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From Poverty to Prosperity: Intangible Assets, Hidden Liabilities and the Lasting Triumph over Scarcity Hardcover – November 17, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (November 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594032505
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594032509
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #836,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Over the past decades, many economists have sought to define the differences between the physical goods economy and the modern protocol economy. In 2000, Larry Summers, then the Treasury secretary, gave a speech called “The New Wealth of Nations,” laying out some principles. Leading work has been done by Douglass North of Washington University, Robert Fogel of the University of Chicago, Joel Mokyr of Northwestern and Paul Romer of Stanford.

Their research is the subject of an important new book called “From Poverty to Prosperity,” by Arnold Kling and Nick Schulz."
&mdash David Brooks in the New York Times, Dec 22 2009

&mdash Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, author of Real Change


"A fascinating blend of interviews and perspectives on where economics –and the economy—is heading. A must read for anyone who thinks economists are out of touch with today's reality or don't have competing compelling visions for the future."

&mdash Simon Johnson, Ronald Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, former chief economist at the IMF




About the Author

ARNOLD KLING was an economist on the staff of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1980-1986 and served as a senior economist at Freddie Mac from 1986-1994. Kling is the author of several books, most recently Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care. He lives in Maryland.

NICK SCHULZ is DeWitt Wallace Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Editor of American.com. He is a columnist for The Mint newspaper in Mumbai, India. His writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Slate, Forbes.com, among others. He lives with his wife and children in Maryland.

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Customer Reviews

Indeed, such research makes up the backbone of this book.
Joseph Sunde
The intangible assets are knowledge bases." P. 2 "Invisible liabilities, on the other hand, are institutional and cultural impediments to innovation and productivity.
William Dahl
Nonetheless, the book is fun to read and I have learned a lot about some of the modern economic ideas and concerns.
Dr. Bojan Tunguz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Ira E. Stoll VINE VOICE on December 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In an era that pays homage to globalization and the supposedly "flat" world, it's an astonishing thing: Crossing the border from Latin America into the United States "appears to make the productivity of a low-skilled worker ten to twenty times higher, based on the wage differential."

So say Arnold King and Nick Schulz in their new book, which may make a lot of readers think differently about the importance of national borders.

The authors quote the director emeritus of the McKinsey Global Institute, William Lewis: "We compared the construction industry in the U.S. with construction in Brazil and found that in Houston, the U.S. industry was using Mexican agricultural workers who were illiterate and didn't speak English. They were not any different than the agricultural workers who were building similar high rises in Sao Paolo, say. And yet they were working at four times the productivity."

More differences as a result of borders: The book reproduces a chart of per capita GDP in 1997 that places North Korea at $700, South Korea at $13,590. Communist China's GDP was $3,130 per capita, while Taiwan's was $14,170.

What accounts for the differences between countries with similar populations or geographies? The authors chalk it up to a kind of "software" that encourages entrepreneurship and growth: property rights, the rule of law, a government that isn't too intrusive. A strength of this book, though, is that rather than offering exclusively their own ideas, the authors get out and do some reporting, interviewing professors who have thought about these issues, including four Nobel laureate economists: Robert Fogel, Robert Solow, Douglass North, and Edmund Phelps.

Sometimes the people the authors interview say interesting things.
Read more ›
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Eric Mayforth on December 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In the 20th century, whenever markets failed, the temptation was to impose a big-government intervention to address the situation. In "From Poverty to Prosperity", Arnold Kling and Nick Schulz argue for an approach that they describe as "Economics 2.0", an approach in which free markets and even more innovation should be used whenever markets fail.

The authors believe that, in the future, the greatest improvements in living standards will come from ideas and inventions. They emphasize the role of innovation and describe some of the societal conditions that encourage it, such as strong property rights and the rule of law, and also describe other "rent-seeking" activities that stifle innovation, such as lobbying and the propping up of obsolete functions, activities that introduce distortions into the economy.

Trends in modern economics are examined, such as the move away from hard mathematical models toward a more sociological-based approach.

Because advances in the future will be innovation-driven, the question of intellectual property rights and how strongly they should be protected will come to the fore, and Kling and Schulz look at that important debate.

A great part of the book consists of interviews that the authors conduct with leading economists discussing these developments and issues, and there are numerous charts concerning GDP per capita, health, leisure, and life expectancy that show how well-off we are compared to the past. The book is a good study of where economics is going and is an important reminder of the importance of free markets, private property, and innovation.
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44 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Caplan on December 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It is the best book I've read all year, and the best book of interviews with economists ever written. Quick version: It's the book that Hayek should have written to convince critics and fence-sitters of the dynamic virtues of capitalism. Kling and Schulz elegantly weave together their original observations with truly awesome interviews. If you're going to read one nonfiction book of 2009 from cover to cover, it should be FP2P.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Alan Watson on December 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book, profound, eloquent, and easy to read. Everyone should read it.

The tables in Chapter 2 show how dramatically human wealth and welfare have improved over the past several centuries. The rest of the book explains some of the reasons for the improvement. In between the chapters are interviews with various economists, all of which are fresh and stimulating.

Ultimately the book makes a powerful case for viewing the economy as far more dynamic and creative than most of us appreciate. Wider understanding of the ideas in this book would go a long way toward improving the quality of our political discourse and our future prosperity.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Rudert on January 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book after reading David Brooks column in the NYTimes recommending it in December 2009. I didn't regret reading it. I am not an economist and found the book easy to understand yet highly insightful. It was my first exposure to the pwerful concept of intangible wealth and its importance in raising general welfare and alleviating poverty. I've always been aware of the importance of social capital and strong and benevolent institutions but not packaged together the way intangible wealth is. I've spend most of my career overseas working in lesser development countries and after reading the book I have a new analytical way of looking at things and why things the way they are. The chapter on financial intermediation provides a new insight on the financial collapse of September 2008. You will also be surprised at what the authors consider to be the primary challenges for continued economic growth and wealth creation in the future.
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