• List Price: $16.00
  • Save: $5.65 (35%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This item has been gently used.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Cities and the Wealth of Nations Paperback – March 12, 1985

See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
$7.23 $0.01

Frequently Bought Together

Cities and the Wealth of Nations + The Economy of Cities + The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Price for all three: $32.11

Buy the selected items together

Hero Quick Promo
12 Days of Kindle Book Deals
Load your library with Amazon's editors' picks, $2.99 or less each today only. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (March 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394729110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394729114
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.6 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"It offers a concrete approach to an abstract and elusive subject. That, all by itself, makes for an intoxicating experience."--The New York Times

About the Author

Jane Jacobs was the legendary author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, a work that has never gone out of print and that has transformed the disciplines of urban planning and city architecture. Her other major works include The Economy of Cities, Systems of Survival, The Nature of Economies and Dark Age Ahead. She died in 2006.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 12 customer reviews
It is one of the five best non-fiction books I have read.
Joseph P. Garland
The bright spot is her belief that city regions are really the drivers of economies and that nations are less important.
D. Howard
She is a sharp observor of economic behavior and is well versed in economic history.
Professor Joseph L. McCauley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Professor Joseph L. McCauley on February 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Any settlement that becomes import-replacing becomes a city." Cities and the Wealth of Nations, Jane Jacobs
Written by an economist, this is a very unusual book. Ms. Jacobs is not hampered by orthodox preconceived notions, misleading postulated theoretical myths like utility optimization, rationality, or efficient markets. These standard phrases of neo-classical economic theory cannot be found in her book. Instead, and although her discussion is entirely nonmathematical, she uses a crude qualtitative idea of excess demand dynamics, of growth vs. decline. Her expectation is never of equilibrium. The notion of equilibrium never appears in this book. Jacobs instead describes qualitatively the reality of nonequilibrium in the economic life of cities, regions, and nations. She concentrates on the surprises of economic reality.
Jacobs argues fairly convincingly that significant, distributed wealth is created by cities that are inventive enough to replace imports by their own local production, that this is the only reliable source of wealth for cities in the long run, and that these cities need other like-minded cities to trade with in order to survive and prosper. Her expectation is of growth or decline, not of equilibrium. If she is right then the Euro and the European Union are a bad mistake, going entirely in the wrong direction. As examples in support of her argument she points to independent cites like Singapore and Hong Kong with their own local currencies. Other interesting case histories are TVA, small villages in France and Japan, other cases in Italy, Columbia, Ethiopia, US, Iran, ... .
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By anne_rowe@hotmail.com on November 13, 1998
Format: Paperback
Jacobs writes convincingly that individual firms are not the basis of the economy. She identifies the city as a place in which economic activity is generated by a network of interlocking dependencies amkng firms as the basis of an economic analysis. She identifies these interdependencies as either being capable of adapting to change or incapable. A closed fixed system of interdependencies is the hallmark of a city (or a firm) which is ready for decline. Cities or enterprises in which the economic components are free to exploit new opportunties can adapt to challenges from outside. Jacobs charaterizes this adaptation as taking the form of a specialization of an existing economic component to supply a new need.
Contary to popular belief this notion of local as central to economic life is not opposed to glabalization. On the contrary it is opposed to the view that the nation state is central. Jacob's analysis explains economics as global network of independent local units. In this network each local unit will continuously adapt to the challenges and opportunities supplied by the needs and supplies of the other units.
Jacobs shows that only by being open to change, by being willing to adapt, by being willing to let old ways die oif they no longer serve their purpose can a city or an enterprise ensure its long term survival.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Eric on April 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Wow. Jacobs is so adept at explaining the complex currents of global, national and local economies that even the casual reader will be spellbound. The book is simultaneously radical (she essentially repudiates all modern macro-economic theory) and reasonable. This book is a great asset to anyone who wishes to comprehend the world around them.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By PGB on October 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
It is true that the opening chapter of this book sounds dated, but the book as a whole still stands up well.

The first chapter provides the motivational background for the rest of the book by discussing the problem of stagflation, and how existing schools of economic thought failed to account for it (prices should not go up when the economy is in a slump). This does have a dated ring to it; who has been worried about stagflation in the past 20+ years? But the discussion of stagflation merely serves as motivation for what follows, and contemporary readers will be able to think up similar economic mysteries that we live with today, e.g. why did years of near-zero interest rates fail to stimulates Japan's economy as theory said they should, and similarly why is the US still struggling to recover from a recession when it interest rates have been at historic lows for several years?

The rest of the book is devoted Jacobs's thesis that the economic unit that matters is not the nation, nor the individual nor the corporation, but the city (or "city regions" as she calls them). She describes (using examples which still hold up today) the economic effects that cities have on each other and on less developed areas.

As in Jacobs's other books, the writing style is clear, direct and easy to understand.

I would like to hear Jacobs's perspective on European currency union: if she holds to the analysis of the effect of national currencies on cities given in this book then she should be predicting (in the long term) serious economic malaise in Europe, especially in those parts of the union which are currently less developed.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?