A cogent and urgent argument of compelling interest to economists and policymakers.

THE EURO

HOW A COMMON CURRENCY THREATENS THE FUTURE OF EUROPE

A tale of monetary union and its discontents.

Nobel Prize winner Stiglitz (Economics/Columbia Univ.; Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy: An Agenda for Growth and Shared Prosperity, 2015, etc.), long a nuanced critic of globalization, turns his attention to the doomed project that is the single European currency, the euro. Doomed, that is, because it presupposes an economic integration into a single economic community that has not been matched by the necessary political integration. The eurozone may be a single entity in theory, but in reality, it harbors competing national interests. Furthermore, any government requires the ability to develop and enforce its own regulations, a cause for conflict within any overarching union. Stiglitz sees within the push for the single currency the same neoliberal motivations as for globalization, a related process, and those, not surprisingly, involve making the rich richer at the expense of the poor. In the case of Europe, the byword for the poor is Greece, the nation that has perhaps suffered most in the cause of economic integration, where wage and pension decreases have had catastrophic effects, including a general devaluation of the economy. “Internal devaluation increases economic fragility by bringing more households and firms to the brink of bankruptcy,” he writes. “Inevitably, they cut back on spending on everything.” Lack of spending in a consumer economy yields disaster, and in the case of Greece, “the best evidence is that a country that goes through a deep downturn never bounces back to make up for what is lost. What is lost is lost forever.” Short of dissolving an economic union that he regards as ill-advised, Stiglitz examines possible palliatives, including allowance for more economic flexibility within the EU, with different areas trading at different values. That economic union can and should be saved, he writes, but only if it truly means the creation of “the shared prosperity and solidarity that was part of the promise of the euro.”

A cogent and urgent argument of compelling interest to economists and policymakers.

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-393-25402-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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