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The Hidden Wealth of Nations 1st Edition

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0745648026
ISBN-10: 0745648029
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Editorial Reviews


"The Hidden Wealth of Nations has a fresh idea that could catch on and transform the welfare state, while bypassing boring government machinery. The idea is that people could earn credits for caring for others. They could then use these to obtain help for themselves. The scheme could make possible a level and breadth of care that the real economy could not begin to afford. It is an idea that must be worth exploring further."
Financial Times

"In his excellent recent book on social capital, The Hidden Wealth of Nations, David Halpern argues that (for instance) smaller class sizes for the youngest pupils and extra tuition for those that struggle are far more important than 'the building of shiny new buildings or computer rooms to impress parents'. As a former chief analyst in Tony Blair's Strategy Unit, Halpern knows of what he speaks."
Daily Telegraph

"Scintillating and immensely well-informed and covers almost all aspects of public policy. Halpern is particularly interested in wellbeing and - as his remarks about heroin indicate - he seems to be using the book to flesh out all the policy ideas that he could not get past the prime minister."
Andrew Sparrow, Guardian political blog

"A collection of very interesting essays on an ambitiously broad set of topics, packed with fascinating facts and examples."
Journal of Social Policy

"The author introduces libertarian paternalism, defaults setting, the power of declarative norms, and the choice architecture promoted by Thaler and Sunstein. That sounds heavy, but Halpern has a way to make it read like the latest Ben Elton."

New York Times

"Chief analyst in the prime minister's Strategy Unit between 2001 and 2007, he has written many of the most influential papers in shaping the politics of happiness. Now outside government, he expresses his confidence that within 10-15 years, 'policymakers will routinely be using sophisticated well-being measures in judgements about policy'."
Mark Easton, BBC News

"Halpern has kept a wide audience in mind with this stimulating and detailed book. Kicking off with that question that everyone has an answer to - does money make you (or your nation) happy? - and romping through a range of dinner party topics from immigration to whether democracy is going down the pan, he draws out a range of evidence that is useful and often surprising."
New Start

"Halpern's discussion of the policy complexity of promoting social mobility or the issues relating to overcoming social exclusion is impressively nuanced and thought provoking."
Socialist Unity

"This important book... summarises the literature on life satisfaction, social capital, morality and values, and inequality, together with discussion of implications for public policy design."
British Religion in Numbers

"An excellent book - a thoughtful and informed analysis of a wide range of policy issues by someone who's 'been there'."
Richard Easterlin, University of Southern California

"An important book by someone who has been at the centre of public policy to improve our community. This book will do much to rebalance our priorities towards aspects of life which really matter."
Richard Layard, London School of Economics and Political Science


See all Editorial Reviews

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Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Polity; 1 edition (December 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745648029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745648026
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Amazon has recently been allowing longer reviews by inserting a "Read More" line and I hope this entire review is allowed to stand. It will also be posted to Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, with links back to Amazon.

This is a Beyond Five Stars book. Although there is a fine literature emerging on collective intelligence and wealth of networks--and there is an increasingly robust Open Money movement that also includes local communities currencies that keep the wealth local--this book does something no other book has done--it connects economics to humanity and reality and the intangibles in all their forms.

This is not a book about underground economies, barter systems, alternative currencies, etcetera. It is one of the most profoundly relevant, erudite yet easy to read books I have ever read, with a direct bearing on every aspect of human life, and in particular the role of government as it should be.

The author specifically quantifies the financial and intangible value of "getting along" and being part of deep interconnections that define, drive, and develop (or not) the hidden wealth of nations.

The author has provided an extraordinarily well-organized book with a well-presented series of chapters that left me with so many flyleaf notes I fear I will not do the author and the intellectual tour de force he has provided, quite enough justice. Buy and read the book. Tell elected and appointed leaders about it--or send them a copy of this review. [I am stunned that there are no other reviews as this book was published in 2009.
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