False Economy Book Summary - False Economy Book explained in key points
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False Economy summary

Alan Beattie

A Surprising Economic History of the World

4.2 (161 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

False Economy by Alan Beattie analyzes the history and effects of economic fallacies. The book questions common assumptions about globalization, trade, and development, revealing the surprising ways in which these beliefs have hurt us.

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    False Economy
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    Important choices, not fate, determined the economic state of Argentina and the United States.

    Have you ever wondered why a country like the United States is a giant in the world economy, while a country like Argentina has continually struggled? As we’ll see, this was not something that happened by chance.

    As a matter of fact, Argentina and the United States started out in very similar situations.

    The United States officially became an independent nation when its constitution came into effect in 1789. Argentina was particularly inspired by the American revolution, and in 1816 Argentinian rebels took control of their government to establish their own independence. And as these two countries started out, both nations had similar economic outlooks based on rich agricultural promise and plenty of fertile land.

    But the two paths diverged when the countries made different choices on how to develop their land.

    America chose to divide their land up between skilled individuals and families. Capable farmers from Europe arrived to make the most of the opportunity, and they helped expand and settle America’s western frontier.

    Conversely, Argentina decided to divide its land among a select few rich and powerful landlords. As a result, its agricultural potential was stunted because the policy failed to attract skilled laborers and farmers to develop the land.

    The two nation’s paths continued to diverge following twentieth-century industrialization.

    While the United States embraced the manufacturing industries and the foreign trade possibilities they presented, Argentina shut itself off in an effort to become self-sufficient. Argentina rejected the interests of foreign investors and the risky business of globalization, preferring instead to protect its government monopolies.

    So, as the US economy flourished in the twentieth century, Argentina continued to seal off its manufacturing businesses by keeping out imports and heavily taxing exports. In 2001, in its efforts to be self-reliant, Argentina was forced into one of the largest government bankruptcies in history.

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    What is False Economy about?

    False Economy (2009) offers a fresh perspective on how and why some nations of the world have become economic powerhouses and others have ended up as financial disasters. You’ll see that nations aren’t handcuffed by fate. Rather, their economic success or failure is based on the choices they make.

    False Economy Review

    False Economy by Alan Beattie (2009) is a thought-provoking exploration of the hidden costs behind economic decisions. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It uncovers the unintended consequences of various economic policies, challenging conventional wisdom and shedding light on complex global issues.
    • By examining diverse case studies and historical events, the book reveals how economic decisions can shape societies and impact both individuals and nations.
    • The author's accessible and engaging approach makes this book a compelling read for anyone interested in understanding the intricacies of the global economy.

    Best quote from False Economy

    It was history and choice, not fate, which determined which became which.

    —Alan Beattie
    example alt text

    Who should read False Economy?

    • Anyone interested in economics
    • Readers who want to learn about the politics of money
    • People interested in international business

    About the Author

    Alan Beattie has a master’s degree in economics from Cambridge University. After working as an economist for the Bank of England, he joined the Financial Times in 1998, and became the newspaper’s world trade editor in 2004.

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    False Economy FAQs 

    What is the main message of False Economy?

    The main message of False Economy is the hidden costs and unintended consequences of economic decisions.

    How long does it take to read False Economy?

    The reading time for False Economy varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just a few minutes.

    Is False Economy a good book? Is it worth reading?

    False Economy is an insightful read that sheds light on the complexities of economics. It offers a fresh perspective and is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of False Economy?

    Alan Beattie is the author of False Economy.

    What to read after False Economy?

    If you're wondering what to read next after False Economy, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • A Little History of Economics by Niall Kishtainy
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