rubin portrays the daily life of the White House-confronting matters both mighty and mundane--as astutely as he examines the challenges that lie ahead for the nation. Part political memoir, part prescriptive economic analysis, and part personal look at business problems, In an Uncertain World is a deep examination of Washington and Wall Street by a figure who for three decades has been at the center of both worlds.
... Read more

Reviews (29)

4-0 out of 5 stars Superior Washington Memoirs
This book is a thoughtful retelling of Robert Rubin's life on Wall Street and in government. The centerpiece is the account of Rubin's career in the Clinton Administration when, as director of the National Economic Council and then Secretary of the Treasury, he grappled with huge federal deficits and financial crises in Mexico and Asia. Early chapters describe his youth, Ivy League education, and career at Goldman Sachs; other chapters offer musings on subjects such as corporate governance, the financial excesses of the 1990s, global poverty, and the difficulty of educating the public on economics.

Throughout Rubin reflects on his analysis-driven, "probabilistic" approach to decision-making, which carefully weighs the upside as well as the downside of decisions taken under conditions of uncertainty. The tone of the book is low-key and balanced, and the economic discussions are clear and non-technical. Rubin's writing may not sparkle but he does have a gift for anecdotes and for wry, self-deprecating humor. He deflates faddish "new economy" gurus on Wall Street and tax-cutting theologians in the GOP without resorting to ad hominem remarks. In a strange way, his book is almost inspirational: it reminds readers that not too long ago the United States had a government that weighed evidence and considered options before taking fateful decisions.

I gave "In An Uncertain World" four stars (instead of five) because, in the last analysis, Rubin really is discreet to a fault: readers (and historians) would have benefited from a much fuller discussion of his relationship with Bill Clinton and from more details on policy differences and debates within the Clinton Administration. Maybe Rubin held his tongue because he hopes to re-enter public life in a future Democratic Administration. Or maybe he's just a classy guy.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice Guy Finishes First (but Doesn't Write a Great Book)
Rubin begins in media res-on the evening after he was sworn in as Treasury Secretary-with a gripping story of how the Clinton administration handled the Mexican currency crisis. His memoir has three phases: his twenty six years spent at Goldman Sachs that culminated in a co-Chairman role, his six years serving under the Clinton administration, and his return to private life as a sort of consigliere at Citigroup. Most of the book, of course, recalls the Clinton years (i.e., 1992-99, where he went from head of the National Economic Council to Treasury Secretary) and they consist largely as a series of budgetary battles, public relations trials, and averted currency crises.

Rubin likes to "tell" almost as much as he likes to "show," so the themes aren't all that hard to find. First, clearly this is a treatise on, and justification of, the importance of probabilistic decision-making in an increasingly complex, interdependent world. And with nary a number, he repeatedly demonstrates a key weakness of traditional market models: they are not able to incorporate the potentially devastating impacts of certain events which are extremely unlikely to occur, but nevertheless are possible (e.g., what if the U.S. government defaulted on its debt?).

Second, politics is yucky business. Here is where I was most fascinated. Rubin manages to paint his political life as much more difficult and challenging than any of his private sector roles. This is virtually a unanimous verdict, as I read it, stretching from the expected (e.g., government strains to serve multiple, conflicting objectives while business ultimately gets to serve only the profit master) to the counter-intuitive (e.g., he apparently had a better work-life balance at Goldman). On important questions-in this book and in his speaking-he likes to divide the issue into a "substantive" piece and a "political" piece, tackling them separately.

Third, this is a modern day Aesop's fable, specifically the one where "nice guys finish first." By finishing first I mean to say that he amassed $100+ million along the way (not in the book, but elsewhere documented) and ended up at Citigroup without direct line responsibility! But seriously, you can see why even Rubin's critics respected him. He is possessed of humility ("anyone who has done well will acknowledge the enormous role played by chance"), candor ("I had no interest in becoming polished at television appearances, nor I suspect the capability to do that"), wisdom, and unbelievably good manners. For example, he was clearly wounded by ad hominem attacks during the 1995 budget fight (in particular, Newt Gingrich has a reoccurring nemesis role, calling Rubin "untrustworthy" on television), but when it comes to personal retorts, Rubin can only manage to praise Gingrich for his understanding of the dimensions of the Mexican crisis.

Finally, experience has led Rubin to believe that it is almost impossible to help ordinary voters understand the complexities of fiscal and foreign policy. He illustrates this expertly when he reviews his role in the debate around Bush's tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, where he dishearteningly cannot find a succinct way to warn of the long-term consequences of a structural deficit in the face of politically resonant messages that attach to tax cuts and spending increasing. He does find a terrific analogy in global warming: no one person experiences current suffering, but there is a small chance that inaction will hurt everybody gravely at some future time.

I wanted to give five stars, having really looked forward to this book. But as a literary work, the book does not reach the greatness of the man. It is ironic that Rubin, who excels at self-deprecating candor, reveals so little that is particularly new or insightful considering that he ran one of the most mysterious, successful organizations (Goldman) ever created; held a catbird seat in the Clinton administration; and is uniquely qualified to opine on the lessons of the raging bull market of the 1990s. The virtue of humility, alas, often makes his achievements appear all too easily-won. His favorite management technique appears to be taking interview notes on a legal pad (it is really endearing the first couple or few times but eventually...).

Perhaps because they are especially memorable, he spends too much time introspecting on his transitions; e.g., virtually all of Chapter Eleven is about him stepping down from Treasury and figuring out where to go next. Oh the agony, but you can skip this chapter and I'll summarize: it's a lot like your last job change, but Sandy Weil is trying to sell you instead of some slimy headhunter. Also, I don't think you should buy the book for the "Rubin Doctrine." These principles are sort of like the Ten Commandments (Number 9: never let your rhetoric commit you to something you cannot deliver...translation: don't make promises you can't keep). You will recognize them, as they are important clichés. It's not so much you need to read them, as politicians need to follow them.

