The Great Convergence by Richard Baldwin

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The Great Convergence by Richard Baldwin

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Category: Business and Finance
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Andy Heath
Reviewed by Andy Heath
Summary: 'The Great Convergence' seeks to explain the current shifts in economic globalisation. It is well argued and researched but it is not one for the casual reader
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 330 Date: November 2016
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 978-0674660489

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The globalisation of the world economy is a central factor in life and politics today. 'The Great Convergence' attempts to explain the current driving forces behind the phenomena and the likely consequences. It is well argued, and supported by a wealth of data and research, but it is not one for a general reader. A background in economic principles and an understanding of some key concepts would be a key requisite in getting the most out of this book. Without this background, the reader will be constantly switching from the text and cross-referencing the meaning of some of the vocabulary used. With that note of caution, and the required understanding, Richard Baldwin's analysis is compelling.

He argues that the global economies of the world are about to enter a new age of globalisation. Information technologies, and the ability to rapidly move ideas and data, have evened the imbalance existing since the industrial revolution. With the wealth of research, that he provides to support his arguments it is difficult to draw an alternative conclusion. His findings, if they happen, will have major repercussions in the way that we approach global economics. The rise of the developing world and the decline of the economies traditionally associated with the west will create opportunities, but as Baldwin points out, pitfalls as well.

An interesting overview, one that the general reader could enjoy, is the development of economic systems. They are linked to migration and the evolutionary development of humanity. Baldwin takes us on the journey of humankind with great flair and detail. It is an interesting narrative and woven through his arguments with great imagination. This history almost runs in parallel to the main text. It's rich, interesting and provides a counter narrative that puts meat onto some of the bones.

Economics is not an easy subject. It is complex and has a structure and language unique to itself. There are many books that seek to open this world to the general reader. 'Freakonomics' and the 'The Armchair Economist' are two popular ones that spring to mind. 'The Great Convergence' is not in the same vein. It is more technical and requires the reader to have an awareness of economic principles. Armed with these Baldwin's work is fascinating. Economists have plenty of research and raw data to analyse and develop counter arguments. As a result, 'The Great Convergence' is set to become a canonical text within the field.

If you enjoy The Great Convergence, you may also enjoy:

The End of Growth by Richard Heinberg
What if Money Grew on Trees?: Asking the big questions about economics by David Boyle
Demystifying the Chinese Economy by Justin Yifu Lin
Scarcity and Frontiers: How Economies Have Developed Through Natural Resource Exploitation by Edward B Barbier

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Buy The Great Convergence by Richard Baldwin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Great Convergence by Richard Baldwin at


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