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Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics Paperback – July 23, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Stone." Each of his books have usually just been expanded
versions of his gonzo-style of journalism. He is definitely the sick
love child of Hunter S. Thompson (another "Rolling Stone"
family member) and Dave Barry--of course with a twist of Rush
Limbaugh's conservatist flare. His dry wit is interlaced with a keen
eye for the bizarre. He has attacked politicians and Congress in
"Parliament of Whores" (still his best book to date) and the
"hawks" and "doves" in "Give War a
Chance" (enjoyable though not as memorable). This time he takes
on economists who apparently win Nobel prizes simply by boring the
most people. However, he does this by actually bouncing around the
globe, from Wall Street to Havana. And Albania to Hong Kong. And
several other points in between.
He gets deep into a
country. Immersing himself within society itself to develop his theory
of why a country's economic ills are what they are. This is usually
done by attending the local watering holes. If anything else is
redeeming to an O'Rourke work, it's certain that you will always walk
away with an unquenchable urge to have a stiff drink--or maybe
O'Rourke examines and compares several societies and
countries that exhibit the most free of the free market (Hong Kong) or
the country with "good" socialism (Sweden) and
"bad" socialism (Cuba) and several other nations like
Tanzania, Albania and Russia. As well as the U.S. and Shanghai.Read more ›
It's my contention that humor that is *about* something is far funnier than humor that is nothing more than a grab-bag of exaggerations and incongruities, Dave Barry style. Dave Barry is good--I have all his books too--but every time I get another one, I have this feeling that I've heard all these jokes before. Only the words are different.
P. J. O'Rourke's books are almost always about something--GIVE WAR A CHANCE was about the Gulf War, mostly--that matters. War matters, even dumb wars like Vietnam, though they don't all matter the same way. ALL THE TROUBLE IN THE WORLD was about a lot of things that matter in a hurtful sort of way, though the king on that throne is bad government. The significance of the subject matter is what makes the humor so pointed--the absurdities of the Gulf War are far funnier than talking about pigeons letting go on some slob's head.
So in his latest volume P. J. takes on economics. This matters more than anything else on Earth, pretty much, because life on Earth is about work and wealth and what's for supper. I never learned economics because it's taught by men who are basically mummies without the wrappings. The books are unreadable, the graphs devoid of any connection to the real world. Finally, 25 years after getting out of school, I find an economics book by a guy who's still breathing. Furthermore, it's so painfully funny that two days later it's etched so firmly in my head I can still remember nearly all the points he made.
Many of these points are made in the course of P. J.Read more ›
The major drawback of the book is that it is clear that the author already had his conclusions in mind before he set foot in any of the countries he visited, and he saw everything the way he knew it had to be. I don't even disagree with most of his points, but it bothered me that he was clearly sifting through a mountain of evidence to find the bits that support his point of view. He glossed over many, many "troublesome" points -- eg the free market that he holds up as the best thing for humanity ever invented... isn't even very free; he soundly thrashes the strawman of fairness while ignoring stability, invisible costs, and other pesky drawbacks; and he doesn't mention that no truly free market ever manages to stay that way.
In "Eat the Rich" O'Rourke builds economic theory from keen observation of various governmental, social and economic systems. He begins with the bustling center of American capital, Wall Street, where he vividly describes the chaos inherent in the capitalist system. In the course of his exposition of the money capitol, he notes that he found the one thing he never expected to find, "Transcendent Bliss". Yet transcendent bliss does not seem so far out of line when one considers that John Locke, an eighteenth century political philosopher, concluded that the right to property was the guarantor of liberty, and Thomas Jefferson took the notion a step further equating it with happiness. While O'Rourke clearly expounds such economic truisms he manages to avoid the ponderous philosophic explanations constraining most commentators.
From Wall Street "Eat the Rich" visits Albania, Sweden, Russia, Tanzania and Cuba. The description of each country is on-the-mark. In his description of Moscow, for example, he notes, "The traffic signals are timed to let three battalions of crack airborne troops and a hundred missile launchers through before the yellow caution light comes on.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was easy to read with P.J. speaking like the everyday person instead of someone who has 3 P.h.d.'s behind their name. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Carrie
Not a big P. J. fan, but he did a nice job here.Everybody needs to understand economics and O'Rourke does a nice job.Published 1 month ago by Joe Z
Its worth reading just for the history lesson. Most of its old news from the 1990's but, O'Rourke shares his personal observations of government systems as he travels across the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Stabiae
Great sense of humor and found myself laughing often. A bit dated but the analyses of various countries and their attempts at economics are very interesting.Published 2 months ago by Kenneth W. Murphy
As supply increases prices fall; the demand curve moves in inverse proportion to supply; and economics is as dry as the bleached bones of Adam Smith. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Annavictoria
It was a very interesting approach on how government affects economy. The author visits various countries and has quite funny and astute observations and conclusions. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Clare E.