Extreme Economies
A review of

Extreme Economies

Survival, Failure, Future – Lessons from the World’s Limits

Learn from the Worst

by David Meyer

Economist Richard Davies explores the lives of people in nine “extreme economies” around the globe, each tested by a radical situation or challenge. What’s to be learned from them?

“The extremes of life offer important lessons,” economist Richard Davies writes. Pursuing this premise, Davies examines some of the bleakest, most heartrending and dysfunctional economies on the planet. He does not write about them from the perspective of an antiseptic economist, coldly offering data; Davies writes like a novelist, with compassion, emotion and insight.

Extreme conditions generate the need for “social capital,” which arises from trust, reciprocity and civic engagement among people. Social capital, Davies explains, breeds public allegiance and resilience. Without it, a few take unfair advantage, undercutting economic dynamism. Davies sums up his entire book when he states that the corrosion of inequality dissolves social ties. The majority of his examples sadly prove this thesis.

Comment on this review