22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish "It's a Wonderful Life" were more like this
I don't really consider this a work of fiction, and neither does the author. It is in a fiction format, but its primary purpose is to make the case against protectionism, and for free markets. Roberts does this beautifully, raising and dismissing almost every argument for protectionism, and doing this with charm, wit, and almost a complete lack of venom.
Published on August 24, 2007 by Ryan Alger
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It was for an economics class
The book was cheaper on here than buying from the schools store, I bought and read some of it. If was what it was, a book. It came quickly. This is not my usual type of read so I couldnt recommend this to anyone but students.
Published 8 months ago by Xbox gamers = REAL GAMERS unli...
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish "It's a Wonderful Life" were more like this,
This review is from: The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection (3rd Edition) (Paperback)I don't really consider this a work of fiction, and neither does the author. It is in a fiction format, but its primary purpose is to make the case against protectionism, and for free markets. Roberts does this beautifully, raising and dismissing almost every argument for protectionism, and doing this with charm, wit, and almost a complete lack of venom.
The story follows the time-traveling journey and conversation of Ed Johnson (a businessman looking for protection form Japanese competition) and his guardian angle David Ricardo (modeled after the little-known economist.) Together they travel to the future, back to the past, and through alternate timelines to demonstrate Robert's point.
Through this journey, Ricardo corrects some critical mistakes in economic theory; such as the `zero-sum theory', misconceptions on the nature of supply and demand, the role and meaning of wages and `real' wages, the mythical "dangers" of a trade deficit, what imports and exports really are, and most of all, dismisses the myth that trade with other countries hurts the American worker overall (which he admits, in a smaller sense, it sometimes does.)
The book takes some leaps of logic, which the author fully admits in the back of the book; such as the town of Star (Ed's hometown) being unchanged in the `protectionist' universe. These little plot devices are not meant to represent reality, but demonstrate more abstract points, in that sense, it is more like a metaphor.
Overall, the book makes one of the strongest cases ageists the practicality of protectionism that I have ever heard. He also fits some talk as to the moral case against it, that it is really an issue of freedom, and no one person has the right to force another in to a certain kind of behavior (A.K.A., buying American products) and that "America" is all about dreams and growth, something not very possible in the protectionist world
My only complaint would be that I wanted more elaboration on some sections of the `conversation'; such as the `dumping' segment. Robert's makes a good case that dumping is not really practical for anybody, that the `dumper' would have to make up for lost profits from lowering their prices. What I don't understand is....what if a company could cover their lost profits in profits from another product, or section of their company (Such as a department store lowering prices on televisions and allowing the produce-department to cover the loss.) I wish Robert's would have gone in to slightly more detail.
There are several section of the book like this; but I want to make clear is that Robert's never claims that this is the ultimate source for `anti-protectionist' arguments, he even suggests further reading in the back of the book, something all reasonable people should do if they are truly interested in understanding the complexities of economics.
I love Robert's style of writing, his books are not just informative, but entertaining, something very hard to achieve for this subject matter. The book was good enough that I ordered His other book, The Invisible Heart, form Amazon. After seeing what he did to It's a Wonderful life, I can't wait to see what he does for a romance novel.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How free trade benefits us all,
This review is from: The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection (3rd Edition) (Paperback)This is the third edition of Roberts' novel about the benefits of free trade, using "It's a Wonderful Life" as his template. David Ricardo "touches down" from heaven to earth (like Clarence), to help convince Ed (George Bailey) that he should not support protectionism. The previous versions focused more on threats that were perceived from Japan and Nafta. Here, Roberts uses India and China as his examples.
To me, one of the most appealing things about Roberts' work is his honesty. He doesn't pretend that economic change doesn't hurt, but he also focuses on the benefits in the longer term. He writes in such a pleasant style that economics becomes accessible to people who are "math phobic."
