The Economics of Enough: How to Run the Economy as If the Future Matters

Overview

The world's leading economies are facing not just one but many crises. The financial meltdown may not be over, climate change threatens major global disruption, economic inequality has reached extremes not seen for a century, and government and business are widely distrusted. At the same time, many people regret the consumerism and social corrosion of modern life. What these crises have in common, Diane Coyle argues, is a reckless disregard for the future--especially in the way the economy is run. How can we ...

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The Economics of Enough: How to Run the Economy as If the Future Matters

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Overview

The world's leading economies are facing not just one but many crises. The financial meltdown may not be over, climate change threatens major global disruption, economic inequality has reached extremes not seen for a century, and government and business are widely distrusted. At the same time, many people regret the consumerism and social corrosion of modern life. What these crises have in common, Diane Coyle argues, is a reckless disregard for the future--especially in the way the economy is run. How can we achieve the financial growth we need today without sacrificing a decent future for our children, our societies, and our planet? How can we realize what Coyle calls "the Economics of Enough"?

Running the economy for tomorrow as well as today will require a wide range of policy changes. The top priority must be ensuring that we get a true picture of long-term economic prospects, with the development of official statistics on national wealth in its broadest sense, including natural and human resources. Saving and investment will need to be encouraged over current consumption. Above all, governments will need to engage citizens in a process of debate about the difficult choices that lie ahead and rebuild a shared commitment to the future of our societies.

