Summary of The Economics of Enough

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Rating

7

Qualities

  • Analytical

Recommendation

Economist Diane Coyle argues that the 2007-2008 financial crisis was not an isolated event but a symptom of greater issues in the global economy. The forces driving these issues include social progress, climate change and technology, particularly the shift to a knowledge- and service-based economy. In this impressive, strikingly honest book, Coyle works hard to avoid clichéd binaries (left versus right, market versus government) and to base her analysis on research and observation. Some of her insights are useful, and her section on measurement is nicely original. However, her overall call for action is not as fresh, practical or persuasive as her analysis of the problems at hand. Nonetheless, getAbstract recommends this earnest work of economic inquiry to executives, policy makers and all those who believe that having an ethical society remains a viable goal.

About the Author

Diane Coyle owns Enlightenment Economics, a consultancy focusing on technology and globalization. She is also the author of The Soulful Science.

 

Summary

On the Horns of a “Trilemma”

In 2007 and 2008, the world economy faced a massive crisis. This was not capitalism’s first or worst debacle; indeed, every generation or so, the system hits a brick wall with greater or lesser impact. However, the after effects of this crisis – compounded by the interplay of several unprecedented trends – are leading society to question the basic underpinnings of the global economic and political system. The recession has affected millions in an immediate, fundamental way, and the prospects for a quick recovery are not bright. But on top of that, several unique societal challenges have arisen:

  • Information technology has changed the world’s economy. Financial events have a broader, faster ripple effect.
  • Income inequality is pervasive, as great in the US and UK now as in the early 1900s.
  • “Social capital” is on the decline: People trust institutions and each other less than ever. That degree of mistrust fuels social disintegration.
  • Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations have graying populations whose needs will strain their governments’ health care and pension systems.
  • ...

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