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Cities and the Wealth of Nations [Paperback]

Jane Jacobs
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 12 1985 Vintage
"Learned, iconoclastic and exciting...Jacobs' diagnosis of the decay of cities in an increasingly integrated world economy is on the mark."—New York Times Book Review

"Jacobs' book is inspired, idiosyncratic and personal...It is written with verve and humor; for a work of embattled theory, it is wonderfully concrete, and its leaps are breathtaking."—Los Angeles Times

"Not only comprehensible but entertaining...Like Mrs. Jacobs' other books, it offers a concrete approach to an abstract and elusive subject. That, all by itself, makes for an intoxicating experience."—New York Times

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Cities and the Wealth of Nations + The Economy of Cities + The Death and Life of Great American Cities
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From the Publisher

"It offers a concrete approach to an abstract and elusive subject. That, all by itself, makes for an intoxicating experience."--The New York Times

About the Author

Jane Jacobs was the legendary author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, a work that has never gone out of print and that has transformed the disciplines of urban planning and city architecture. Her other major works include The Economy of Cities, Systems of Survival, The Nature of Economies and Dark Age Ahead. She died in 2006.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wealth Creation Feb. 21 2001
Format:Paperback
"Any settlement that becomes import-replacing becomes a city." Cities and the Wealth of Nations, Jane Jacobs
Written by an economist, this is a very unusual book. Ms. Jacobs is not hampered by orthodox preconceived notions, misleading postulated theoretical myths like utility optimization, rationality, or efficient markets. These standard phrases of neo-classical economic theory cannot be found in her book. Instead, and although her discussion is entirely nonmathematical, she uses a crude qualtitative idea of excess demand dynamics, of growth vs. decline. Her expectation is never of equilibrium. The notion of equilibrium never appears in this book. Jacobs instead describes qualitatively the reality of nonequilibrium in the economic life of cities, regions, and nations. She concentrates on the surprises of economic reality.
Jacobs argues fairly convincingly that significant, distributed wealth is created by cities that are inventive enough to replace imports by their own local production, that this is the only reliable source of wealth for cities in the long run, and that these cities need other like-minded cities to trade with in order to survive and prosper. Her expectation is of growth or decline, not of equilibrium. If she is right then the Euro and the European Union are a bad mistake, going entirely in the wrong direction. As examples in support of her argument she points to independent cites like Singapore and Hong Kong with their own local currencies. Other interesting case histories are TVA, small villages in France and Japan, other cases in Italy, Columbia, Ethiopia, US, Iran, ... .
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5.0 out of 5 stars Age Does Not Wither the Provocative Appeal April 3 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Some of your other reviewers have said that they believe this book is outdated.
That is, I can't help but think, the reaction of internet babies, who are spoiled by the 24 hour round-the-clock updating of bloggers.
This is a printed book that gives evidence of having been written at a certain moment in history, and in a certain portion of the planet. So what? That is true of all great books, and the question for us is whether we can (a) appreciate that context while (b) taking from them something lasting.
The answer, for this book, is decidedly afirmative.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting, observant, and enduring work April 27 2000
By Eric
Format:Paperback
Wow. Jacobs is so adept at explaining the complex currents of global, national and local economies that even the casual reader will be spellbound. The book is simultaneously radical (she essentially repudiates all modern macro-economic theory) and reasonable. This book is a great asset to anyone who wishes to comprehend the world around them.
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