A brief but refreshingly broad-minded take on global economics that is invigorated by the tension between capitalism and...

GLOBAL ECONOMICS

THE AGE OF BALANCED CAPITALISM

Levine, a medical doctor and Ph.D. who studies global trends in medicine and economics, explains how the destiny of capitalism means embracing what some mistakenly see as its mortal enemy: government regulation.

Capitalism and government need not be at odds, argues Levine. In stark contrast to proponents of laissez-faire economics, Levine contends the future of capitalism actually requires government intervention. He advocates “balanced capitalism”—a system in which a capitalistic economy is counterweighted with some socialistic legislation. “Such balancing leads to both the stability and prosperity of a society,” he writes. The role of government, in Levine’s view, should be that of an “arbiter” seeking equilibrium between the interests of business and labor. Balanced capitalism is the result of evolutionary process unfolding worldwide—and not just in democratic nations: At the moment, Levine says, it’s “working better for dictatorial China than for democratic America [mainly because] China is able to better regulate the balance between capital and labor.” In the most controversial of the book’s claims, Levine contends that China’s rise to the world’s second-largest economy offers lessons to the United States: “Government regulation is a part of [China’s] dictatorial regime, whereas over the last several decades America erroneously abandoned constant regulation of economics and embraced self-regulation.” The book’s straight-laced prose lacks vigor, but Levine skillfully articulates his views in basic terms, making his arguments graspable to those with just an undergraduate understanding of economics. Instead of supply-demand charts and statistical data, he relies on big-picture theories and historical perspective. The best chapters flow like well-polished précis, while the less substantive ones read more like CliffsNotes. In particular, students of economist Milton Friedman, the Nobel laureate, will find much to take issue with. Levine believes that embracing Friedman’s ideas of limited government involvement in free markets has resulted in dangerous levels of inequality and various other problems. Instead, Levine argues, America should return to the philosophy championed by Lewis Henry Morgan and John Maynard Keynes to restore widespread prosperity. Levine envisions a mutually accommodative approach, with Uncle Sam as a referee ensuring a level playing field for both Main Street and Wall Street.

A brief but refreshingly broad-minded take on global economics that is invigorated by the tension between capitalism and government.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-0692017814

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Victor Levine

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2014

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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