The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperityby Russell Roberts
Stanford University student and Cuban American tennis prodigy Ramon Fernandez is outraged when a nearby mega-store hikes its prices the night of an earthquake. He crosses paths with provost and economics professor Ruth Lieber when he plans a campus protest against the price-gouging retailer--which is also a major donor to the university. Ruth begins a dialogue with… See more details below
Stanford University student and Cuban American tennis prodigy Ramon Fernandez is outraged when a nearby mega-store hikes its prices the night of an earthquake. He crosses paths with provost and economics professor Ruth Lieber when he plans a campus protest against the price-gouging retailer--which is also a major donor to the university. Ruth begins a dialogue with Ramon about prices, prosperity, and innovation and their role in our daily lives. Is Ruth trying to limit the damage from Ramon's protest? Or does she have something altogether different in mind?
As Ramon is thrust into the national spotlight by events beyond the Stanford campus, he learns there's more to price hikes than meets the eye, and he is forced to reconsider everything he thought he knew. What is the source of America's high standard of living? What drives entrepreneurs and innovation? What upholds the hidden order that allows us to choose our careers and pursue our passions with so little conflict? How does economic order emerge without anyone being in charge? Ruth gives Ramon and the reader a new appreciation for how our economy works and the wondrous role that the price of everything plays in everyday life.
The Price of Everything is a captivating story about economic growth and the unseen forces that create and sustain economic harmony all around us.
"[A]n unusual and wildly enjoyable book."--Stephen J. Dubner, nytimes.com Freakonomics blog
"Take a look at the computer screen your eyes are presently (hopefully) fixated on, not to mention the computer mouse you used in order to click on this posting. Did you ever consider how both were made? Could you make either yourself, and if so, how and where would you acquire the various raw materials and parts in order to create them? If the above questions vex you, the George Mason economics professor Russell Roberts's excellent new novel, The Price of Everything, is for you. Importantly, Roberts does not explain how things are made in this tale as much as he teaches us through a very interesting dialogue between a professor and student that the 'whole system we call a market economy works as well as it does precisely because of how little we have to know.'"--John Tamny, RealClearMarkets.com
"Improbable as it might seem, perhaps the most important fact for a voter or politician to know is: No one can make a pencil. That truth is the essence of a novella that is, remarkably, both didactic and romantic. Even more remarkable, its author is an economist. If you read Russell Roberts's The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity you will see the world afresh."--George Will, Newsweek
"This book is the third foray into the world of economic fiction for Roberts. In terms of prose and content, it is also his best effort. . . . In this new book, set on and around the Stanford University campus, Roberts bundles several clever insights about everyday economics with the overriding theme of prosperity and economic growth, and pulls it all off with warmth and plenty of heart."--A.R. Sanderson, Choice
"[T]he best attempt to teach economics through fiction that the world has seen to date."--Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution
"The Price of Everything [is] Russ Roberts' latest didactic novel. I cannot recommend it strongly enough. I thought his other fictional attempts to teach economics were decent, but in my opinion this one represents a real step up."--Arnold Kling, EconLog
"[The Price of Everything] is Roberts's third economics novel--the first two were Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protectionism and The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance. They are great introductions to free-market economic theory, especially for those who are easily turned off by numbers and graphs. Wrapping a narrative around economic theories may seem like a peculiar approach to teaching, but didactic novels have a long and noble pedigree."--Clint Witchalls, Spectator
"Don't be put off by the title, you just might not be able to put it down. Its brilliance is in its simplicity, and it's now the first economics book I recommend. Yes, Milton Friedman's Free to Choose and Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom are still the cornerstones, but easy to read? No."--Thomas Oliver, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"I loved the way Roberts wove into the story examples of what Hayek called spontaneous order that even those who believe that order happens only from the top down would have to acknowledge--from dancers moving unpredictably on the dance floor without ever colliding to the thousands of people and bits of specialized knowledge it takes to make a pencil, which nobody can make by himself. This little book deserves an audience as wide as eventually developed for 'Economics in One Lesson.' It conveys similar information in a more nuanced, personal and humanistic way. Nice work."--Alan W. Bock, Orange County Register
"Have you ever wanted to give a friend a book that explains the main virtues of economic freedom in a dramatic way that is accessible to a broad audience? Russell Roberts's latest novel, The Price of Everything, is the book you want. That's right: I said 'latest novel.'"--David R. Henderson, Regulation
"[T]he novel is eminently readable. And if you did not know anything about how the American system works you would come away from reading it better informed."--Bethan Marshall, The Business Economist
"The Price of Everything is a must read for anybody interested in how market capitalism works."--Julie Novak, IPA Review
Stephen J. Dubner
Alan W. Bock
David R. Henderson
- Princeton University Press
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- 2 MB
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Vernon Smith, Nobel Prize-winning economist
Paul Romer, Stanford University
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