A current, exhaustive, and fact-filled tale of the Eastern phoenix (formerly a tiger) that will be of particular interest to...

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REMADE IN AMERICA

HOW ASIA WILL CHANGE BECAUSE AMERICA BOOMED

Just a few years ago there was a meltdown of Asian economies. That’s history, writes a knowledgeable observer. Now, he claims, financial benefits will not just trickle down, they will flow copiously from America to the recovering tigers of the East.

The 1997–98 hemispheric collapse is attributed by economist Rohwer (Asia Rising, 1995) to traditional and inherent lack of concern for credit risk, systemic institutional weakness (characterized by corruption and cronyism), and mindless international liquidity. The feckless IMF didn’t help much, either. National pride, individual arrogance, disdain for unconnected shareholders, bizarre bookkeeping, and little understanding of the concept of due diligence are all described as contributing to the remarkable disappearance of value in this study of the causes, effects, and results of a financial panic. Despite its excesses, the author believes that the mysterious East shall rise again, no longer moribund and a lot less inscrutable. Their indigenous financial repairmen, trained in the US and clutching cell phones, are cognizant of the mighty impact of the new information technology. With (or even without) Western investment, the new Asian capitalists will certainly employ Western (i.e., American) management techniques, and although one impediment may be destabilizing politics, the change will surely come. With daunting thoroughness we are taken through the diverse, restricted economic turfs of Japan and Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan. We learn of Singapore and Hong Kong from the local bigwigs. There are candid interviews with the likes of Jack Welch and Lee Kuan Yew. Daewoo and Samsung, Korean chaebol and Chinese family connections are covered in this sweeping analysis. Along with the text, charts, and tables, many perverse readers may, however, wish for an executive summary.

A current, exhaustive, and fact-filled tale of the Eastern phoenix (formerly a tiger) that will be of particular interest to economists, policy wonks, and investment bankers.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2001

ISBN: 0-8129-3251-X

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

CAPITAL AND IDEOLOGY

A massive investigation of economic history in the service of proposing a political order to overcome inequality.

Readers who like their political manifestoes in manageable sizes, à la Common Sense or The Communist Manifesto, may be overwhelmed by the latest from famed French economist Piketty (Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century: Inequality and Redistribution, 1901-1998, 2014, etc.), but it’s a significant work. The author interrogates the principal forms of economic organization over time, from slavery to “non-European trifunctional societies,” Chinese-style communism, and “hypercapitalist” orders, in order to examine relative levels of inequality and its evolution. Each system is founded on an ideology, and “every ideology, no matter how extreme it may seem in its defense of inequality, expresses a certain idea of social justice.” In the present era, at least in the U.S., that idea of social justice would seem to be only that the big ones eat the little ones, the principal justification being that the wealthiest people became rich because they are “the most enterprising, deserving, and useful.” In fact, as Piketty demonstrates, there’s more to inequality than the mere “size of the income gap.” Contrary to hypercapitalist ideology and its defenders, the playing field is not level, the market is not self-regulating, and access is not evenly distributed. Against this, Piketty arrives at a proposed system that, among other things, would redistribute wealth across societies by heavy taxation, especially of inheritances, to create a “participatory socialism” in which power is widely shared and trade across nations is truly free. The word “socialism,” he allows, is a kind of Pandora’s box that can scare people off—and, he further acknowledges, “the Russian and Czech oligarchs who buy athletic teams and newspapers may not be the most savory characters, but the Soviet system was a nightmare and had to go.” Yet so, too, writes the author, is a capitalism that rewards so few at the expense of so many.

A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-674-98082-2

Page Count: 976

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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