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The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protectionism Updated Edition Paperback – May 1, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0130870520 ISBN-10: 0130870528 Edition: Rev Update

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 116 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; Rev Update edition (May 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0130870528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0130870520
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Brilliantly conceived."—Martin Wolf, Financial Times

"Gather around all of you who have been flummoxed by concepts like comparative advantage and purchasing power parity, puzzled about the difference between a tariff and a quota, or confused about which is better—fair trade or free trade. Russell Roberts explains the mysteries of global life in a heartwarming tale you won't soon forget."—Susan Lee, The Wall Street Journal

"Russell Roberts' clever allegory clearly points out the fundamental danger threatening free trade: the favoring of the few at the expense of the many. More importantly, he makes a difficult situation understandable…and enjoyable!"—Fred Smith, CEO, Federal Express

"…Puts the complex…issues surrounding…theemerging global economy into understandable terms. The ending is a surprise, the journey a pleasure. And the payoff for the reader is a broader, more vivid appreciation of trade issues."—Doug Harbrecht, Business Week

From the Publisher

David Ricardo comes to life to discuss international trade theory and policy with Ed Johnson, a fictional American television manufacturer seeking protection from Japanese televisions. Their dialogue is a sophisticated, rigorous discussion of virtually every major issue in trade theory and policy. To illustrate the positive and normative effects of international trade and trade policy, Ricardo takes the reader and Ed Johnson into the future to see an America of free-trade and an America of complete self- sufficiency. The fictional element brings these topics to life so that students gain the intuition and understanding of how trade changes the lives of people and the industries they work in. The fundamental intuition of how international markets function including general equilibrium effects and policy analysis is provided. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Like most economists, Roberts makes the case for free trade in terms of efficiency.
P. Murray
A real eye opener for free-traders, and a wonderful teaching tool for those "in the know".
Julieanne Wilson
These books provide interesting reading to help supplement learning about economics.
redsfan1358

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By James Schoonmaker on May 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is, as the title suggests, an allegory with the notion of free trade at its center. It also not-so-subtly introduces the lay reader, for whom this book was written, to the arguments supporting free trade.
It is written in the style of It's A Wonderful Life, in that the main character, resembling the American Everyman in his doubts about the merits of free trade, wishes that things could have been different. He is led on a journey of what might have been. Roberts masterfully mixes in macroeconomic and international economic theory in the process, allowing the reader to make their own decisions on the merits of free trade, rather than simply being cowed by the picture he paints of a protectionist United States.
For those who are familiar with both macroeconomic and international economic theory, this book won't open your eyes. It does, however, provide a framework for explaining the merits of free trade to others. For those unfamiliar with economic theory, however, it is probably the most painless and enjoyable ways to become familiar with the territory.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By P. Murray on October 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
Russell Roberts aims to persuade the intelligent layman that the stuff of wealth is goods and services (not money or jobs) and that the way to create wealth is through specialization and trade, which he calls the "roundabout way to wealth." The book is better than a novel. The author creates a dialogue between the late economist David Ricardo and fictional businessman Ed Johnson. It's easy to imagine that Ricardo represents Roberts as professor and Johnson represents every student who ever raised a challenging question in his class. One can learn a lot about international trade from this dialectic approach.
The author uses some numbers and case studies to illustrate what happens when trade is free and when it is not. The "rigor" is there even if the elaborate geometry and mathematics usually found in economics textbooks are not. Like most economists, Roberts makes the case for free trade in terms of efficiency. Ultimately though, his message becomes a moral one and a challenge. "The real choice" declares David Ricardo (Russell Roberts), "is between a dynamic world and a static world---a world of encouraging people to dream and acquire the skills to make those dreams come true and a world of encouraging people to be content with what they have and to dream less." The Choice is about as good in spirit and persuasiveness as Frederic Bastiat's Economic Sophisms.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Brandl on December 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
Roberts does an excellent job a getting across some very complex international trade concepts in a very enjoyable way. I recommend this book to people at all levels economists, like myself; students of economics; businesspeople; working people; journalists; policymakers; everyone!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By redsfan1358 on July 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
Required reading for my MBA program. A short but good story. Interesting. Read in one day.

Recommend this book, along with "naked economics: undressing the dismal science" by Charles Wheelan and "The Undercover Economist" by Tim Harford. These books provide interesting reading to help supplement learning about economics. All three books are more interesting than economics textbooks filled with charts, graphs, curves, shifts, etc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Granoff on March 24, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...that free trade benefits EVERYBODY in the long run. If you have doubts about the matter, buy the book. Roberts analyzes every critique of open trade policies and systematically, in thoroughly entertaining fashion, dismantles them. If you're a frustrated free-trader in a sea of protectionists who talk in platitudes, BUY THIS BOOK FOR THEM! It worked for me!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
Roberts puts things in a language that all can understand. Simply said this book is a must read. Roberts provides in depth examples making it not only easy to follow but also easy understand. Roberts makes the basic foundation of economics simple. It's a great and easy read! A must have!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ethan Anderson on January 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book clearly states the case for free trade without falling back on dense economic theory and technical jargon. Especially with the protests and controversy surrounding globalization and trade today, it is more important than ever for people to understand that free trade makes us all better off. In fact, there is no better way to improve the lot of two countries (and their overall welfare) that to reduce trade barriers between them and allow each to concentrate more energy and resources on their comparative strengths. The Choice delivers this message clearly and articulately in the context of a fun and simple story that even the most protectionist leaning person would have difficulty refuting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Donald J. Boudreaux on February 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
With THE CHOICE, Russell Roberts has written the 20th-century's finest, most eloquent, most unique, most accessible, and deepest defense of free trade. Even though I'm trained as an economist, and despite having taught international trade for many years, I learned much when I read this 104-page work. For example, never have I read an explanation of the optimal tariff (and of its limitations) that is as clear as that which is presented in THE CHOICE. But the most remarkable trait of THE CHOICE is its humanity -- its successful effort to destroy the myth that free trade benefits only the few and makes life precarious for the many. In every sense, this work is superb.
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