David R. Henderson  

The Price of Everything

Is Obama a type P?... Morning Reading...

My review of Russ Roberts' excellent economics novel, The Price of Everything is in the latest issue of Regulation. Roberts is definitely growing as a novelist. I like it better than The Invisible Heart, which I liked better than his first novel, The Choice.

The following paragraph tells about one of my favorite parts of the book:

There are other nice touches. One of my favorites is Lieber's story of a family friend who put 20 years of his life into producing a medical device that made him rich. Lieber makes clear that the way you get rich in a free market is by producing something people really want. Why did they want this medical device? Because it blasted the plaque from people's arteries, making open-heart surgery unnecessary. In the previous year, the device had helped about 4,000 people. But then the man found out that he had liver cancer and a life expectancy of only a few months. He was distraught. His children were grown and he had hardly ever been around; his wife had left him. I don't want to give away the story -- it surprised me and I want you to have the same surprise. But what happened next was a wonderful, loving, and totally believable way of helping the man see just how important his life had been.

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COMMENTS (2 to date)
Ian Dunois writes:

I definitely enjoyed the book but not as much as I had enjoyed the Invisible Heart. The cheesy romance in Invisible Heart gave it an edge over The Price of Everything although the Price of Everything allowed for a deeper understanding of economics.

Lieber's story was definitely interesting, but his was just one of the many in that table full of Tombstones.
This book was less cheesy than the first, but still a fun read albeit with a lame duck ending. I was hoping for a good Tullockian quote on public choice at the end. Perhaps something along the lines of the first quote that is found when googling Tullock quotes:
"Characteristically, however, the overthrow of the dictator
simply means that there will be another dictator. ...
the policies they follow will probably not be radically different.
If we look around the world, we quickly realize that these policies
will not be radically different from those that would be followed
by a democracy either."

FGH writes:

Cable show conservatives would be well advised to bone up on the great responses to liberal bromides provided in these economic novels. It is not enough to ask repeatedly, as Hannity did last night, "Where has socialism ever worked?", if we are to advance in winning these popular debates. It occurs to me that someone (Russ Roberts and friends?) ought to compile a lexicon of the very best quotations answering the anticipated liberal comments/objections. In the new one-party political dominance, such a book would be a welcome weapon, one that could be widely dispersed to all the soldiers in the Great War.

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