I don’t know why I should go for a book on economics of all things. I am working in a financial services company now, and part of getting ahead there is knowing something about the whole shebang. I saw the Uncommon Knowledge interview with Gilder and found it compelling enough to get to the book, but I am still not sure what it was made me want to read about the dismal science to begin with.
What I found is a book that I’d compare in its effect on me with Collingwood’s The Idea of History. Wealth and Poverty is an argument for the metaphysicality of wealth just as The Idea of History is an argument for the metaphysicality of history, and that is the sort of idea I find most exciting.
Not to say the book doesn’t have statistics and at times threatens to take a way that seems dreary. But it never ends up taking that way. His argument I found persuasive (but you know that I want to believe anyone telling me that reality is spiritual and that our senses give us a world of appearance merely), and his explanations of various phenomena satisfying and illuminating.
I like his energy and I also like his resilience. We live in a day when many under the constant defeats of life have taken to viewing all the world in the light of defeat. Life has defeats and our age has many defeats for people like me, no doubt. Gilder’s vision of our economic times is not gilded, but it is not one of despondency or resigned apathy. Here’s the curious thing: one might say it is a book on economics aimed at the affections. Or at least one I was able to take as such. Like the heroic ideal in which defeats abound, but the only defeat is dishonor and the real triumph is the splendid triumph of honor. Highly recommended.