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The Economics of Enough: How to Run the Economy as If the Future Matters Hardcover – March 6, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (March 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691145180
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691145181
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,055,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

One of The Globalist's Top Books of 2012

"In The Economics of Enough, Ms. Coyle adds a knowledgeable and earnest voice to the discussion about how to face these global challenges. . . . Ms. Coyle has written a thoughtful, sprawling work. I was impressed with both the magnitude of the subject matter and her keen grasp of it. . . . Ms. Coyle has made an important contribution to the debate on the nature of global capitalism."--Nancy F. Koehn, New York Times

"If widely read, [The Economics of Enough] could be the twenty-first century's basic action manual. Like the best political philosophers, Coyle does not merely present the gritty reality of politics (or political economy, in this case), but gives us a roadmap out of our collective swamp. . . . [T]he book is a small wonder."--Joel Campbell, International Affairs

"If Diane Coyle had written The Economics of Enough a year or so earlier, a British political party would probably have laid claim to its message during the general election campaign. Coyle's work manages to tie up fiscal policy, inequality and the environment with reflection on civil society. . . . Coyle makes a particularly effective assault on the view, often espoused by environmentalists, that economic growth ought not to be a policy goal. While she calls for other objectives--and the use of a greater range of economic indicators--she backs output growth as an objective. . . . [A] solid guide to the challenges that face governments in the coming years."--Christopher Cook, Financial Times

"[Coyle's] insistence that the crisis is essentially one of trust and governance is important--and increasingly relevant as we watch our leaders failing to tame our reckless financial overlords."--Fred Pearce, Independent

"Coyle's book is . . . a very welcome supplement to the current dearth of smart, broad, readable economic literature now available. . . . Coyle's book demonstrates her to be a political economist of the old school, concerned with economics as a truly social science rather than an abstract mass of numbers. As such, her work merits a much broader audience than it is likely to find in our contemporary political climate."--Matthew Kaul, Englewood Review of Books

"Are we bankrupt? Are countries like the US and the UK in as much fiscal trouble as Ireland or Greece? The bond markets say no: they've been quite content to lend to the UK and the US as though they were low-risk propositions, and perhaps they are right. But even if bond holders look safe enough, citizens may not be. Diane Coyle, author of a new book, The Economics of Enough, argues that we need to go beyond traditional measures of debt in thinking about future obligations."--Tim Harford, Financial Times

"Designed for readers well versed in economics, this book offers an in-depth economic analysis that often supports arguments with philosophical and sociological theories."--Caroline Geck, Library Journal

"A grim view of the economic future and suggestions on how to sway the outcome, one penny at a time. In this highly informed analysis, British economist Coyle (The Soulful Science: What Economists Really Do and Why It Matters, 2007, etc.) posits as a given that 'more money makes people happier because it means they can buy more.' . . . There's much to digest here, so the author's tendency to repeat herself turns out to be helpful. Tough trekking but well worth the journey for this top-rank economist's view from the summit."--Kirkus Reviews

"There is much good sense in The Economics of Enough, and Coyle writes efficiently and clearly."--Howard Davies, Times Higher Education

"There is much good thinking and plenty of good ideas in [T]he Economics of Enough. For many readers, the book will be a revelation in just how far we have moved from economics as a 'dismal science.' For the business reader, Coyle opens up a range of broader perspectives that will on the one hand challenge the neo-classical economic purist and, on the other, will encourage those who want their children to have more than a dismal future, to do something about it."--Roger Steare, Management Today

"[A] compelling call to action. . . . [T]his is a powerful, thought-provoking and timely contribution to the debate on the evolving shape of society."--Dimitri Zenghelis, Nature Climate Change

"From the somewhat playful Sex, Drugs, and Economics, to the more descriptive and objective The Soulful Science, economist and superb writer (too often mutually exclusive categories) Coyle presents her more general assessment in The Economics of Enough. Blending economics with politics and philosophy, she uses the recent financial crisis as an opportunity to discuss a number of grander themes with the goal of a better and sustainable future, which is to be aided and abetted by a better-informed citizenry led not by an invisible hand but by the fist of more enlightened government."--Choice

"The Economics of Enough is a thoughtful and reflective piece addressing the interplay between governments and markets in a 'post-financial crisis' world. . . . The book serves as a good foil for deeper discussions of the implications and results of the attempt to govern complex systems--both political and economic--fraught with their inevitable webs of adverse selection, moral hazard, and self-interest."--Bradley K Hobbs, EH.Net