I was disappointed by the lengthy and expected discussion of the rise and precipitous fall of the stock market. Forget the Monica Lewinski admission, the real scandal in this book is that Rubin adds virtually nothing to the stock market discussion beyond the familiar refrain of pent up imbalances that inevitably had to unwind (to his credit, he pretty much confesses as such). He cites the usual culprits, including profitless dotcoms and myopic investors. If you are looking information which is helpful to investing, you won't find much here. But Rubin totally redeems himself in Chapter Thirteen, to my mind easily the best chapter in the book, where he expertly explains both the politics and substance of fiscal policy. This Chapter is worth the price of the book

3-0 out of 5 stars Watch out for the Big Lie
Watch out for the Big Lie in this book -- namely, that the Bush administration tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 are responsible for the current budget deficit. The tax cut in 2001 was enacted under a perceived government surplus, while the tax cut in 2003 was driven by the faltering economy. Democrats faced with a budget surplus or a recession would have chosen to increase spending rather than cut taxes. Either way, with the internet bubble bursting and the 2001 WTC attack, the surplus would have disappeared and the deficit would have ballooned. Rubin's assertion that the tax cuts are responsible for the budget deficit is a Big Lie.

I am upset about this for two reasons. 1) Philosophically I believe in a flat tax rate -- I believe everyone (and every corporation) should pay an equal percentage share in taxes over a certain minimum income level. 2) I'm worried this misrepresentation will result in poor decisions on a macro level -- like a call for higher taxes irregardless of the economic impact. If we tighten fiscal and monetary policy prematurely during 2004-2005 (as Greenspan and Bush are now signaling), we risk a deflationary spiral. That danger is emphatically not over, despite rising oil prices, a resurgent stock market and a continuing real estate boom. Maybe I'm wrong, and we can all address the current budget deficit without regard for the possibility of over-tightening. However, I'd like to feel that irrational economic decisions driven by a Big Lie are not part of our problem.

I'm saying we all want to get the United States' fiscal house in order. In the process, lets not confuse party politics (progressive taxes vs. a flat tax) with sound economics.

90% of this autobiography is a well-written, measured story of an awesomely talented individual chalking up major accomplishments as a highly professional manager in a series of extraordinarily difficult and high-impact positions. Rubin is most likely a truly superb manager. I've never worked with or (more likely) for the guy.

Having read the book, however, I would be very upset seeing Robert Rubin follow Alan Greenspan as Governor of the Federal Reserve. He has clearly misrepresented the economic facts in this book to suit his political positions. He'd be great as a Secretary of State for a Democratic administration, or a Secretary of Treasury redux.

I give the book three stars, because Rubin is a legitimate American super star. Pity he's a Democrat.

3-0 out of 5 stars Where finance meets politics: Rubinomics
As someone who's had the chance to walk through the storied trading floors of the arbitrage division of Goldman Sachs in Manhattan, I was excited to read this book about someone who began his amazing career there. Anyone interested in investing, domestic and international finance and economics, and politics should read this book. Why?

Mr. Rubin was vital in the formation of Clintonomics--a set of policies that stressed the importance of deficit reduction. Although politically vilified for "raising taxes," Mr. Rubin's platform of deficit reduction was associated with remarkable productivity and economic growth in the 1990's. Mr. Rubin's account is especially timely and thought provoking considering the recent deficits incurred by the U.S. government, the historically low interest rates that are nevertheless present in America, and the 12 billion dollar bet on foreigns currencies recently placed by Berkshire Hathaway.

As someone who has visited and invested (with very mixed results!) in developing countries, I was also interested in Mr. Rubin's accounts of how and why he, Clinton, and others at institutions like the IMF created multi-billion dollar rescue loans to these nations. The conflicts of interest between investors, the borrowers, and the loaners is fascinating to contemplate. It is also instructive to consider why some rescue packages (designed for Indonesia) failed while others (designed for Mexico) succeeded. While recounting these stories Mr. Rubin does an admirable job explaining why lowering tarrifs and expanding global trade with emerging markets is a win-win situation for all parties involved.

For an even better explanation of the underlying principles of international finance read "Economics in One Easy Lesson" by Hazlett. It sounds like a children's book, but the clarity of explanation of complex ideas in this book is amazing.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Certain Success in an Uncertain World
I would recommend this book as probably the best politico-economic book I've read. Robert Rubin, as Secretary of the Treasury and head of the National Economic Council during the Clinton years, was at the center of some of the most exciting times of the last few generations: the first balanced budget in thirty years; a run-up in the stock market that made millionaires out of average people; and a thriving economy. But not everything was wonderful. The Republican Party started a revolution of their own in 1994 when they swept control of Congress for the first time in forty years and the Asian economic crisis of 1998 threatened a global economic meltdown. In the center of it all was Robert Rubin.

Educated at Harvard, Rubin became an arbitrageur at Goldman Sachs in the 1960s and rose to co-ceo of the company before leaving for Washington during the Clinton years. His theme for life was that that there are no certainties. He called his philosophy probabilistic thinking. He explained it this way: "Success came by evaluating all the information available to try to judge the odds of various outcomes and the possible gains or losses associated with each." It was a philosophy that enabled him to succeed in both public and private endeavors.

His book is highly interesting but may be a difficult read for someone without any knowledge of economics. For those familiar with economic terms and concepts the book will be both enlightening and educational. While we may live in an uncertain world this book is a certain success. ... Read more

1-20 of 200       1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   Next 20
Prices listed on this site are subject to change without notice.
Questions on ordering or shipping? click here for help.