> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 3 September 2019
  • ISBN: 9781787632004
  • Imprint: Bantam Press
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $35.00

Extreme Economies

Survival, Failure, Future – Lessons from the World’s Limits




Inspiring and thought-provoking, Extreme Economies is filled with lively stories about human experience at society's limits, and the lessons these economic outliers can provide for our future.

'Extreme Economies is a revelation - and a must-read.' Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England

In search of a fresh perspective on the modern economy, Extreme Economies takes the reader off the beaten path, introducing people living at the world’s margins. From disaster zones and displaced societies to failed states and hidden rainforest communities, the lives of people who inhabit these little-known places tend to be ignored by economists and policy makers. Richard Davies argues that this is a mistake, and explains why the world’s overlooked extremes offer a glimpse of the forces that underlie human resilience, help markets to function and cause them to fail, and will come to shape our collective future.

Whether trekking with Punjabi migrants through the lawless Panamanian jungle or revealing the clever trick Syrians use to underpin trade in the world’s most entrepreneurial refugee camp, Richard Davies brings a storyteller’s eye to places where the economy has been destroyed, distorted, and even turbocharged. In adapting to circumstances that would be unimaginable to most of us, the people he encounters have become economic pioneers whose lives help us reflect on our own.

At once intimate and analytical, Extreme Economies draws the lines between personal narratives and global trends, shedding light on today’s biggest economic questions and providing vital lessons for our turbulent future.

  • Pub date: 3 September 2019
  • ISBN: 9781787632004
  • Imprint: Bantam Press
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $35.00

Praise for Extreme Economies

“Breathtaking. An entertaining, fascinating, important reminder of the power of economics to shape all of our lives.”

Ed Conway, Economics Editor of Sky News

“Richard Davies balances economics with art, exposing the trade-offs made by people living today and forcing us to question the outcomes of our decisions.”

Will Page, Chief Economist at Spotify

“We learn most about ourselves at times of extreme stress and challenge. Using nine compelling country case studies, Richard Davies brilliantly demonstrates that the same is true of our economic systems. In its approach and insights, Extreme Economies is a revelation - and a must-read.”

Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England

“Exciting to see economics strike out into the real world showing how trauma and chaos can yield raw truths about markets, monopolies and the state.”

Simon Jenkins

“Richard Davies obviously made the kind of road trip many of us only dream of to write Extreme Economies. I tore through it. An economist who can write so well while at the same time explaining the economic principles so clearly is always a joy.”

Diane Coyle