A short but thorough primer on modern political economy.

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RICH NATION / POOR NATION

WHY SOME NATIONS PROSPER WHILE OTHERS FAIL

A defense of economic freedom as the linchpin of wealth creation.

Debates about economics and politics necessarily address the nature of inequality and distributive justice. To that end, Genetski (Classical Economic Principals & the Wealth of Nations, 2011, etc.), inspired by famed economists Adam Smith and Milton Friedman, argues that individual freedom is both morally and economically defensible, as it’s the most effective tonic to chronic poverty. First, the author defines wealth (“the value of those goods and services originally created to meet the demands of others”), plumbs the mechanics of its generation, and discusses the real difficulties of comparing the wealth of heterogeneous nations. He asserts that the most reliable way to comparatively measure wealth is by output per person; China is the world’s largest economy, but by this standard, it barely registers as a middle-class nation. A considerable portion of the book focuses on the United States, and according to Genetski, its wages and wealth creation have generally coincided with fidelity to free market principles. The author also provides a brief analysis of the world’s major economic regions, including Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Africa. Repeatedly, he discovers a causal relation between robust market liberalization and wealth generation, and he powerfully contends that involuntary wealth redistributions ultimately perpetuate poverty by dramatically reducing future output. Genetski’s analysis is remarkably concise, and the ground that he covers in fewer than 150 pages is impressive. Of course, that same concision demands the elision of significant detail; all of modern Latin America, for instance, is summed up in just a few pages. The book is unfailingly rigorous, providing hard data to substantiate its chief claims, but the philosophical argument undergirding the entire study—that people of all cultures ultimately desire freedom and generally respond predictably to the same economic policies—requires far more defense than the author gives here. Nonetheless, this is a sober and provocative contribution to the debate regarding the role of governments in regulating economic activity.

A short but thorough primer on modern political economy. 

Pub Date: March 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4999-0277-8

Page Count: 152

Publisher: FastPencil

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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