- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press (March 6, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691145180
- ISBN-13: 978-0691145181
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
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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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"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 Back Cover
"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
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Top customer reviews
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.
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. She then goes on to state that society's values need to be more fully reflected in both markets and government policies. Finally, she talks about the importance of institutions.
In the concluding section, Coyle sets out guidelines and policies that she believes would be a start towards correcting the problems laid out in the rest of the book. This is by far the best chapter of the book.
Now, as for my review, let me start by saying that the content of the book is not bad. Coyle holds a PhD in economics from Harvard, runs an economics consulting firm, is a Trustee for the BBC, and has advised members of the British government, so I'm sure she has a fairly firm grasp of economical issues, and she certainly uses the language of economics throughout many parts of the book (she has a fondness for mentioning spillovers and externalities). She cites numerous Nobel Prize-winning economists throughout the work, although it would be nice to have a little more concrete data included, particularly in the first several chapters. As other reviewers have mentioned, this book is written to be extremely accessible to a general audience, but it would have benefited greatly by having some graphs included to allow people to have a firmer grasp of the problems she discusses.
Furthermore, it's only halfway fair to call this an economics book. In many cases Coyle delves into the realms of philosophy and sociology (for example, quoting from the overview of the book she says that "the first chapter addresses the myths and realities of happiness"). Perhaps some readers will be looking for this kind of material; however, I don't really think it belongs in a book that claims to be about economics.
As other reviewers have mentioned, Coyle has quite a chip on her shoulder when it comes to banks, and especially investment bankers. Certainly the banking system made numerous missteps before, during, and after the 2008 financial crisis, but the author makes some extremely broad and hyperbolic statements with thinly veiled vitriol. It almost seems hypocritical to see her bemoan income inequality in light of the fact that her salary just from her role as Trustee of the BBC was the equivalent of about $120000.
At any rate, in spite of these flaws, her content on its own would garner about 3 stars from me: it's mediocre but not terrible. The main problem though, the reason I had to drop it down to 1 star, is not the content, but the writing itself. The single most severe problem this book has is the massive amount of repetition throughout. I don't think it's any exaggeration to say that you could capture about 95% of the content of this book if you just read the last 3 pages of every chapter, and the whole of the final chapter. There is simply no reason in the world that this book needed to run on for 300 pages, it easily could have fit into 50 or less. Honestly, I've seen op-ed articles to news organizations that made more compellingly powerful points than this entire book. It was extremely difficult at times for me to keep reading, simply because she was making the same point over and over. On top of that, the book appeared to be poorly edited. There were numerous grammatical errors, and even spelling errors, that served to slow down the reading. Finally, it didn't help that she didn't include any concrete policy recommendations until the last few pages of the book, as it made it difficult during the early stages of the book to understand what her actual stances were.
If you've made it to the end of this review, congratulations, and my apologies for the extreme exposition. If I had the option, I would have given this book 1 and a half stars, and considered rounding it up to 2, but ultimately it boils down to whether or not I could recommend this book to another person. Unfortunately, there are simply too many other high-quality books out there. If you want a far superior, accessible economics book, check out The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli, and don't waste your time on The Economics of Enough.