Creating a sustainable economy--having enough to be happy without cheating the future--won't be easy. But The Economics of Enough starts a profoundly important conversation about how we can begin--and the first steps we need to take.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Coyle believes that the recent financial crises was "a catalyst for many people to ask fundamental questions about the way the economy is organized, and about the links between the economy and what kind of society we'd like," and uses her well-reasoned new effort to seriously examine those questions. Coyle (The Soulful Science), a part-time professor who runs a consulting firm specializing in technology and globalization, divides her book into Challenges, Obstacles, and a "Manifesto." With chapters "happiness," "nature," "posterity," "fairness," and "trust," she analyzes current problems; though happiness has been debated by philosophers for centuries, in the last decade, "economists have muscled into" the debate. While economic growth is essential, Coyle argues that the way it is achieved must change. She defines obstacles to that change, arguing for a broadening of what we value to include intangibles, like entertainment and nursing services. Her "Manifesto of Enough" calls for enlightened economic policies that will allow for growth and create a sustainable world. While Coyle wants to reach out to reasonable people of all political stripes, it's not hard to see where her heart is when she states that teachers contribute more socially than they are paid, and that bankers' social contribution is greatly exceeded by their pay. Photos. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Noted economist Coyle (Univ. of Manchester; Sex, Drugs & Economics: An Unconventional Introduction to Economics) analyzes current governmental policymaking, business practices, and societal trends to examine the world that future generations will inherit. Societies in the industrialized world may face a future plagued by high tax burdens relating to public health care and pension costs generated by an aging population with low birthrates. Diminishing natural resources and climate change will also be factors with which to contend. The nine chapters examine possible solutions, such as productivity gains from information and communication technologies, restructuring by societies, and savings by individuals. Coyle also advocates new measurements beyond gross domestic product that account for intangible items. Coverage of topics like management of state pension funds seems especially timely. VERDICT Designed for readers well versed in economics, this book offers an in-depth economic analysis that often supports arguments with philosophical and sociological theories. Because of its complexity, it is recommended solely for academic collections.—Caroline Geck, MLS, Newark, NJ
New York Times
In The Economics of Enough, Ms. Coyle adds a knowledgeable and earnest voice to the discussion about how to face these global challenges. . . . Ms. Coyle has written a thoughtful, sprawling work. I was impressed with both the magnitude of the subject matter and her keen grasp of it. . . . Ms. Coyle has made an important contribution to the debate on the nature of global capitalism.
— Nancy F. Koehn
International Affairs
If widely read, [The Economics of Enough] could be the twenty-first century's basic action manual. Like the best political philosophers, Coyle does not merely present the gritty reality of politics (or political economy, in this case), but gives us a roadmap out of our collective swamp. . . . [T]he book is a small wonder.
— Joel Campbell
Financial Times
Are we bankrupt? Are countries like the US and the UK in as much fiscal trouble as Ireland or Greece? The bond markets say no: they've been quite content to lend to the UK and the US as though they were low-risk propositions, and perhaps they are right. But even if bond holders look safe enough, citizens may not be. Diane Coyle, author of a new book, The Economics of Enough, argues that we need to go beyond traditional measures of debt in thinking about future obligations.
— Tim Harford
Independent
[Coyle's] insistence that the crisis is essentially one of trust and governance is important—and increasingly relevant as we watch our leaders failing to tame our reckless financial overlords.
— Fred Pearce
Englewood Review of Books
Coyle's book is . . . a very welcome supplement to the current dearth of smart, broad, readable economic literature now available. . . . Coyle's book demonstrates her to be a political economist of the old school, concerned with economics as a truly social science rather than an abstract mass of numbers. As such, her work merits a much broader audience than it is likely to find in our contemporary political climate.
— Matthew Kaul
Times Higher Education
There is much good sense in The Economics of Enough, and Coyle writes efficiently and clearly.
— Howard Davies
Management Today
There is much good thinking and plenty of good ideas in [T]he Economics of Enough. For many readers, the book will be a revelation in just how far we have moved from economics as a 'dismal science.' For the business reader, Coyle opens up a range of broader perspectives that will on the one hand challenge the neo-classical economic purist and, on the other, will encourage those who want their children to have more than a dismal future, to do something about it.
— Roger Steare
Nature Climate Change
[A] compelling call to action. . . . [T]his is a powerful, thought-provoking and timely contribution to the debate on the evolving shape of society.
— Dimitri Zenghelis
Choice
From the somewhat playful Sex, Drugs, and Economics, to the more descriptive and objective The Soulful Science, economist and superb writer (too often mutually exclusive categories) Coyle presents her more general assessment in The Economics of Enough. Blending economics with politics and philosophy, she uses the recent financial crisis as an opportunity to discuss a number of grander themes with the goal of a better and sustainable future, which is to be aided and abetted by a better-informed citizenry led not by an invisible hand but by the fist of more enlightened government.
EH.Net
