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DAVOS MAN

HOW THE BILLIONAIRES DEVOURED THE WORLD

An urgent, timely, and compelling message with nearly limitless implications.

The consequences of unfettered avarice.

New York Times global economics correspondent Goodman mounts a scathing critique of the greed, narcissism, and hypocrisy that characterize those in “the stratosphere of the globe-trotting class,” many of whom gather at the annual World Economic Forum held in the Swiss Alpine town of Davos. Davos Man—an epithet coined by political scientist Samuel Huntington—is “an unusual predator whose power comes in part from his keen ability to adopt the guise of an ally.” The “relentless plunder” perpetrated by Davos Man, Goodman argues persuasively, “is the decisive force behind the rise of right-wing populist movements around the world,” leading to widening economic inequality, intense public anger, and dire threats to democracy. The author closely examines five individuals: private equity magnate Stephen Schwarzman; JPMorgan Chase executive Jamie Dimon; asset manager Larry Fink; Amazon’s Jeff Bezos; and Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff, who promotes himself as “the most empathetic corporate chieftain.” At the same time that these men broadcast their concern for social justice, they enrich themselves by manipulating economies, lobbying politicians, eviscerating regulations, weakening government oversight, and extracting huge tax benefits. Fink’s professed concern for the environment, for example, is really an alarm about risk to investments: “In a world under assault by rising seas and turbulent weather, how safe was real estate, and what were the implications for mortgage-backed securities?” During the mortgage crisis, Schwarzman’s company bought foreclosed properties, amassing a large inventory that it leased to desperate renters. With their yachts, multiple mansions, and private islands, they prove themselves “unmoored from the rest of human experience.” Reining in Davos Man, Goodman asserts, “can happen only through the exercise of democracy—by unleashing strategies centered on boosting wages and working opportunities, by erecting new forms of social insurance, by reviving and enforcing antitrust law, by modernizing the tax code to focus on wealth.”

An urgent, timely, and compelling message with nearly limitless implications.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-307830-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Custom House/Morrow

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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THE CULTURE MAP

BREAKING THROUGH THE INVISIBLE BOUNDARIES OF GLOBAL BUSINESS

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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GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

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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