Review: How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes by Andrew Schiff and Peter Schiff

Down and Dirty: 4 out of 5

The first economics books I’ve ever been able to follow start to finish.

I hope you like seafood puns, because this book is full of them! How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes is a stretch on a much older simplification for the Austrian school of economics by Irwin Schiff. The book takes the original concept of using fish on a remote island as an explanation for how an economy works, then runs with it, taking us through a fictional version of how the US economy grew, evolved and eventually failed so miserably.

Critics of the book who know far more about economics than I do explain that the metaphor gets a bit stretched at times and even loses some of the reality of the situation. They argue that other factors are not taken into consideration and I can understand that might be the case. Just as anyone watching a movie will say it left out a ton of what the book it was based on included, sometimes simplification is needed just to reach out to a less attentive audience (such as myself).

I can tell the book is clearly geared heavily to explaining the economy as Austrians see it and how it could evolve into China and other countries essentially turning the US into paupers. My only real concern is that the book has a definite ‘doom and gloom’ feel by the end. Most Americans don’t feel they can influence, let alone understand, governmental financial policy a great deal. However that is the cure this book dictates.

It’s a good read, whimsical and fairly easy to follow even for someone who doesn’t know or understand a wit of economics. Check it out if you’ve ever been a little curious, it might open a world of new ideas.

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