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The Economics of Integrity: From Dairy Farmers to Toyota, How Wealth Is Built on Trust and What That Means for Our Future Hardcover – February 23, 2010
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“Bernasek delivers an engaging and enlightening journey into the roots of integrity, building a convincing case for why it is the bedrock of our economy. I learned a lot reading this book.” (Rom Brafman, bestselling author of Sway)
“When our businesses and markets operate with integrity we are able to create enormous wealth. Anyone interested in understanding what makes our economy work must have this on their bookshelf.” (Mark Zandi, Chief Economist, Moody's)
“In this fascinating little book, Anna Bernasek shows what delivering milk has in common with financial reform. The common thread? Both need mechanisms to ensure integrity. Her insights will stick with you long after you put the book down.” (Alan Blinder, Economist and co-director of Princeton’s Center for Economic Policy Studies, former Economic Advisor to Bill Clinton)
“In an era of structured finance, nano-technology, and complex business models, Anna Bernasek’s timely, valuable, and highly readable book reminds us that the economy runs on something much more simple: trust.” (Dan Gross, Senior Editor, Newsweek and author of Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation)
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Top Customer Reviews
Every time you buy milk at the supermarket, you are placing an enormous amount of trust in a large number of people who are complete strangers, including farmers, transporters, processors and retailers. If any one of these decided to cut some corners for short-term financial gain, thousands of people could suffer, as indeed occurred in China not so long ago when milk supplies became contaminated. It would be impossible for most people to purchase food at reasonable prices if the suppliers did not voluntarily act in a trustworthy manner. The author goes on to describe how integrity is a key factor in many other aspects of business including our financial systems.
Although the author does not mention this, she has identified a key reason why only some countries are wealthy, whereas most remain poor. In Western countries, transaction costs are very low because you can take it for granted that the products you buy will work properly, be safe to use, and carry the guarantee of the manufacturer named on the label. In many poorer countries, transaction costs are very high because you have to test things for yourself, and trade mark forgery is prevalent.Read more ›
Throughout her lively and eloquent narrative, Bernasek examines a number of situations in which everyone involved benefits because they do what is right and do it right, who abide by rules that "set people free to do the right thing, rather than holding people back," rules and values that encourage activity and create more wealth. What is required to deliver a gallon of milk offers a case in point. Here's the supply chain: farmer (serviced by feed supplier, co-up, vet, hoof trimmer, and nutritionist) > milk hauler > second driver > milk plant > distributor > store > consumer. Prior to point of sale, everyone involved must be both worthy of trust (i.e. honest, following the rules, being careful on the job) and trusted by everyone else. These relationships of trust throughout the process require an integrity that produces value for everyone involved.Read more ›
There are no counter examples. In a somewhat naive analysis Bernasek ignores the use of eBay for selfish and illegal purposes. She is apparently unaware of the trend for integrity based business to draw cheaters and thieves, as with Internet and ATM abuses. Enron and Bernie Madoff once ran their businesses with integrity.
This is a nice, but somewhat naive, little essay on integrity and quality in business and banking, nothing more.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This attempt at a 'book' offers no value whatsoever and is clearly offered by someone with little business understanding. Read morePublished on March 21, 2014 by THE TRUTH
There are very few treatments of the importance of integrity.
This book is at its best analyzing how deeply integrity is embedded in our life, but how little we understand... Read more
The Economics of Integrity is filled with repetitive examples of how various forms of economic transaction depend upon a shared trust between buyer and seller, and how this trust... Read morePublished on July 25, 2011 by David Jones
Concisely written, well thought out approach to a topic that usually doesn't draw a lot of interest. The new take on it, that integrity is about "us" makes one rethink. Read morePublished on January 27, 2011 by NY Yankee
I ordered this item on tuesday and got it on wednesday so it was so fast and the book is in such great shape. Great prices and great Service!!Published on December 30, 2010 by Kayla D