His other book, The Invisible Heart, is at least as good as this one.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful Primer on the Free Market System,
This review is from: The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection (3rd Edition) (Paperback)This tiny book is an excellent primer for anyone who wanted to know more about Free Market Economics. It does a very good job of explaining tariffs and subsidies and how that affects the market as a whole. The book is written like a story, with one character trying to convince another of something that he shouldn't do (you'll have to read it to find out what). Overall, I think this is a good book for juvenile and adult alike who know very little to nothing about the economics of a free market.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Choice: A Fine Choice,
This review is from: The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection (3rd Edition) (Paperback)Russell Roberts has taken the concept of free trade and made it understandable. I originally purchased this book for my college International Economics class, but it would work for high school economics classes as well. It is easy to read and has well rounded characters. As a future educator I would certainly recommend this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars fun reading!,
This review is from: The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection (3rd Edition) (Paperback)This is a great book if you're trying to understand the big picture of trading. Yes it's fictional but a great way to read about economics and enjoy it. I think everyone learns differently and this is a great way to diverge from what can be dry and boring textbook learning to something more enjoyable. I'll use the book's example and say the best thing to compare it to is "It's a Wonderful Life" only econ style!
4.0 out of 5 stars A clever way to teach some fundamental economic laws,
This review is from: The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection (3rd Edition) (Paperback)This book creatively argues for the benefits of free-trade over trade restrictions and import tariffs. It has a fictionalized story-line borrowed from Dickens' A Christmas Carol where the father of free trade David Ricardo takes a businessman through time and space showing the consequences of trade barriers and import restrictions. It gives the reader some good perspective to combat the demagoguing the politicians of both parties do over topics such as "shipping jobs overseas."
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book: couldn't be simpler or more entertaining,
This review is from: The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection (3rd Edition) (Paperback)This book explains the dynamics of trade and tariffs in an easy to understand and entertaining format. The book is short and you can quickly read it in a few hours. The story is literally Free Trade Meets "It's a Wonderful Life." I'm so glad I read this book, now I actually understand the different arguments for and against free trade, for and against tariffs, etc. Everyone should read this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheezy, but the best book to explain world economics available,
This review is from: The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection (3rd Edition) (Paperback)Economics is perhaps the most misunderstood but most popularly debated "field" second only to Politics.
This book is the current best effort to have an easy to understand resource to train the masses on how economists think and how world trade and currency work.
The Choice is extremely cheesy and written in such clear, simple language it reads rather harsh so it's not a book meant for nostalgic re-reads or for rainy day entertainment (although I find it incredibly entertaining having discovered it 3 years into my economics degree). The stories, characters and dialogue are simply tools to explain abstract ideas to all audiences. Roberts admittedly simplified the language for that purpose. But the information and explanations are there for nearly every debated topic on international trade and economic policy.
In essence, this book has the power to be more effective in preparing a mind to understand the fundamentals of economic thinking than most 101 level Econ classes. It's pure content broken down with the use of storytelling, not mind numbing graphs. The Choice should be required reading the first week of any micro/macro entry-level econ class so students don't spend the semester quietly trying to figure out why supply and demand curves are not curved at all when their teacher draws them and misses some of the larger lessons about economics.
My Professor who assigned the reading to me in college is actually a good friend of Russel Roberts and is mentioned in the thank you section: Michael McElroy of NCSU. What a tremendous experience learning from him was for me.
4.0 out of 5 stars Short, Accessible defense of Free Trade / Ricardo,
This review is from: The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection (3rd Edition) (Paperback)Content Summary: This book is a fairly effective defense of Free Trade, and focuses upon a summary of the ideas of David Ricardo. It is set as a imaginary dialogue between Ricardo, and a fictional U.S. television manufacturer. Ricardo is trying to redeem his lost soul (very much modeled after the Jimmy Stewart picture, "It's a Wonderful Life") by defending his ideas about free trade and comparative advantage to the U.S. businessman. The intent is to defeat the idea that tariffs and trade barrier protectionism helps.
Analytical Review: For those not highly motivated to read Ricardo's economic classic ("On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation'), this is a very readable alternative that simplifies his ideas. It presents the free trade arguments in a very accessible format. Many examples are very clear and compelling, others not so much. Whether you with free trade mantra or not, this is a good, clear defense to be read, digested, and reflected upon.
4.0 out of 5 stars Learn economics thru fiction,
This review is from: The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection (3rd Edition) (Paperback)It won't win any literary awards, but this is a novel way to explain economic concepts (no pun intended). Late British economist David Ricardo guides the protagonist like a Dickensian ghost of economic present and alternate futures. Along the way, their dialogue hits on a variety of topics related to free trade and protectionism: comparative advantage, outsourcing, tariffs and quotas, trade deficits, fair trade, and globalization. It's a quick read, which may help you understand economics better than traditional teaching methods.
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The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection (3rd Edition) by Russell Roberts (Paperback - October 8, 2006)