● Cents and Sensibility: What Economics Can Learn from the Humanities
By Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro
Summary via publisher (Princeton University Press)
Economists often act as if their methods explain all human behavior. But in Cents and Sensibility, an eminent literary critic and a leading economist make the case that the humanities, especially the study of literature, offer economists ways to make their models more realistic, their predictions more accurate, and their policies more effective and just. Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro trace the connection between Adam Smith’s great classic, The Wealth of Nations, and his less celebrated book on The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and contend that a few decades later Jane Austen invented her groundbreaking method of novelistic narration in order to give life to the empathy that Smith believed essential to humanity.
● Corporations and American Democracy
Edited by Naomi R. Lamoreaux and William J. Novak
Summary via publisher (Harvard University Press)
Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Citizens United and other high-profile cases have sparked passionate disagreement about the proper role of corporations in American democracy. Partisans on both sides have made bold claims, often with little basis in historical facts. Bringing together leading scholars of history, law, and political science, Corporations and American Democracy provides the historical and intellectual grounding necessary to put today’s corporate policy debates in proper context.
● After Piketty: The Agenda for Economics and Inequality
Edited by Heather Boushey, et al.
Summary via publisher (Harvard University Press)
Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is the most widely discussed work of economics in recent history, selling millions of copies in dozens of languages. But are its analyses of inequality and economic growth on target? Where should researchers go from here in exploring the ideas Piketty pushed to the forefront of global conversation? A cast of economists and other social scientists tackle these questions in dialogue with Piketty, in what is sure to be a much-debated book in its own right.
● Founder of Modern Economics: Paul A. Samuelson: Volume 1: Becoming Samuelson, 1915-1948
By Roger E. Backhouse
Summary via publisher (Oxford University Press)
Paul Samuelson was at the heart of a revolution in economics. He was “the foremost academic economist of the 20th century,” according to the New York Times, and the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Economics. His work transformed the field of economics and helped give it the theoretical and mathematic rigor that increased its influence in business and policy making. In Founder of Modern Economics, Roger E. Backhouse explores the central importance of Samuelson’s personality and social networks to understanding his intellectual development. This is the first of two volumes covering Samuelson’s extended and productive life and career.
● The CEO Pay Machine: How it Trashes America and How to Stop it
By Steven Clifford
Summary via publisher (Blue Rider Press/Penguin)
Today, the pay gap between chief executive officers of major U.S. firms and their workers is higher than ever before—depending on the method of calculation, CEOs get paid between 300 and 700 times more than the average worker. Such outsized pay is a relatively recent phenomenon, but despite all the outrage, few detractors truly understand the numerous factors that have contributed to the dizzying upward spiral in CEO compensation. Steven Clifford, a former CEO who has also served on many corporate boards, has a name for these procedures and practices— “The CEO Pay Machine.” The CEO Pay Machine is Clifford’s thorough and shocking explanation of the ‘machine’–how it works, how its parts interact, and how every step pushes CEO pay to higher levels.
● How Money Got Free: Bitcoin and the Fight for the Future of Finance
By Brian Patrick Eha
Summary via publisher (Oneworld Publications)
In the space of a few years, Bitcoin has gone from an idea ignored or maligned by almost everyone to an asset with a market cap of more than $12 billion. Venture capital firms, Goldman Sachs, the New York Stock Exchange, and billionaires such as Richard Branson and Peter Thiel have invested more than $1 billion in companies built on this groundbreaking technology. Bill Gates has even declared it ‘better than currency’. The pioneers of Bitcoin were twenty-first-century outlaws – cryptographers, hackers, Free Staters, ex-cons and drug dealers, teenage futurists and self-taught entrepreneurs – armed with a renegade ideology and a grudge against big government and big banks. Now those same institutions are threatening to co-opt or curtail the impact of digital currency. But the pioneers, some of whom have become millionaires themselves, aren’t going down without a fight. Sweeping and provocative, How Money Got Free reveals how this disruptive technology is shaping the debate around competing ideas of money and liberty, and what that means for our future.
● Everybody Lies; Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Reveals About Who We Really Are
By Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
Review via Kirkus Review
Trained as an economist and a philosopher, Stephens-Davidowitz, a former data scientist at Google, ventures into sociology and psychology with his look at the corpus of search terms run through that site, “a bizarre dataset” that often yields uncomfortable results, revealing hidden reservoirs of racism, sexual insecurity, hypocrisy, and outright dishonesty.
● Corporate Conspiracies: How Wall Street Took Over Washington
By Richard Belzer and David Wayne
Summary via publisher (Skyhorse Publishing)
Here is an explosive account of wrongful acts perpetrated, and the ensuing cover-ups inflicted upon us, by American corporations. The bestselling author team of Richard Belzer and David Wayne exposes the ways that the capitalist regime has got us under their thumbs—from the mainstream media and its control over us, to the trillions stolen by big banks and mortgage companies during the mortgage crisis, to the scams perpetrated by Big Oil and Big Pharma. The one common victim of all that corruption is the American public, and Corporate Conspiracies wants to do something about it.