A Surprising Economic History of the World
On Sale: April 16, 2009
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An important book for turbulent times-an accessible and
engaging economic history of the world, by a leading
Alan Beattie has long been intrigued by the fates of
different countries, economies, and societies-why some fail
and some succeed. Here, he weaves together elements of
economics, history, politics, and human stories, revealing
that societies, economies, and countries usually make
concrete choices that determine their destinies. He opens
up larger questions about these choices, and why countries
make them or are driven to make them, and what those
decisions can mean for the future of our global economy.
Economic history involves forcing together disciplines that
fall naturally in different directions. But Beattie has
written a lively and lucid book that successfully marries
the two subjects and illustrates their interdependence. In
doing so, he addresses such illuminating queries as: Why
are oil and diamonds more trouble than they are worth? Why
did Argentina fail and the United States succeed? Why
doesn't Africa grow cocaine?
False Economy explains how human beings have shaped their
own fates, however unknowingly, and the conditions of the
countries they call home. And though it is history, it does
not end with the present day. Beattie shows how decisions
that are being made now-which have either absorbed or
failed to absorb the lessons from economic history-will
determine what happens in the future. What does economic
history teach us about the present economic unrest? Who
will succeed and why? And who will fail? These are
questions that we cannot afford to leave unasked . . . or
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