The Economics of Enough is a thoughtful and reflective piece addressing the interplay between governments and markets in a 'post-financial crisis' world. . . . The book serves as a good foil for deeper discussions of the implications and results of the attempt to govern complex systems—both political and economic—fraught with their inevitable webs of adverse selection, moral hazard, and self-interest.
— Bradley K Hobbs
New York Times - Nancy F. Koehn
In The Economics of Enough, Ms. Coyle adds a knowledgeable and earnest voice to the discussion about how to face these global challenges. . . . Ms. Coyle has written a thoughtful, sprawling work. I was impressed with both the magnitude of the subject matter and her keen grasp of it. . . . Ms. Coyle has made an important contribution to the debate on the nature of global capitalism.
International Affairs - Joel Campbell
If widely read, [The Economics of Enough] could be the twenty-first century's basic action manual. Like the best political philosophers, Coyle does not merely present the gritty reality of politics (or political economy, in this case), but gives us a roadmap out of our collective swamp. . . . [T]he book is a small wonder.
Financial Times - Christopher Cook
If Diane Coyle had written The Economics of Enough a year or so earlier, a British political party would probably have laid claim to its message during the general election campaign. Coyle's work manages to tie up fiscal policy, inequality and the environment with reflection on civil society. . . . Coyle makes a particularly effective assault on the view, often espoused by environmentalists, that economic growth ought not to be a policy goal. While she calls for other objectives—and the use of a greater range of economic indicators—she backs output growth as an objective. . . . [A] solid guide to the challenges that face governments in the coming years.
Independent - Fred Pearce
[Coyle's] insistence that the crisis is essentially one of trust and governance is important—and increasingly relevant as we watch our leaders failing to tame our reckless financial overlords.
Englewood Review of Books - Matthew Kaul
Coyle's book is . . . a very welcome supplement to the current dearth of smart, broad, readable economic literature now available. . . . Coyle's book demonstrates her to be a political economist of the old school, concerned with economics as a truly social science rather than an abstract mass of numbers. As such, her work merits a much broader audience than it is likely to find in our contemporary political climate.
Financial Times - Tim Harford
Are we bankrupt? Are countries like the US and the UK in as much fiscal trouble as Ireland or Greece? The bond markets say no: they've been quite content to lend to the UK and the US as though they were low-risk propositions, and perhaps they are right. But even if bond holders look safe enough, citizens may not be. Diane Coyle, author of a new book, The Economics of Enough, argues that we need to go beyond traditional measures of debt in thinking about future obligations.
Times Higher Education - Howard Davies
There is much good sense in The Economics of Enough, and Coyle writes efficiently and clearly.
Management Today - Roger Steare
There is much good thinking and plenty of good ideas in [T]he Economics of Enough. For many readers, the book will be a revelation in just how far we have moved from economics as a 'dismal science.' For the business reader, Coyle opens up a range of broader perspectives that will on the one hand challenge the neo-classical economic purist and, on the other, will encourage those who want their children to have more than a dismal future, to do something about it.
Nature Climate Change - Dimitri Zenghelis
[A] compelling call to action. . . . [T]his is a powerful, thought-provoking and timely contribution to the debate on the evolving shape of society.
EH.Net - Bradley K Hobbs
The Economics of Enough is a thoughtful and reflective piece addressing the interplay between governments and markets in a 'post-financial crisis' world. . . . The book serves as a good foil for deeper discussions of the implications and results of the attempt to govern complex systems—both political and economic—fraught with their inevitable webs of adverse selection, moral hazard, and self-interest.
EH.Net - Bradley K. Hobbs
The Economics of Enough is a thoughtful and reflective piece addressing the interplay between governments and markets in a 'post-financial crisis' world. . . . The book serves as a good foil for deeper discussions of the implications and results of the attempt to govern complex systems—both political and economic—fraught with their inevitable webs of adverse selection, moral hazard, and self-interest.
From the Publisher
"The Economics of Enough is a thoughtful and reflective piece addressing the interplay between governments and markets in a 'post-financial crisis' world. . . . The book serves as a good foil for deeper discussions of the implications and results of the attempt to govern complex systems—both political and economic—fraught with their inevitable webs of adverse selection, moral hazard, and self-interest."—Bradley K Hobbs, EH.Net
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691145181
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 3/6/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Diane Coyle runs Enlightenment Economics, a consulting firm specializing in technology and globalization, and is the author of a number of books on economics, including "The Soulful Science" (Princeton), "Sex, Drugs and Economics", and "The Weightless World". A BBC trustee and a visiting professor at the University of Manchester, she holds a PhD in economics from Harvard.
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Table of Contents

Overview 1

PART ONE: CHALLENGES CHAPTER ONE: Happiness 21
CHAPTER TWO: Nature 55
CHAPTER THREE: Posterity 85
CHAPTER FOUR: Fairness 114
CHAPTER FIVE: Trust 145

PART TWO: OBSTACLES CHAPTER SIX: Measurement 181
CHAPTER SEVEN: Values 209
CHAPTER EIGHT: Institutions 239

PART THREE: MANIFESTO CHAPTER NINE: The Manifesto of Enough 267

Acknowledgments 299
Notes 301
References 313
Illustration Credits 327
Index 329

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Economist Diane Coyle argues that the 2007-2008 financial crisis

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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