From the Inside Flap

"Unlike many economists, Diane Coyle is a worldly philosopher! This nuanced book provides an illuminating analysis of the key debate over whether free market growth translates into improvements in our quality of life."--Matthew E. Kahn, University of California, Los Angeles

"This is a fine and interesting book with plenty of wise observations and good economic analysis. Diane Coyle is a terrific writer and an economist of real insight."--Edward Glaeser, Harvard University

"Diane Coyle has written a lively and challenging examination of the state of economic policymaking following the recent financial crisis."--Nicholas Crafts, Warwick University

Customer Reviews

2.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By erin_nh on May 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So often books about economics and sustainability become doom-and-gloom rants about how we've messed everything up and now everyone needs to stop doing everything or we'll all perish. Generally these kinds of books offer little to no solutions for how we might actually remedy things and how those actions will affect not only ourselves, but the rest of the world as well. Diane Coyle manages to calmly examine multiple angles of many previously proposed, somewhat more extreme solutions offered by other sustainability economists, and leads the reader through realities and steps we'll have to deal with in the future. This is not an on-the-ground, what-can-I-do-in-my-neighborhood-now kind of book; it deals with the politics and policy challenges that we're all going to have to recognize as voters. While there are plenty of books that give neighborhood solutions for how we can help make a difference, serious and difficult changes are going to have to be made to the structure and function of our economic systems. Diane Coyle tells us about the social institutions that are going to need immediate action before they crush the budgets of various countries (for example, she describes how in the next 10-20 years one-third or more of the population of both Italy and Japan will be above the retirement age, no longer working or contributing to taxes, but in need of many expensive social services- America is not too far behind).

One of the things I enjoyed most about the book is how multi-national it is. Coyle is British and studied in America, but the world's economic woes are not the exclusive fault of these large economies; she uses examples from all over the world regarding growth, economic inequality, instability, trust in our leaders, and happiness as it relates to the economy. All of these issues will need to be addressed in an effort to try to find out how much is enough.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I just finished reading this book for a course I'm currently taking in graduate school. I'll start by providing an overview of the book itself before explaining why I gave it one star.

The Economics of Enough, by Diane Coyle, is broken up into three main parts. In the first, she discusses various challenges faced primarily by the OECD nations (Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, basically the developed economies of the world). The first chapter deals with the dilemma that although the OECD nations in general have seen an increase in GDP, the happiness of people in these countries has not increased proportionally. Next she tackles the problem of global climate change. She goes on to discuss one of the main themes of her book, which is the idea that the current generation should ensure that the world faced by the next generation is at least as good as the state in which we inherited it. In particular, she claims that we should leave for posterity the same amount, or higher, of social capital, natural resources, and economic well-being, as currently exists. In this chapter she also discusses the United States' growing national debt problem. In the next chapter she deals with fairness, primarily income inequality within a given country, as well as between the developed countries and the developing nations. Finally, she talks about the declining levels at which people trust each other.

In the next major section, she discusses the obstacles that need to be surmounted in order to tackle the aforementioned challenges. She starts by claiming that governments need a new measurement system that is more comprehensive than simply GDP, in order to fully take into account, for example, natural resources, social capital, etc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Samuel J. Sharp on January 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book catalogs a number of current challenges - climate change, government debt, aging demographics, income inequality - notes the values implicated by these challenges, and concludes by offering a few steps to begin addressing these problems. Coyle seems genuinely interested in talking openly and honestly about these issues. For example, in discussing the unsustainable government debt levels in developed countries, Coyle concludes that people must accept either government defaults or reduced public pension and healthcare benefits. Few commentators speak this candidly about such delicate issues.

Along the way, Coyle dismisses those who argue that economic growth is unnecessary or undesirable, and she embraces markets as an indispensable tool for coordinating the array of knowledge required to resolve the challenges she identifies. The "Economics of Enough" does not mean learning to live in a no-growth environment. It means enjoying the benefits of growth today, but also taking the long view and ensuring such growth is sustainable.

The book is written at a very basic level which makes it broadly accessible, but potentially irritating for readers who are well read in economics. Because publisher is an academic press, I expected a bit more depth. Although her tone is very objective throughout the book, Coyle's disdain for bankers and their high compensation gets a bit stale. On page 283 she claims it is "nothing short of scandalous" that banks "exploit customer inertia ... by requiring people to make an effort to get the best rate of interest available for them." Her proposal is to force banks to automatically sweep funds above a certain threshold from a checking account into a savings account.
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