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The Nature of Economies by Jane Jacobs

The Nature of Economies (2001)

by Jane Jacobs

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    Ishmael by Daniel Quinn (aneurysm1985)
    aneurysm1985: Both are about similar social-ecological issues. And both are the result of the authors (Jacobs and Quinn) enlightening readers about non-fiction topics through the use of fictional characters and Platonic dialogue. Both novels are written with the overarching purpose of educating their readers about unfamiliar topics.… (more)

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Little too eclectic for may taste. Platonic dialogue of friends is superfluous - it doesn't add clarity nor interest. ( )
  parp | Aug 29, 2016 |
A fairly interesting approach to writing about a certain way to view economic structures, Jacobs invents a cast of characters (named, I have to assume, after dead 18th century English folks...plus a Kate. Or maybe these are common names in contemporary Toronto - the late Jacob's adopted hometown? I dunno.) in a series of dialogues, or rather, politely interrupted monologues offered up by some cat named Hiram to the perpetuity potentially offered by Armbruster's tape recorder (yeah, really). Ostensibly it's about the guy's theory that, while not directly modeled on natural processes, general economic structures are governed by the same systems that govern nature, in fact, that necessarily govern everything. I think that was the general thrust.

To make these curious discussions support this concept, or to at least prove interesting to the reader, Jacobs seemingly draws examples from a grab bag filled with everything from some unpublished 1950-something lecture to numerous recent articles from the The Globe and Mail. So all this comes off as unbridled randomness ever-so-slightly reined in by these peculiar seminar-like scenarios. Nonetheless, I found it engaging – if only because my exposure to non-architecture/urban stuff is woefully inadequate. I would recommend, at the conclusion of each chapter, looking to the non-footnoted notes in the back as she dedicates a brief description and source(s) for each specific item thrown out during these “conversations.” ( )
  mjgrogan | Jul 17, 2009 |
A good continuation of her previous work, Systems of Survival. The Nature of Economies is not quite as good, but it's still very worthwhile. The idea of import replacement has stuck with me ever since I read this. ( )
  thebookpile | Apr 25, 2008 |
Jacobs, Jane. The Nature of Economies. The Modern Library, New York, 2000. This book draws parallels between ecosystems and economies. These are two things that I have always thought very similar; on a first reading, there is little in Jacobs's book that adds fundamental clarity to my thoughts --- she just raises the same intuitive notions that I've long had. The one section that I found new and exciting, however, was the section on economic expansion. Measuring the fundamental health of an economy in terms of import-stretching makes perfect intuitive sense and it adds much insight to the contemplation of macroeconomics. Reading this short book is worth it for that idea alone. I intend to chase down the references in the notes to see if I can find more interesting general principles for complex systems that can be applied to ecosystems, economies, and perhaps even the development of computer software (the chic ``complexity theory'' everybody's talking about these days).
  BrianDewey | Jul 30, 2007 |
Jacobs tries to turn what should have been a work of pure theory/commentary, into a novel with narrative, to make it readable. It is a bit awkward, but if you can get beyond that it is another good book from this great thinker. ( )
  danielmacy | Jun 30, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375702431, Paperback)

Over the past 40 years, Jane Jacobs has produced an acclaimed series of analytical essays that examine the development of complex human systems and environments in a manner that's as literary as it is visionary. Her latest, The Nature of Economies, continues this artistic and provocative tradition by dissecting relationships between economics and ecology through a multilayered discourse around the fundamental premise that "human beings exist wholly within nature as part of a natural order." In a style reminiscent of the cinematic My Dinner with Andre, Jacobs gives us a captivating ongoing conversation between five contemporary New Yorkers who sip coffee and voice accepted, fact-based theories along with subjective but solid opinions regarding the way our society's fractal-like development is actually dependent upon "the same universal principles that the rest of nature uses." Digressing onto various and sundry paths as such dialogues always do--albeit, this time, on a very specific and methodical route as prescribed by Jacobs--the characters mull over business cycles, animal husbandry, habitat destruction, the implications of standardization and monopoly, competition in nature, the obsolescence of computers, and much, much more. This book is recommended for the eclectically curious who welcome the opportunity to eavesdrop on such stimulating table talk, even while lamenting the fact they can't join in. --Howard Rothman

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:28 -0400)

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