Winner of the Enlightened Economist Prize 2019
Winner of Debut Writer of the Year at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards 2020
Longlisted for the Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award 2019
'A highly original approach to understanding what really makes economies tick.' Mervyn King, former Governor of 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. Leading economist 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.
"A highly original approach to understanding what really makes economies tick. Both insightful and accessible to non-economists."
"Davies visits economies pushed to the limit and examines what their response teaches us about resilience in the face of climate change, demographic shifts and state failure."
"An exploration of the lessons to be drawn from disaster-stricken economies and imperilled (but innovative) people, which ranges from the jungles of Panama to post-tsunami Indonesia to the prison system of Louisiana and Syrian refugee camps."
"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."