In 2001 Argentina's government bankrupted itself, yet for the past two hundred years it had enjoyed a vista of ecomic opportunity almost identical to that of the US. Why did the US succeed while Argentina stalled? Botswana and Sierra Leone are both blessed with abundant diamonds. Why did Botswana become the world's fastest-growing ecomy while Sierra Leone suffered a decade of brutal civil war? The path to prosperity is rarely obvious and the sources of success are often unexpected. Time and again, world leaders have failed to learn the lessons of ecomic history, and their mistakes continue to have surprising and catastrophic consequences. In False Ecomy, Alan Beattie uses extraordinary stories of ecomic triumph and disaster to explain how some countries went wrong while others went right, and why it's so difficult to change course once you're on the path to ruin. Along the way, you'll discover why Africa doesn't grow cocaine, why our asparagus comes from Peru, why your keyboard spells QWERTY and why giant pandas are living on borrowed time.
After graduating with a degree in history from Balliol College, Oxford, Alan Beattie took a master's degree in economics at Cambridge. He worked as an economist at the Bank of England until 1998 when he joined the Financial Times. He is currently the world trade editor of the Financial Times.