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11 of 12 found the following review helpful:
How Wealth and Progress are made, Apr 20, 1999
As a nation we have just closed a trying chapter on American Government in action. A determined Special Prosecutor, with an unlimited budget, turned loose with no one holding the reigns, almost brought the Presidency crumbling to the ground.
Many people railed against the depth of intrusion that was imposed on the first family. But if you stop to think about it, perhaps government was only getting a dose of their own medicine: being repaid for their intervention and intrusion into the private life's of its citizens.
In Edmund's book this intrusion is explained and outlined in such a fashion that readers can understand and follow. In the early part of this century America experienced huge creative and inventive leaps. These advances made the inventors and the producers (makers) rich, giving birth to the American Dream.
Seeing this, government decided they needed more of a share- "for the greater good". Contoski details how the takers (government and big business) have since intervened and taken a larger piece of the pie by passing laws that benefit them and which keep the "makers" plodding along a treadmill, chasing after an "American Dream" that as been quietly stolen away from us bit by bit. Never a fan of economics or finance- I wondered if I could provide a good or objective review of this publication. Edmund has made this easy to understand and an interesting read. You'll find yourself nodding your head as you read his examples, and saying to yourself, " Yeah, I can see that now."
He fully explains the origins of the American system and how it fed and nurtured an unprecedented number of "makers.Then, just as deftly he highlights the subtle changes in our political belief system and orientation. These changes often so subtle that they have, until now, remained unnoticeable.
This book should be required reading for every registered voter in the U.S.
Amazing facts you can read about in the book MAKERS AND TAKERS
1200 people die unnecessarily because of the Food and Drug Administrations 5 year delay in approving the drug nitrazepam;
Over 100,000 people die from the FDA's 7 year delay in approving beta blockers;
The federal government-while posing as the protector of the environment-is the nation's largest polluter. The Defense Dept. alone generates more hazardous waste than the five largest chemical companies combined. Other sources of pollution include federal prisons, hospitals-and even the EPA itself.
A million Peruvians became infected with cholera-and 10,000 died-after chlorination of drinking water was stopped because of EPA policy.
Read how EPA falsified sulfur dioxide emission studies in order to force stringent regulations on utility companies and other coal-burning industries. Leslie Blanchard
Editor A Writer's Choice Literary Journal ISSN: 1521-2319 [...] & The Bear's Den- Spoken Word Poetry [...] icq# 33958401
6 of 7 found the following review helpful:
Fascinating and factual synthesis Aug 05, 2000
By Lillian R. Rodberg
Assigning a single rating to any book, let alone this one, is an exercise in frustration. Does one go with thematic-informational integration (5 stars), wealth of detail (5 stars), reference potential (5 stars), breadth of scope (4 stars), level of readability (4 stars), or documentation of facts (3 stars, maybe 4)? Or does one consider prose style (2 stars or at best a "C" for "clear"), conciseness, particularly in setting forth the unifying thesis (2), or usefulness as a reference as derived from the quality of the index (sorry, Amazon's system doesn't provide for minus grades)? Or does one demonstrate one of the author's points about egalitarianism by assigning an average (3.6 points), thereby slighting a valuable and frequently fascinating book?
Mr. Contoski has achieved an admirable synthesis from myriad historical and economic facts and observations, adding up to both a moral and a practical affirmation of individual freedom as the source of progress in all its aspects, spiritual, intellectual, and economic. Readers of Ayn Rand will quickly recognize the theme of the mind as the "mover" in human advances. Indeed, the statement of the author's overall theme could be described as "Galt's Speech"-- and indeed, his own "Manifesto of Infividualism" -with supportive facts and without the poetry, but also without Rand's unfortunate shrill moralizing and didacticism. (That being the case, I would have liked to see Rand given a bit of credit in the text.) Without the poetry, however, the thematic statement is very tough going indeed-first because this section is so repetitious and second because Mr. Contoski, obviously by choice, excludes my half of the audience by persistent use of "man" and "men" when in 99.44 percent of the cases "humans" or "people" would serve more accurately and grate less on the millennium-tuned ear. I confess I made it through the theory eventually by reading only the topic sentence of each paragraph.
But sticking with it pays off bigtime. Most of the book-and certainly the most riveting part--is devoted to a once-through-each-type-of-purpose-defeating interventionism from currency manipulation through environmental regulation through education in a staggering demonstration of its counterproductivity in every guise and every sense of the word. Here are facts in profusion. One could wish that more statements had been documented with footnotes (though many have been), and that more had been obtained from primary sources. But as an act of synthesis, "Makers and Takers" is a marvel in its marshalling of the facts that support its thesis. Many of these facts are little known. For example, that private industry spends more annually on training and education than the entire U.S. budget for same--$240 billion versus $210. Or that rain is more acid over the ocean and some uninhabited places. Or that only one kind of asbestos is dangerous. Or the original intent and design of the Electoral College. Or ... If only the index permitted my re-finding more examples in the time I can allot to writing this review.
Lillian R. Rodberg, Allentown, PA firstname.lastname@example.org
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
Why Freedom Works (And Coersion Doesn't) in One Lesson Oct 25, 2001
I read this last year, and have been trying to buy extra copies from Amazon ever since to send to friends. This is a book that could convert a lot of people from statists to Libertarians, if they would only read it. I rank it with my favorites from Thomas Sowell, Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek and Henry Hazlitt.
There are an astounding number of facts on health, the environment, industry, education, economics and practically everything classical liberals and libertarians need to refute arguments for increased government control over every aspect of our lives.
In spite of the huge amount of information, it's exceptionally well-organized, and it's also fun reading, with "Ahaas!" on every page. I couldn't put it down. In fact, some of the descriptions of government bungling, unintended consequences and dirty dealing are entertaining enough to make you laugh (or cry) depending on your mood.
I'm going to try again to order several copies for Christmas presents, because I have a few friends who have been seduced by the dark side who could be saved by this book, and a few friends who already "get it" who could use the ammo.
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
Remarkable synthysis of philosophy and a wealth of data. Mar 10, 2002
By Barry Milliken
Contowski marshalls an astonishingly usefull array of facts (from taxation to environment) in support of human freedom and agaist governmental intervention. Especially good at explaining why human ingenuity trumps fears of resource depletion.
This is the book that Bjorn Lomberg needs to read to understand why the statistics he understands so well, support a wholly different world view than he still clings to.
6 of 8 found the following review helpful:
My favorite book since "The Road to Serfdom"! Jan 27, 1999
The book makes understandable the essense of the struggle between the left and right in the United States and throughout the world. It starts with the beginning of civilization and leads right up to today.
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