Readers interested in environmental economics, inequality, and like matters will benefit from Carney’s discussion.

VALUE(S)

BUILDING A BETTER WORLD FOR ALL

The U.N. Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance calls for a rethinking of capitalism “to build an economy that works for all.”

As a G-7 governor in Canada and the U.K., Carney instituted reforms that helped address the global financial meltdown of 2007 and that looked ahead at such challenges as climate change. At root, he writes, is a problem of values, that sticky realm of morality and ethics, in a time when value is perceived as determined solely by the market. Today, we live in a market society, “and this is now undermining our basic social contract of relative equality of outcomes, equality of opportunity and fairness across generations.” With that undermining and its dog-eat-dog ethos, the world has been largely unequipped to deal with the current pandemic while climate change and other crises have been fueled by a market fundamentalism that takes it as a matter of faith that markets are self-correcting, moral, and unimpeachable. This fundamentalism has expanded its reach “into spheres of life previously governed by non-market norms,” including health care, education, and criminal justice, further weakening social bonds and privileging wealth. Against this, Carney proposes an emphasis on solidarity and the enhancement of the social capital on which economic capital relies for its long-term health. The author extols corporations and leaders committed to “socially driven purpose” and urges community building and infrastructure development, including stricter regulations for carbon taxes, all overseen by the state. “Nations—not companies—must set these ground rules for markets to be fair,” he writes. It helps to have some knowledge of economics to follow the technical aspects of Carney’s argument, though it’s not a prerequisite. He writes clearly and well of the need for “a life of moral, not market, sentiments,” an argument that will send Chicago School acolytes into despair.

Readers interested in environmental economics, inequality, and like matters will benefit from Carney’s discussion.

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5417-6870-3

Page Count: 608

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

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PERSIST

The Massachusetts senator and financial reformer recounts several of her good fights over the years.

Famous for being chided for “persisting” on the Senate floor, Warren is nearly a byword for the application of an unbending, if usually polite, feminism to the corridors of power. Though she has a schoolmarm-ish air—and indeed taught school for much of her life—she gladly owns up to liking a beer or two and enjoying a good brawl, and she’s a scrapper with a long memory. In 2008, when she shopped a proposal to found a federal agency that “could act as a watchdog to make sure that consumers weren’t getting cheated by financial institutions,” she encountered a congressman who “laughed in my face.” She doesn’t reveal his name, but you can bet he crosses the hall when she’s coming the other way. Warren does name other names, especially Donald Trump, who, with Republicans on the Hill, accomplished only one thing, namely “a $2 trillion tax cut that mostly benefited rich people.” Now that the Democrats are in power, the author reckons that the time is ripe to shake off the Trump debacle and build “a nation that works, not just for the rich and powerful but for everyone.” She identifies numerous areas that need immediate attention, from financial reform to bringing more women into the workplace and mandating equal pay for equal work. Warren premises some of these changes on increased taxes on the rich, happily citing a billionaire well known for insider trading, who complained of her, “This is the fucking American dream she is shitting on.” The author reverts to form: “Oh dear. Did I hit a nerve?” Warren’s common-sensical proposals on housing, infrastructure development, and civil rights merit attention, and her book makes for a sometimes-funny, sometimes–sharp-tongued pleasure.

A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-79924-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: today

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A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

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A PROMISED LAND

In the first volume of his presidential memoir, Obama recounts the hard path to the White House.

In this long, often surprisingly candid narrative, Obama depicts a callow youth spent playing basketball and “getting loaded,” his early reading of difficult authors serving as a way to impress coed classmates. (“As a strategy for picking up girls, my pseudo-intellectualism proved mostly worthless,” he admits.) Yet seriousness did come to him in time and, with it, the conviction that America could live up to its stated aspirations. His early political role as an Illinois state senator, itself an unlikely victory, was not big enough to contain Obama’s early ambition, nor was his term as U.S. Senator. Only the presidency would do, a path he painstakingly carved out, vote by vote and speech by careful speech. As he writes, “By nature I’m a deliberate speaker, which, by the standards of presidential candidates, helped keep my gaffe quotient relatively low.” The author speaks freely about the many obstacles of the race—not just the question of race and racism itself, but also the rise, with “potent disruptor” Sarah Palin, of a know-nothingism that would manifest itself in an obdurate, ideologically driven Republican legislature. Not to mention the meddlings of Donald Trump, who turns up in this volume for his idiotic “birther” campaign while simultaneously fishing for a contract to build “a beautiful ballroom” on the White House lawn. A born moderate, Obama allows that he might not have been ideological enough in the face of Mitch McConnell, whose primary concern was then “clawing [his] way back to power.” Indeed, one of the most compelling aspects of the book, as smoothly written as his previous books, is Obama’s cleareyed scene-setting for how the political landscape would become so fractured—surely a topic he’ll expand on in the next volume.

A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6316-9

Page Count: 768

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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