Next book

SHADOW COURTS

THE TRIBUNALS THAT RULE GLOBAL TRADE

Edwards does a great service for the public by turning the spotlight of disclosure on this dark corner of international...

TIME investigative reporter Edwards charges that the controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement tribunals at the heart of many current trade deals represent a major shift in global relations in favor of private corporate interests.

These tribunals set up arbitration procedures separate and exempt from the judicial systems and laws of the participating states, and taxpayers of those states can be held financially liable for private investor losses. This can include potential future losses as compensation for government actions against private investments. TransCanada, for example, is presently attempting to extract $15 billion from American taxpayers as compensation for potential losses from the denial of the Keystone XL pipeline project. The company claimed that President Barack “Obama’s decision to block the project violated the North American Free Trade Agreement.” As the author clearly shows, ISDS is involved in many bilateral trade agreements between nations, beginning with the first one in 1969. Edwards also believes that U.S. policymakers, in their enthusiasm for the potential of the mechanism when used against relatively powerless nations, overlooked the possibilities of its use against the U.S. The provision was included in NAFTA, writes the author, because “U.S. and Canadian investors operating in Mexico would need a way to avoid capricious Mexican courts.” The growth in the number of agreements featuring such provisions has been quick. By the early 1990s, there were a few hundred, but “as of 2015, there were more than 3,000.” Furthermore, their use against emerging economies has accelerated markedly—Argentina has faced 54 of them—and the huge increase in foreign investment in the U.S. assures they will be used here, too. This troubling trend has spawned an unanticipated permanent structure of well-paid arbitrators developing their own private body of “law,” outside any properly constituted legal system, to the detriment of states and their taxpayers.

Edwards does a great service for the public by turning the spotlight of disclosure on this dark corner of international relations.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9971264-0-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Columbia Global Reports

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 19


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

Next book

WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 19


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

Next book

A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

Close Quickview