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A powerful argument for thoroughly revising how the chief players in the financial world are regulated.

Harvard Law School professor Coates looks inside the financial microcosm that exercises outsize influence on the economic landscape.

The “problem of 12” is a term of art that describes the capture of some aspect of commerce, governance, or the like by a small number of the participating players. In this instance, it’s a handful of index funds, entities such as Vanguard, Fidelity, State Street, and BlackRock, “which now own as much as 20 percent of corporate America.” Given that the S&P 500 is made up of companies in which a huge number of shareholders hold a tiny number of votes apiece—“no one person owns more than 1 percent of a company’s shares”—this enables these funds to exercise undue authority over the firms in question: CEOs have to listen to them perhaps even more closely than they do their own boards of directors. Sometimes, Coates allows, this can be to the good, as when the funds, responding to their own shareholders, press for companies to be more attentive to diversity hiring, climate change, and other issues of the day. More often, it has negative consequences. Especially damaging is the capture of a large sector of the economy by private equity funds. The private is a complicated term, but for the author’s purposes, one meaningful aspect is that these funds need not be as transparent in their reporting as other investors. Furthermore, they can acquire companies, dissolve pension funds, lay waste to payrolls, and engage in all sorts of rapacious mischief without being held to account in an ethos of “heads I win, tails you lose.” In this short report, Coates proposes “greater antitrust management of index and private equity funds and the companies they own,” which would involve thorough change in the face of massive lobbying efforts calculated to keep such change from happening.

A powerful argument for thoroughly revising how the chief players in the financial world are regulated.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2023

ISBN: 9798987053546

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Columbia Global Reports

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2023

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These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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

“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. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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