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Nariman Behravesh
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

With technology and globalization advancing at breakneck speed, the world economy becomes more complex by the day. Activists, politicians, and media enablers—conservative and liberal, left and right, informed and just plain wrong—consistently seize this opportunity to present woefully simplistic explanations and hype the latest myths regarding issues affecting the economy. Their purpose is not to educate but to advocate and, in many cases involving the media, manufacture outrage to drive ratings higher. So, where can you find the truth about today’s economy and how it affects you? Turn off the TV, put down the magazine, log off the Internet—and read this book.

Spin-Free Economics places the current economic debates where they belong: in the middle of the road. With no political ax to grind, Nariman Behravesh takes a centrist approach to explain how today’s economic issues affect individuals and businesses. Along the way, he debunks myths regarding the effects of immigration, unemployment, regulation, productivity, education, health care, and other headline issues. Spin-Free Economics answers today’s most pressing questions, including

  • Will more regulation prevent financial crises?

  • Are outsourcing and foreign ownership good or bad for Americans?

  • Should we fear or embrace Asia’s emerging economic powers?

  • Is aid or trade the solution to global poverty?

The vast majority of economists, Behravesh points out, are independent analysts who are in agreement on many of today’s issues. Unfortunately, the subject has been taken over by opportunists, whose answers to the questions above invariably fall along partisan lines. Spin-Free Economics is a breath of fresh air for those seeking an alternative to the chatter of ideologues and cynics. Rejecting the manipulative approach of “sound-bite economics,” Nariman Behravesh uses facts and insight tempered by clearheaded reason to present the most accurate assessment of the subject to date.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nariman Behravesh is Chief Economist for Global Insight, an economic and financial analysis firm. He previously served as Chief International Economist at Standard & Poor's.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1751 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (October 21, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001KM0YA8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #843,235 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful introduction to economic policy November 12, 2008
I was shocked by how much I liked this book. I think of it as a kind of contemporary *Capitalism and Freedom* (Milton Friedman), although it comes across as less partisan and the coverage is much more global. I agreed with almost everything the author said and I thought the framing was effective and spot on just about all the time.

Many economists may already know too much to be the appropriate audience here (but many still need this book), but if you wish to give someone an economics book as a gift, or as an introduction to thinking about economic policy, here you go. I'm still astonished at how remarkably good this book is and yes I did read it all the way through. Greg Mankiw wrote a very nice blurb for it.

Tyler Cowen
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating and truly "spin-free" February 21, 2009
Like many readers, I have had trouble understanding the many policy nuances associated with the current economic crisis. Glancing at the book, I doubted whether it could really be "spin-free". We hear so much partisan rhetoric on the mainstream news channels masquerading as objective. I noted, however, that the book was recommended by the both the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and by Harvard economist N. Gregory Mankiw. So I picked up a copy.

I'm pleased to say that "Spin-Free Economics" is an excellent, eye-opening primer on a wide variety of economic front-burner issues. It is clearly written and conveys information rapidly. It is, indeed, as free of spin as one could hope for. Idealogues on the Right and the Left will find some conclusions irritating. For example, Behravesh shows that there is little correlation between illegal immigration and job loss, and that while health care for illegals approaches $9B annually, we spend $12B combating it. He recommends a simplified guest worker program to accommodate seasonal labor demand. At the same time, he shows that income taxes penalize positive behavior, and if taxation is necessary, so-called "sin taxes" (consumption taxes) are preferable to income tax. Similarly, the author shows that the Earned Income Tax Credit has been far more beneficial to poor families than welfare transfer payments. Behravesh explains why Europe exhibits far slower growth and much higher unemployment than the US. Other topics include Deregulation, which can be very effective if implemented intelligently, or disastrous if implemented poorly. He shows how technology fuels job creation rather than unemployment. He recommends, on many occasions, that policies designed to alleviate the pain of displaced workers should "protect workers, not jobs".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The world economy is becoming increasingly more complicated and SPIN-FREE ECONOMICS: A NO-NONSENSE, NONPARTISAN GUIDE TO TODAY'S GLOBAL ECONOMIC DEBATES takes away the politics as it considers how modern economics affects everyone. From effects of immigration and unemployment to considering regulation in the face of economic crisis and policies that influence and possibly harm world markets, SPIN-FREE ECONOMICS is outstanding reading both for general-interest audiences interested in global economics and for college-level business students debating the economic impact of globalization processes.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book! January 26, 2009
So, I hear people say things all the time like "The rich get richer, the poor keep getting poorer". Is it true? This book explains: No.

