The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance by Russell Roberts is a terrific read almost impossible to put down. Using their budding friendship and romance, Roberts explores various ideas and arguments in the economic world, from paychecks to exporting business to Wal Mart, all in a clear, understandable way. Though the title, "an economic romance", certainly sounds odd, I learned a great deal reading this book. I found the book did more then give arguments, it made me think. While having at least some backround (like half a credit in high school economics) does make the story easier to understand, I would thoroughly reccomend the book to teenagers and adults of all ages and types.
Russell Roberts main character states Capitalism involves struggle, but it has an invisible heart beating at its core that transforms peoples lives.1 in his first novel The Invisible Heart, an Economic Romance. Now my grandfather has two great grandchildren who are engineers (the math ability skipped my generation, but I have been an entrepreneur like my grandfather.) Hard work, and an emphasis on education, allowed my grandparents and their descendants to live the American Dream. And we know the secret in America: hard work coupled with decent education.3 Laura expresses the doubt that many share about the attainability of the American Dream for the poor in todays society. Charles Murray is creating quite a stir with his latest book, Coming Apart, where he postulates that America is dividing into a two-caste society one of an affluent, working, married, religious, and educated class, and another where people are much less likely to be married before having children, less likely to go to church, less involved in their communities, and less likely to be in the workforce.4 His main concern is that the two castes do not intermingle anymore because of where they live, work and go to school, and because of that lack of interaction, the lower caste will be doomed to its disadvantaged state. It is ironic that Sam and Laura are teachers at what the book calls the most prestigious private high school in Washington, DC. But even President Obama defunded the vouchers that allowed some of those students to escape their failing neighborhood schools to go to private schools where they might have been able to mingle with the affluent class.5 A new report from The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that supports education reform, found that 44 percent of current United States senators and 36 percent of current members of the U.S. House of Representatives "had at one time sent their children to private schools." "Among the general public," the report says, "only 11 percent of American students attend private schools." What's more, the Heritage report found that one fifth of members of the 11th Congress attended private high schools themselves, which is nearly twice the rate of the public at large.5 If anything, the above statistics support Murrays hypothesis, and Sam even echoes some of these concerns when he says, what better way to fight poverty than to improve the education of poor kids?...Between the welfare system and the public schools, weve destroyed a generation of children. In Winston-Salem, NC, where my business is based, education, business, religious and cultural leaders are working to rebuild the social capital needed to preserve the American Dream. I was surprised when he said, What changed with the Great Depression was an enormous increase in the involvement of the federal government giving away dramatically larger sums of money. Charitable bequests, which are made by individuals, totaled $22.83 billion or 8 percent of total giving. The sum of gifts by individuals and charitable bequests is $234.6 billion or 81 percent of total giving. Individual, bequest and estimated family foundation giving combined were approximately $254.10 billion or 87 percent of total giving. (Corporations do invest additional advertising dollars in cause-related marketing as a business expense.) However, these numbers show that Americans are investing in many charitable endeavors since the Government tried to drive them out of business after the Great Depression. Civic-minded individuals invisible hearts beating at its core to transforms peoples lives will make the difference in improving the social, educational, cultural and religious capital of America, many times in spite of the efforts of government to get in the way. Not the dream of riches, but the dream of the pursuit of happiness as the individual perceives it.9 1The Invisible Heart by Russell Roberts, p 170 2The Invisible Heart by Russell Roberts, p 169 3The Invisible Heart by Russell Roberts, p 171 4Coming Apart, The State of White America 1960 - 2010 by Charles Murray 5Obama Wrong on D.C. School Vouchers and Hypocritical, Just Like Congress by Peter Roff, US News and World Report 4/22/2009 http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/p...
The main characters are high school teachers, Sam Gordon, teaching economics, and Laura Silver, a literature teacher. Sam is very, very conservative when it comes to economics, while Laura is a little more easy-going about it (not a full-blown socialist, thankfully, for the sake of realism). Thankfully the author fixes a lot of the unrealistic aspects of the book by not rushing the plot.
Two mysteries are introduced; one concerning the villainous CEO of a pharmaceutical company, and a second concerning Sam himself.
I had to begin reading this book twice, but the second time I actually paid attention and understood the two main characters.
I do believe it works as an economics/philosophy book.