Monday, November 1, 2010

False Economy, Alan Beattie

I should first remark on the title. As far as I can see, it was just chosen to get attention. I can see no other reason for it. For books on the economy to sell nowadays, it seems that they must be given a title that has a negative connotation about the economy or about capitalism.

This book is a bit of a history of money, markets and finance. However, there are better books on these subjects. If you want to learn anything about these subjects, you would be better off reading such recent books as the Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson. In fact, any book by Niall Ferguson would be a great choice. Ferguson is a much better informed writer and he writes much better books.

However, one thing that Alan Beattie does point out that we would do well to remember is that it is not just Anglo-Saxon or Jewish people who do well in finance. It seems through out history that minorities in many societies have created thriving business communities. Minorities that have done well include many different ethnic groups and different religious groups. It is often the restrictions place on minorities that seem to account for this more than anything else does.

He also talks about theories of agriculture and slavery. He states that when land is plentiful, plantation owners would not be able to sit on their verandas and drink mint juleps if it had not been for slavery. If the laborers had been free, they would have simply left to start their own farms.

If you are like me and have already read everything that Niall Ferguson had written, then you might want to read this book. Alan Beattie does have a slightly different perspective on things. But, if you are limited in the books you can read, for what ever reason, then I would definitely suggest you read Niall Ferguson instead of this author. I have reviewed on my site Niall Ferguson’s latest book, Ascent of Money.

Alan Beattie has an essay on development at World Bank. There is a review of this book at Financial Times . He is also on You Tube.

This book review and other books I have reviewed are on my website at Book Reviews. Also on my website is how to find this book on Amazon if you care to purchase it. See Beattie.

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