Timely, big-picture analysis that supplies vital context to our current economic and political moment.

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LAND OF PROMISE

AN ECONOMIC HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

The director of the New America Foundation’s Economic Growth Program charts the technological innovations and the political response to those changes that have marked our economic history.

Many of us mistakenly think politics will change the world when, in fact, it’s the steamship plowing against the current, the railroad stretching across the nation, the electricity lighting our homes or the personal computer connecting us to the world that end up most intimately altering our daily lives. It’s been the job of our politics to catch up and wrestle with those changes. Lind (The American Way of Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy and the American Way of Life, 2006, etc.) divides American economic history into three epochs, beginning with the First Republic “founded on water and undermined by steam.” Even as Hamilton and Jefferson’s competing visions struggled to shape character of the new nation, the Industrial Revolution was already underway. Absorbing grand innovations, writes Lind, leads to periods of misalignment, when “the institutions of the economy and the polity drift further and further apart.” Great crises follow, and the U.S. had to pass through the Civil War to found a Second Republic, itself threatened by the coming widespread adaptation of electricity and the internal combustion engine. The nation had to endure a Great Depression and World War II before today’s Third Republic emerged, an Information Age whose technological roots can be traced to those tumultuous decades. The cycle continues as we await another Republic born in the aftermath of today’s Great Recession. With dozens of short entries on the businessmen, financiers, inventors and industrialists who helped transform the country and the political leaders and public servants responsible for handling the social consequences—highest marks go to those in the Hamiltonian tradition like Henry Clay, Lincoln and FDR—Lind memorably vivifies this constant churn of economic activity and political reconstruction.

Timely, big-picture analysis that supplies vital context to our current economic and political moment.

Pub Date: April 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-183480-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Broadside Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“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. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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