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In something akin to a nature walk, John McMillan takes us on a guided tour, pointing out features of the landscape we rarely notice. With examples ranging from a camel trading fair in India to the $20 million per day Aalsmeer flower market to the global trade in AIDS drugs, McMillan shows us markets in all their varieties -- the small and the large, the simple and the overwhelmingly complex, the successful and the unsuccessful. Further, he brings them together to show how these markets combine to form the global economy.
Markets provoke clashing opinions. Critics denounce them as the source of exploitation and poverty. Extreme proponents extol them as the font of liberty and prosperity. Eschewing ideology, McMillan spells out why markets are neither magical nor immoral, but rather imperfect yet vitally important tools. They can fail, and often do, but they represent the best way we've discovered thus far for improving our living standards.
|1.||The Only Natural Economy||3|
|2.||Triumphs of Intelligence||15|
|3.||He Who Can't Pay Dies||27|
|4.||Information Wants to Be Free||41|
|5.||Honesty Is the Best Policy||53|
|6.||To the Best Bidder||65|
|8.||When You Work for Yourself||89|
|9.||The Embarrassment of a Patent||103|
|10.||No Man Is an Island||119|
|11.||A Conspiracy against the Public||136|
|13.||Managers of Other People's Money||167|
|14.||A New Era of Competition||182|
|15.||Coming Up for Air||196|
Posted March 28, 2003
This timely book describes the market systems of today¿s world. He is an advocate of what he calls the ¿market design approach¿ of economic systems. He has five things that a market needs to be effective: social trust, property rights protections, negative externality prevention, free flow of information, and competition. He makes a strong case for a `middle way¿ in economic development when it comes to government involvement. He argues that the controlled and command economies of the far left, and the laissez-faire libertarian approach of the far right are both equally garbage. He tells some interesting stories of the worldwide pharmaceutical industry and critiques it¿s free market effects on society and world health. His discussion of information and technology are somewhat simplistic in my opinion, and his conclusions that for economic development these two forces need to be free to innovate and profit seemed the same pedantic old story that is peddled by Gates and co. He makes a strong case for honesty in business and describes some very interesting approaches for regulating and policing business behavior. His discussion of patents and intellectual property rights seemed balanced in its look at how they can help and hinder business and society. He also describes (convincingly in my opinion) how individual and company behavior creates all kinds of negative externalities that cannot be left to the market to take care of. The last couple of chapters described the very different methods of economic transitions used by New Zealand, Russia, and China, and he has some interesting conclusions to offer. He also addresses a chapter to the anti-globalization movements, and to the Marxists and Libertarians, where he takes what they argue, and looks at statistical evidence, and pretty much negates their arguments without really addressing the sociological and political grievances and seems to take a more simplistic model that economic growth is the best way to improve the lot of everyone everywhere, which I found annoying. But overall, he makes a strong argument for markets and their abilities to supply the most efficient system of providing goods and services to a society, but also recognizes significant weaknesses inherent in it that must be balanced by government activity.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.