Book Bits | 1 July 2017

Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin: From Money that We Understand to Money that Understands Us
Review via The Economist
People use money every day and yet struggle to understand it. The economic experiment known as monetarism—limiting the supply of money in order to control inflation—was abandoned when it became clear it was impossible to establish a precise definition of the money supply. The idea of negative interest rates, introduced by some modern central banks, puzzles those who think that savers should be rewarded for thrift.
“Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin” by David Birch, a consultant, offers a broad historical overview on the nature of this essential economic instrument. His underlying thesis is that money has evolved over the ages to suit the needs of society and the economy.

When Women Didn’t Count: The Chronic Mismeasure and Marginalization of American Women in Federal Statistics
By Robert Lopresti
Summary via publisher (Praeger)
Much of women’s history has been hidden and filtered through unrealistic expectations and assumptions. Because U.S. government data about women’s lives and occupations has been significantly inaccurate, these misrepresentations in statistical information have shaped the reality of women’s lives. They also affect men and society as a whole: these numbers influence our investments, our property values, our representation in Congress, and even how we see our place in society. This book documents how U.S. federal government statistics have served to reveal and conceal facts about women in the United States. It reaches back to the late 1800s, when the U.S. Census Bureau first listed women’s occupations, and forward to the present, when the U.S. government relies on nonprofit groups for statistics on abortion.

Money in the Great Recession: Did a Crash in Money Growth Cause the Global Slump?
By Tim Congdon
Summary via publisher (Elgar)
No issue is more fundamental in contemporary macroeconomics than the causes of the recent Great Recession. The standard view is that the banks were to blame because they took on too much risk, ‘went bust’ and had to be bailed out by governments. But very few banks actually had losses in excess of their capital. The counter-argument presented in this stimulating new book is that the Great Recession was in fact caused by a collapse in the rate of change of the quantity of money. The book’s argument echoes that on the causes of the Great Depression made by Friedman and Schwartz in their classic book A Monetary History of the United States.

The Wealth Builder Challenge
By Ricky Grunden Sr. and Dave Ragan
Summary via Amazon
Securing your financial future can be a challenge—and the most important thing you can do for you and your family. Wrong decisions can have consequences that extend to every aspect of your life—often for generations. But wealth building is not a one size fits all formula. The principles may be the same, but adapting them to fit your lifestyle and personality can mean the difference between long-term success and failure. By the same token, sometimes the most successful individuals are not those with the most money. They are people who are able to identify the goals that mean the most to them and stay the course to achieve them.