Extreme Economies: What Life at the World’s Margins Can Teach Us About Our Own Future

Richard Davies. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28 (416p) ISBN 978-1-250-17048-4
Davies, a former economics editor of The Economist, debuts with a well-curated, globe-spanning study of nine irregular financial systems to understand where the modern world is headed. In the book’s first section, Davies examines informal economies in Aceh, Indonesia, where tsunami survivors have transformed international aid into entrepreneurial success; the Syrian refugee camp Zaatari in northern Jordan, where smuggling fuels a thriving barter system; and the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, where inmates have developed innovative currency markets. The second section investigates resource-rich sites—the Darien Gap bridging South and Central America, Democratic Republic of Congo capital city Kinshasa, and Glasgow, Scotland—where successful economies have either failed to develop or collapsed. The third and perhaps most compelling section examines the leading edge of societal trends including aging populations (Akita, Japan), advanced technologies (Tailin, Estonia), and extreme inequality (Santiago, Chile). In each location, Davies keeps his perspective on broad, and often disturbing, historical trends while celebrating the resourcefulness of the individuals and communities he profiles. His analysis is straightforward enough for general readers to understand, while businesspeople, economic forecasters, and policymakers will find his insights imminently applicable to their own work. This ambitious and thought-provoking guide helps to make sense of the economic future. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 12/19/2019
Release date: 01/14/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-1-250-17051-4
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