Not without biases, but a smart and engaging look at the workings of the economic machine under various regimes,...

READ REVIEW

CAPITALISM IN AMERICA

A HISTORY

Everyone’s favorite Randian economist explains the rise of American economic supremacy and worries for its passing.

Former Federal Reserve chair Greenspan (The Map and the Territory: Risk, Human Nature, and the Future of Forecasting, 2013, etc.) teams up with Economist political editor Wooldridge (co-author: The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State, 2014, etc.) to chronicle the emergence of the United States from economic backwater to powerhouse, with its 5 percent of the world’s population accounting for 25 percent of its GDP. By the authors’ account, this rise has several key components, including diversity, equal opportunity to enter a marketplace with few barriers to entry, and an openness to contribution from just about everyone—the farmer’s son Henry Ford, for instance, who toured the great slaughterhouses of Chicago and marveled at the carcasses moving through the saws and trimmers: “It was during a visit to one of these abattoirs that Henry Ford got the idea of the mass assembly line.” Though of a libertarian bent, Greenspan and Wooldridge seemingly approve of public goods in the form of education, which, among other things, has long allowed the U.S. to be a “talent magnet” for entrepreneurially minded immigrants; now, events inspire them to decry “the current rise of nativism and populism.” Rather more predictably, the authors lament the rise of regulation. “In the 1930s," they write, “Americans turned to government to save them from the instability of the market. In the 1980s, they turned to entrepreneurs to save them from the suffocation of government." The current regulation-heavy environment, coupled with lack of innovation and misguided efforts to place barriers on free trade, may lead to the emergence of rivals better attuned to the global market. Meanwhile, the authors foresee the beginnings of stagflation and the eventual economic decline of the once peerless U.S. market.

Not without biases, but a smart and engaging look at the workings of the economic machine under various regimes, isolationist and internationalist alike.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2244-1

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more