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The Darwin Economy:
Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good
Robert H. Frank
With a new afterword by the author

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]

In Defense of a Libertarian Welfare State: Response to Michael Shermer

ADDITIONAL REVIEWS:

"Frank's worthy and unfashionable aim is to argue the economic case for some forms of government regulation, to defend taxation, and even to advocate certain forms of tax increase."--Howard Davies, Times Higher Education

"The Darwin Economy fundamentally challenges this theory of competition which, argues Frank, is a flawed way of understanding competitive forces throughout many aspects of economic life. . . . Frank adds something new to the debate. . . . [H]e offers a powerful theoretical insight into the nature of competitive economic forces and the free market. . . . [I]t is an insight we could all potentially benefit from."--Daniel Sage, LSE Politics & Policy blog

"[V]ery illuminating."--Matthew Shaffer, National Review Online's The Agenda

"Frank's argument is a strong critique of the neo-classical view of the market and unlike many liberal critiques, does not rely on arguments about market imperfections, dominant powers, information asymmetries or irrationality. . . . [T]he Darwin Economy provides an important argument that must be addressed by any libertarian."--Evolving Economics blog

"Frank's book is peppered with examples of how actions that improve the well-being of the individual harm the collectivity. . . . [B]rave and welcome . . ."--Robert Kuttner, American Prospect

"The practical implications of Frank's insight are quite broad. . . . Frank manages to write breezily and with a minimum of jargon. His book deserves wide readership among people who suspect that something has gone drastically wrong with the economy."--Charles R. Morris, Commonweal

"Applying Darwin to economics provides new ways of thinking about taxation and the role of government in a free society. It also reminds economists and bankers how much they have neglected the humble wisdom with which they must confront uncertainty."--Arab News

"Frank makes a compelling argument against the libertarian view that government should not interfere with individual liberty by forcing us to buy safety or insurance, via taxation. . . . His book is a welcome addition to a field that is in need of more economists and political theorists who challenge the status quo and explore concepts of justice in the spirit of John Rawls and Michael Sandel."--ForeWord

"Reading this book will . . . provide a useful counterpoint to EU discussion about fiscal austerity and the importance of solidarity in the EU budget. Whether you start on the left or the right this book invites some re-thinking."--European Voice

"Frank is one of the most interesting economists regularly writing for the public. Serious scholars across the social sciences will learn a lot from this book."--Choice

"[T]he Darwin Economy is noteworthy for its very acrobatic devotion to some--any--model that would seem well positioned to supplant the invisible hand as the prime mover of economic life in market societies. Instead of simply noting the abundant empirical failures of free-market theorizing for what they are--and thereby placing the burden of accountability on the small-government apostles of deregulation--Frank opts for the centrist dodge of trimming the differences between the excesses of libertarian dogma on the one hand and the reflexes of an allegedly Naderite, intervention-happy left cadre of government bureaucrats on the other."--Chris Lehmann, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas

"[E]xcellent; clearly written, engaging, and logically argued."--Devorah Bennu, GrrlScientist blog

"This is an intelligent and well-written book that will certainly inspire you [to] think about economics in a different way to what you did before. . . . I think students of economics, evolutionary theory and anyone with interests in these areas will benefit greatly by reading and thinking about the arguments presented in this book."--Devorah Bennu, GrrlScientist (hosted by The Guardian)

"The Darwin Economy competes against libertarianism, modern economics and laissez-faire models--its robust arguments succeed, hailing Charles Darwin as a general theorist of competition-driven economics. . . . [A] . . . necessary read."--Robert Terpstra, Business Today Egypt

"This is an important book that brings together three decades of research and writing by the author to better understand the nature of our modern economy and to provide policy recommendations. . . . [Y]ou will benefit from reading this book."--Ronnie J. Phillips, Journal of Economic Issues

"I have no problems recommending The Darwin Economy especially to non-academics with an interest in economics and to undergraduate students of economics. Seasoned researchers wi1l find some of Frank's more provocative arguments of interest, but it is clearly aimed at nonexperts. Frank's book is enjoyable to read, it is insightful and insightful, and on balance it is a dear force for good amongst popular economic discourse."--Rory Fairweather, Kelvingrove Review

"In this brilliant book, Robert H. Frank does much more than remind us that taxes pay for essential public services."--Jon Wainwright, Skeptic magazine

ADDITIONAL ENDORSEMENTS:

"I've been reading Robert Frank's books for years, and he just gets better and better. I strongly recommend The Darwin Economy: it's clear, persuasive, and cleverly entertaining, and it provides a new and original insight about a central issue in economics. Read and enjoy."--Thomas C. Schelling, Nobel Laureate in Economics

"The Darwin Economy debunks popular nostrums of both left and right, and takes particular aim at the notion that a well-functioning competitive market system will necessarily produce socially optimal results. Frank suggests novel approaches to America's problems that go well beyond the tired ideas of the present debate."--Francis Fukuyama, author of The Origins of Political Order

"Competition often serves the parts better than the whole. This is true for both species evolution and human society. Only a fool would count on the invisible hand. In his usual clearheaded and lively style, Robert Frank explains how Charles Darwin thought more deeply about these issues than most contemporary economists."--Frans de Waal, author of The Age of Empathy and Our Inner Ape

"Pointing to new ways of thinking about collective action and taxation, Robert Frank has given us a book that is as important as it is timely."--Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational

"The Darwin Economy's message is in my view the only hope for a rational economic future."--William J. Baumol, past president, American Economic Association

"This lucid, deeply engaging book provides the perfect antidote to the mindless sloganeering that dominates our current discussions about the role of government in a free society."--Dani Rodrik, author of The Globalization Paradox

"Robert Frank convincingly predicts that Darwin will eventually be recognized as the true intellectual father of economics. After you read The Darwin Economy, you'll want this prediction to come true as soon as possible."--David Sloan Wilson, author of Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin's Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives

"Pondering the implications of Darwinian theory, and rejecting the received wisdom of libertarian and left-wing pundits alike, Robert Frank convincingly lays out economic policies that will benefit the rich, the poor, and the broader society."--Howard Gardner, author of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed

"Human beings cooperate. Markets help. That's Adam Smith. Human beings also compete: not just for resources, but for relative position in the mating game. That's Darwin. Add Darwin to Adam Smith, and you get Robert Frank, and a book full of dazzling insight."--Mark Kleiman, author of When Brute Force Fails

"Robert Frank is a national treasure in our discussions about public policy. He shows here that our understanding of economics needs to be informed more by a sophisticated interpretation of Charles Darwin than by a simplistic view of Adam Smith. Given the state of our politics, this latest dose of Frank advice deserves to be widely read."--Robert D. Putnam, author of Bowling Alone and American Grace

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File created: 8/19/2014

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