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The Way the World Works (Gateway Contemporary) Paperback – July 1, 1998

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Product Details

  • Series: Gateway Contemporary
  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Gateway Editions; Fourth Edition,Fourth Edition edition (July 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0895263440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895263445
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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109 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Todd Winer on August 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
"The Way The World Works" is a brilliant andprovocative book that illuminates the reader on a full range of political, economic, and social issues. Mr. Wanniski alerts us to what he describes as "the global electorate." The author sees human civilization as an unfolding story where societies find the best political and economic systems through a trial and error process. This process, which continues through the present, is largely progressive. "The global electorate" has rewarded systems that work, like American democracy, and dissolved systems that don't work like Soviet communism. History moves forward to suit the needs of its people. When Mr. Wanniski wrote this book in the late 1970s, such ideas as "historical progress" seemed out-of-date. Assertions of Western superiority over other political systems seemed naive. After all, the Communist empire was expanding into remote corners of the globe like Afghanistan and Nicaragua while the United States and Europe sputtered economically and splintered socially. But from his home in New Jersey, Mr. Wanniski anticipated the revival of the West. Led by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, the capitalist democracies rediscovered the secrets of their success - classical "supply-side" economics. Much of the book articulates current economic issues through the prism of supply-side economics. Mr. Wanniski offers keen insight into the origins of the Great Depression and the causes behind the oil price surge of the 1970s. You may be surprised. He is especially persuasive in articulating the need for tax cuts. Mr. Wanniski argues that tax cuts pay for themselves by encouraging more entrepreneurship, unleashing more economic growth, and thus funneling more tax revenue into the Treasury.Read more ›
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By D. Swager on May 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent look at the world through the view of supply-side economics. Jude Wanniski is very insightful in using supply-side theory to model real world situations and the conclusions have for the most part been borne out in the 20 years since the book was first published. Unfortunately, Mr. Wanniski can be somewhat obtuse (at least to me) in his writing style. While this book does not provide a complete nor concise text of supply-side theory, it does provide an excellent starting point and a reference for comparing various economic theories. As someone who subscribes to the Austrian school defined by Menger, Bohn-Balwerk and Von Mises, I found much in common and some interesting new perspectives within this book. Anyone who enjoys studying economics should read this important and impressive book. Mr. Wanniski provides continuing information through the Supply-Side University at his website (as of May 2001): [...]
There are two common misconceptions about supply-side that still pervade common thought. The first is confusion between supply-side theory and what was packaged as supply-side economics during the 1980 U.S. Presidential campaign. The latter was merely a limited set of policy positions, mainly dealing with tax issues, designed to combat the prevailing condition of the day known as stagflation. The prevailing Keynesian theory did not even consider such a condition possible and hence provided no solution to the problem. Hence the harsh and caustic rhetoric that was used to finally displace the Keynesian "Tax and Spend" policies of the day. [Keynes never intended for deficit spending to go on forever and in his defense, F.A.
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67 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Corey on November 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
Mr. Wanniski spends most of this volume examining world events in light of supply-side theory. He covers a remarkable range, from the beginnings of history to the present century; I have never read as cogent an explanation of both the Great Depression and the stagflation of the Carter years.
This book scares the Keynesian establishment, and it should--they are gradually going the way of the Newtonians. The only criticism of Wanniski (and of supply-side in general) seems to be ad hominem--some of which may be read in other reviews here (the nonsense written by Donald about Hoover and the Depression demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the book's major theme).
Even irretrievable leftists, though, can find much in this book over which to ruminate. Wanniski is notably non-partisan and seems willing to share his ideas with whomever will listen. I found his group's web site after reading his book, and he posts a daily letter which is usually just as absorbing. If you have doubts about ordering the book, go to the site and read a few of his memos.
Over time, I think that _The Way the World Works_ will join _The Wealth of Nations_, _Das Kaptial_, and _The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money_ as one of the great treatises on economics--and it is by far the most fun to read.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd A. Conway on June 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
This may be the most revolutionary work on Political Economy since Kark Marx, less in terms of economic theory than in terms of political import. In ways that often parallel James Buchannan's "Public Choice" school of thought, Wanniski looks at people as an electorate, both economically and politically, and he lays out a theory which shows how the decisions of the electorate are translated into policy. It was by reading this book that I was first exposed to the diea that even dictatorships could be a kind of democracy, if "rule by the people" can be taken to mean that anyone, regardless of birth, may aspire to the top job without revolution or a coup d'etat. By this standard, for example, the USSR was democratic, if one examines the up-from-the-bottom origins of men like Khruschev.
The economics of the thesis are called "supply-side," and this is the first modern, book-length exposition of the doctrine, but in reality the tenents are really a restatement of Classical economics. Adam Smith would find little to argue with here. As an admirer of the Austrian School, I find Wanniski to be philosophically a very close fit, although not a libertarian in the Rothbardian sense; he would be closer in spirit to Wilhelm Rhopke ("A Humane Economy"). The idea that tax policy alters economic behavior is not new, but after 40 years of Keynesean domination (admittedly, Keynes would be opposed to much of what is offered in his name, and he considered himself a Classical economist) the ideas emerge with a freshness that was more striking in 1978 than in the post-Reagan/Kemp era.
One of the most pleasant things aboutthe book is the lack of hostility in its' pages, and the absence of partisanship. One gets the impression that Mr. Wanniski would be just as pleased if the liberal wing of the Democratic Party had triumphed on a supply-side platform, so long as they faithfully implemented the policy.
-Lloyd A. Conway
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