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Fubarnomics: A Lighthearted, Serious Look at America's Economic Ills Hardcover – August 24, 2010

3.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Wright has the courage to offer solutions, ... novel answers to familiar problems. -- L.A. Times


"Freakonomics, meet Fubarnomics. A hilarious book that defines an era only minds like Wright's can get us out of." --Amity Shlaes, author, The Forgotten Man and senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations.

About the Author

Robert E. Wright (Sioux Falls, SD) is the Nef Family Chair of Political Economy at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. For many years he taught business, economic, and financial history at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He is also a curator for the Museum of American Finance. He is the coauthor (with David Cowen) of Financial Founding Fathers: The Men who Made America Rich and One Nation under Debt: Hamilton, Jefferson, and the History of What We Owe. His articles have appeared in Barron’s, the Los Angles Times, Forbes.com, Moody’s Economy.com, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Reason, among others. He has been a guest on NPR, C-SPAN, The Lou Dobbs Show, the BBC, and Larry Kane: Voice of Reason.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 333 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616141913
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616141912
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,419,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wright's right, our nation's economy is f*ed up big time. Fubarnomics is valuable because it's entertaining to read and his approach to our problems is unique. Instead of saying, I'm a Republican so let's stomp on regulators or I'm a Democrat so rich people and big businesses all suck, he says I'm an economic historian so I can trace where markets faltered and where governments messed up. And that leads him to some very interesting policy proposals that get at the causes of problems. The ideas in the book just might reduce a lot of waste in construction, colleges and universities, hospitals, and government. If only people in power would listen and learn and do the right thing for the American people instead of their own wallets and campaign coffers the economy might turn around!
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Format: Hardcover
Despite desires to the contrary, we are far from arriving at what President Obama described as a `post-partisan' world. This is but one of many reasons that the arrival of Robert Wright's book "Fubarnomics: A Lighthearted, Serious Look at America's Economic Ills" is such a welcome new addition to the societal | economic | political discourse that is raging now.

Wright's (well documented) belief is that far from the name calling on the left and right, the current state of F'ed up (Google: FUBAR) economics is the fault of both aisles of government, combined with an ample dollop of corporate interference that has created a climate where laws work at odds with one another to create a systemic problem deeply rooted in our economy of today.

A typical example of this Fubar-state would be in the field of agriculture, where government pays subsidies to farmers for lost crop yields while at the same time destroying crop surpluses to keep prices shored up. Wright casts a wide swath as he examines problems related to everything from Social Security, to the home mortgage business, to custom home construction to health care, all the while systematically explaining how we got into the conundrums of today and, in his final chapter, how we might best get out of the ditch.

No field is left unscathed as Wright's analysis goes back hundreds of years to shed light on both current day malaises as well as primary examples from the past (slavery, the Civil War, the Great Depression) to illustrate to the reader how competing interests can subvert systems to the point where few if any are realizing the goods intended within these programs and organizations.
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Format: Hardcover
I checked this one out at the library because I really enjoy books on Economics, Psychology, and History, and thought it might prove entertaining. But unlike some of my more recent happy discoveries like "What to Expect When No One Is Expecting" and "Happy Money" which talk about real issues in the economic/psychology field with real-world personal repercussions, this book comes across as a person who has a little knowledge and thinks he knows everything, shouting all the louder as his arguments become more and more ridiculous. It's not a terrible book, it's just not particularly clever, entertaining, or accurate. I didn't read it all the way through, because, even though I expected to disagree with it, I did not expect to be both bored with it and doubting the source of it's arguments.

As I started the book the author quickly jumped on the blame bandwagon for popular targets. He claims to be on no one's side, but he's definitely not interested in hearing both sides of the story. I felt myself becoming offended because I have been an employee of a City Government, and my father owned his own construction business for many years. The author takes delight in pointing out how terrible all Government is, despite saying repeatedly that the U.S. is the greatest country on Earth (huh?). He goes on and on about how corrupt the construction industry is, as if every private construction business that does "custom" work were filled with pirates and thieves.
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Format: Hardcover
Robert Wright covers a lot of territory in this book, from slavery to Social Security to health care and much more. He makes some surprising contentions (e.g.he says economic conditions in 2008 were very similar to those prior to the American Revolution, such as low interest rates), but generally backs them up with solid reasoning. The result of Wright's unconventional thinking is an enjoyable work whose philosophy I would describe as pragmatic libertarianism. Wright generally favors free market solutions (he thinks Social Security and health insurance should be privatized), but he's not quite at the Milton Friedmanesque extreme anti-government position.

While I disagree with some of his proposals (e.g. I don't think making patients pay more out of pocket for health care is a good idea), I nonetheless learned a lot from Fubarnomics and highly recommend it to liberals and conservatives alike.
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