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Extreme Economies by Richard Davies
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Extreme Economies

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

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Length 11 hours 59 minutes
Language English
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Brought to you by Penguin.

To understand how humans react and adapt to economic change we need to study people who live in harsh environments. From death-row prisoners trading in institutions where money is banned to flourishing entrepreneurs in the world's largest refugee camp, from the unrealised potential of cities like Kinshasa to the hyper-modern economy of Estonia, every life in this book has been hit by a seismic shock, violently broken or changed in some way.

People living in these odd and marginal places are ignored by number crunching economists and political pollsters alike. Science suggests this is a mistake. This book tells the personal stories of humans living in extreme situations, and of the financial infrastructure they create. Here, economies are not concerned with the familiar stock market crashes, housing crises, or banking scandals of the financial pages.

In his quest for a purer view of how economies succeed and fail, Richard Davies takes the reader off the beaten path to places where part of the economy has been repressed, removed, destroyed or turbocharged. By travelling to each of them and discovering what life is really like, Extreme Economies tells small stories that shed light on today’s biggest economic questions.

(c) 2019, Richard David (P) 2019 Penguin Audio

RICHARD DAVIES is an economist based in London. He is a fellow at the London School of Economics, and has held senior posts in economic policymaking and journalism. He has been economic adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers at HM Treasury, an economist and speechwriter at the Bank of England, and economics editor of The Economist.

Richard has published widely on economics. He was the editor of The Economist’s recent guide to economics (Profile, 2015) and his articles have featured in The Times and 1843 magazine. He is the author of numerous research papers and is a founding trustee of CORE, a charity which provides open-access resources for economics teachers and students in universities across the world. Richard has published widely on economics. In addition to The Economist he has written for The Times, Sunday Times and 1843 Magazine. He was the editor of The Economist’s guide to economics (Profile, 2015), and has published numerous articles and research papers.

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Reviews

A highly original approach to understanding what really makes economies tick. Both insightful and accessible to non-economists. Davies visits economies pushed to the limit and examines what their response teaches us about resilience in the face of climate change, demographic shifts and state failure. An exploration of the lessons to be drawn from disaster-stricken economies and imperilled (but innovative) people, which ranges from the jungles of Panama to post-tsunami Indonesia to the prison system of Louisiana and Syrian refugee camps. Financial Times Best Books of 2019: Extreme Economies is a reflection on human resilience. The author takes you from a prison to a refugee camp to Kinshasa and Santiago to explain how economies work in extreme circumstances and why markets succeed or fail. Weaving economic theory and individual life stories, this is an important and enjoyable read. We learn most about ourselves at times of extreme stress and challenge. Using nine compelling country case studies, Richard Davies brilliantly demonstrates that the same is true of our economic systems. In its approach and insights, Extreme Economies is a revelation - and a must-read. Expand reviews
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