The Skimmer

Book Review: False Economy: A Surprise Economic History of the World by Alan Beattie

False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World By Alan Beattie Riverhead Books; 321 pages

At the end of the 19th century, Argentina was one of the world's richest countries; poor European emigrants found themselves choosing between New York City and Buenos Aires. Somewhere along the way, though, things took a turn. Much has been written about why some economies thrive while others flail. But compared with works like Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, Beattie's take is markedly less deterministic. Corruption may have killed Africa, he notes, but it worked rather well in South Korea, where bribery attained taxlike...

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