A rational, welcome exploration of an international trade that is now at a crossroads, becoming less global than regional.

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OUTSIDE THE BOX

HOW GLOBALIZATION CHANGED FROM MOVING STUFF TO SPREADING IDEAS

One-time Economist editor Levinson outlines a new phase in the history of globalization.

The author’s history of the standardized shipping container, The Box, spoke to an instrument of global trade that enabled a key chapter in economic history: the ability to transport raw materials to faraway manufacturing centers and ship finished goods to commercial centers around the globe. That “Third Globalization,” as Levinson calls it, does much to render national borders immaterial, at least in some respects: “When a Massachusetts-based manufacturer of industrial abrasives with plants in twenty-seven countries could be owned by a Paris-based corporation that counted Dutch pension funds, British investment trusts, and Middle Eastern governments among its major shareholders, who was to say whether the resulting entity was ‘French,’ ‘American,’ or just ‘international’?” Borders may have been erased, but discontent is high in countries from which manufacturing jobs fled—foremost among them the U.S. Globalization writ large has been a good thing, Levinson argues, for people around the world, lifting huge populations out of poverty. But it has also fueled inequality, and far-flung supply chains are risky propositions. Moreover, resentments among industrial workers in the wealthy nations of the West have since led to a resurgence of nationalism, accompanied by the recent rise of authoritarian leaders around the world. The new, fourth phase of globalization is in some ways a response to tightened borders, tariffs, and economic retrenchment. Now it hinges on intellectual capital, and economic activity can zip around the globe in seconds without crossing physical borders. Many commercial goods can be downloaded (movies) or 3-D-printed while “technology is making it easier to manufacture on a smaller scale” for a bespoke audience. Levinson deals lucidly with thorny matters of fiscal and trade policy, and though his book presupposes an interest in such things, it requires no background in economics to follow it.

A rational, welcome exploration of an international trade that is now at a crossroads, becoming less global than regional.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-691-19176-8

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Princeton Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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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 cleareyed, concise look at current and future affairs offering pertinent points to reflect and debate.

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TEN LESSONS FOR A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD

The CNN host and bestselling author delivers a pithy roundup of some of the inevitable global changes that will follow the current pandemic.

Examining issues both obvious and subtler, Zakaria sets out how and why the world has changed forever. The speed with which the Covid-19 virus spread around the world was shocking, and the fallout has been staggering. In fact, writes the author, “it may well turn out that this viral speck will cause the greatest economic, political, and social damage to humankind since World War II.” The U.S., in particular, was exposed as woefully unprepared, as government leadership failed to deliver a clear, practical message, and the nation’s vaunted medical institutions were caught flat-footed: "Before the pandemic…Americans might have taken solace in the country’s great research facilities or the huge amounts of money spent on health care, while forgetting about the waste, complexity and deeply unequal access that mark it as well." While American leaders wasted months denying the seriousness of Covid-19 and ignoring the advice of medical experts, other countries—e.g., South Korea, New Zealand, and Taiwan—acted swiftly and decisively, underscoring one of the author's main themes and second lesson: "What matters is not the quantity of government but the quality.” Discussing how “markets are not enough,” the author astutely shoots down the myth that throwing money at the problem can fix the situation; as such, he predicts a swing toward more socialist-friendly policies. Zakaria also delves into the significance of the digital economy, the resilience of cities (see the success of Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taipei in suppressing the virus), the deepening of economic inequality around the world, how the pandemic has exacerbated the rift between China and the U.S. (and will continue to do so), and why “people should listen to the experts—and experts should listen to the people."

A cleareyed, concise look at current and future affairs offering pertinent points to reflect and debate.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-393-54213-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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