I've talked to people who are positively PANICKED that we will suddenly run out of oil, causing an immediate global recession. Is it likely? You can find out here (hint: no).

Is there more poverty now than 50 years ago in the U.S.? (No, far less). How about worldwide? (50 years ago over half the world was in poverty, it's now closer to 20%).

These are fascinating facts to anyone who is trying to sincerely sort through political jabber. The book provides facts and opinions along with the reigning principles behind the tidbits.

I loved this book because I'm not an economist, yet I hear claims about the economy all the time. I've never taken Econ 101. So I got some really insightful understanding from this book, allowing me to look at issues from a different point of view. It's written at a high level, summarizing issues, with very simple charts and concepts.

There may be other economists who quibble with some details of Dr. Behravesh's opinions, even in reviews online. But academics often disagree about details, while conceding that the bulk of what was said is correct. I have heard Dr. Behravesh speak about economics - he tours the world to consult for businesses who want to understand possible future economic trends. He is highly skilled in the ability to summarize and explain current economic trends and thinking.

Behravesh has been rated consistently in the very top few by various newspapers (USA Today and Wall Street Journal) for the accuracy of his predictions.

Definitely worth reading!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshingly undismal outlook on the dismal science October 9, 2010
By Floyd
This book is a great introduction and overview of the various concepts of economic principles and presented in a fashion any layperson to the field can appreciate and absorb.

Don't listen to the critics who claim that this book is anything but spin-free. If this book is right-wing spin, then economic principles themselves are right-wing. But that's actually not the case, the problem is that if the reader comes at this book from a far-left-wing bias, then he is going to see nothing but adversarial arguments because economics as a field of academics doesn't conform to, or confirm, the tenets of extreme liberal principles. Go back to reading "Das Kapital" if its economic falsehoods you want.

The same goes for those coming from the extreme right; there are plenty of economic arguments made that will make the extreme conservative froth at the mouth in anger, especially the parts dealing with healthcare, education, and immigration. But to me, when both extremist groups see a dangerously-opposed viewpoint in this book then it means that Mr. Behravesh is hitting all the right points.

Some of the things in this book will challenge your thinking, regardless of your ideological inclinations. That should be the point of reading it. It certainly made me consider my outlook on things I had accepted as truths. And that's what it should do to any reader who rational and reasonable.

This is the most comprehensive book on economics I have ever read (and I've read plenty). If you need a good starting point in the field of economics or just want to put your assumptions to the test, this is the book to buy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This is a great book in my opinion for anyone wanting an objective analysis of macroeconomics. This is one book I'll hold on to after I'm done with it in my econ class.
Published on April 6, 2011 by TheJaded
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, until the end anyway.
The book is a very good summation of why markets work - and why interfering, even with good intentions, will often be counterproductive... with a few exceptions. Read more
Published on March 18, 2010 by W. Volckmann
1.0 out of 5 stars Simplistic arguments
Behravesh is way too quick to make his points - not that I necessarily disagree with many of his arguments, but I found myself questioning many of the conclusions and ultimately... Read more
Published on December 29, 2009 by D. Foussianes
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Summary of Mainstream Economic Thought
Behravesh covers the general consensus of economists on many hot button issues including health care, energy policy, immigration, tax levels, education, minimum wage, monopolies,... Read more
Published on July 15, 2009 by HVeinott
1.0 out of 5 stars Pure spin
This book is "spin-free" in the same sense that Fox News is "fair and balanced." In other words, it is pure right-wing spin in favor of "free" markets. Read more
Published on June 9, 2009 by Random Reader
2.0 out of 5 stars Same Old Thinking!
Behravesh contends that the subject of economics has been taken over by opportunists whose answers to questions invariably fall along partisan lines. I agree. Read more
Published on April 18, 2009 by Loyd E. Eskildson
1.0 out of 5 stars Be wary of titles that begin with "Spin-Free"
This book is not spin-free. This book mostly re-iterates the conservative political view of economics that we've been hearing since the Reagan and Gingrich "revolutions". Read more
Published on March 17, 2009 by BlueCross Boss
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good!
There were no problems with my purchase, the book was in excellent condition and it got to me in good time.
Published on February 24, 2009 by A. White
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
The book was in perfect condition and was sent to me on time. Couldn't be happier!
Published on February 7, 2009 by J. Freund
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable faith in our (mainly) market system
More regulation will not necessarily prevent financial crises. Japan and Korea were highly regulated yet they suffered financial crises. Read more
Published on February 2, 2009 by andris virsnieks
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