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The Commanding Heights : The Battle for the World Economy Paperback – Large Print, April 2, 2002
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As a whole the book is absolutely worth reading, however keep in mind that the writers develope a certain point of view. The reader is left with the impression that after the free market revolutions of the 1980s Keynes was put to flight and it is obvious that what we need are even more open markets and that this is the solution to all the world's problems. Keep in mind that there are some goods and services that the market simply cannot deliver and like most cycles in history this debate is probably not settled.
As for their explanations on globalization they are pretty much on the mark. Obviously free markets are what is needed in most parts of the world and the move towards them will absolutely make the world a better place in the LONG run, but maybe a much less agreeable place in the short.
There are numerous supplements that I would recommend with this book, but I won't list them here. Make this a part of your journey to understand the wider world, but do not make the mistake of thinking this is the final answer. There is much more to learn and understand than this book offers. Great place to start however.
"The Commanding Heights" is a book of economic history after World War II. The book covers the economic transformation of regions or countries such as U.S.A., Western Europe, Central Europe, Britain, China, India, Latin America and Southeast Asia. The background and achievement of key politicans and economists are also contained extensively. The messages of the books are clear - Free market economic system is better than planned economy and government's role should be shifted from market player to referee.
While I agree that the book is highly readable, some pieces are missing, still. Readers cannot find story of developed African countries such as South Africa and Egypt. If you want to know the economic history of the Middle East, you must be prepared to be disappointed. In addition, as the book is descriptive in nature, in-depth analysis on why centrally planning suddenly turns sour is lacking. These are my reasons that the book is rated as a four-star instead of five-star publication.
In all, the authors have done a tremendous job in the subject. This book should be short-listed as one of the textbooks for students studying economics or history.
The writers, Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, are both players of the business world, and Ph.D. holders (Yergin's from Cambridge University, where he was Marshall Scholar, and Stanislaw holds a Ph.D. from Edinburgh University). Furthermore, Yergin's book "The Prize" was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. One could only expect a dry, scholarly frightening work from the two, but, surprisingly, Commanding Heights is anything but intimidating.
This is a very good introduction to 20th century's economic plans and philosophies- from Gandhi's "swadeshi" to Thatcherism of the late 1970s and 80s to the 'global economy' of the 90s and present.
The book's treatment of Thatcher and Thatcherism is very good and readable, and almost enlightening. The portrayal of Margaret Thatcher is illuminating, if not flattering for the subject. The Thatcher of the book is not the evil witch of left-wing politics, but that of a hard-working, decent and uncompromising woman from a lower middle class background. Her (political) partnership with Joseph Keith and her devotion to Keith's plan is intriguing, and her David-and-Goliath battles with the 'establishment' is inspirational. ("I am the rebel head of an establishment government" she once boasted). Keynesians beware- this book might turn you into a Thatcherite!
Another highlight is the book's treatment of Latin America's economic dogmas and policies. Here, Chapter Nine of the book, it reads like a dark, compelling, political thriller authored by Vargas Llosa (Not surprisingly, Llosa's name appears in this book). Like the rest of the book, this chapter is highly fascinating and lively.
With great clarity and intelligence, this is a highly recommended 'big' book. A great companion as we face a new century. READ IT!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent review of international trends helping us to make sense of the confusing world of macroeconomic policies amidst diametrically opposed ideas.Published 1 month ago by ER
The book was not a continuation of his previous writings on energy.Published 6 months ago by William J. Scilacci
I read it when it first cam out. The update is superficial Bad purchase choice by mePublished 8 months ago by dilletante david
Excellent book by excellent writer! Not as good as his book The Prize, but well worth readingPublished 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great summary of the ideological history that fed into the world of econonics, politics and international relations as we know it today. Read morePublished 20 months ago by SF
Everything is centered on economics and Yergin understands how important oil is to a global economy.Published 21 months ago by Joseph Coccia