● The Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class
By Edward Conrad
Summary via publisher (Portfolio)
Four years ago, Edward Conard wrote a controversial bestseller, Unintended Consequences, which set the record straight on the financial crisis of 2008 and explained why U.S. growth was accelerating relative to other high-wage economies. He warned that loose monetary policy would produce neither growth nor inflation, that expansionary fiscal policy would have no lasting benefit on growth in the aftermath of the crisis, and that ill-advised attempts to rein in banking based on misplaced blame would slow an already weak recovery. Unfortunately, he was right. Now he’s back with another provocative argument: that our current obsession with income inequality is misguided and will only slow growth further. Using fact-based logic, Conard tracks the implications of an economy now constrained by both its capacity for risk-taking and by a shortage of properly trained talent—rather than by labor or capital, as was the case historically. He uses this fresh perspective to challenge the conclusions of liberal economists like Larry Summers and Joseph Stiglitz and the myths of “crony capitalism” more broadly.
● The Market as God
By Harvey Cox
Summary via publisher (Harvard University Press)
The Market has deified itself, according to Harvey Cox’s brilliant exegesis. And all of the world’s problems—widening inequality, a rapidly warming planet, the injustices of global poverty—are consequently harder to solve. Only by tracing how the Market reached its “divine” status can we hope to restore it to its proper place as servant of humanity. The Market as God captures how our world has fallen in thrall to the business theology of supply and demand. According to its acolytes, the Market is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. It knows the value of everything, and determines the outcome of every transaction; it can raise nations and ruin households, and nothing escapes its reductionist commodification. The Market comes complete with its own doctrines, prophets, and evangelical zeal to convert the world to its way of life. Cox brings that theology out of the shadows, demonstrating that the way the world economy operates is neither natural nor inevitable but shaped by a global system of values and symbols that can be best understood as a religion.
● The Wisdom of Frugality: Why Less Is More – More or Less
By Emrys Westacott
Summary via publisher (Princeton University Press)
From Socrates to Thoreau, most philosophers, moralists, and religious leaders have seen frugality as a virtue and have associated simple living with wisdom, integrity, and happiness. But why? And are they right? Is a taste for luxury fundamentally misguided? If one has the means to be a spendthrift, is it foolish or reprehensible to be extravagant? In this book, Emrys Westacott examines why, for more than two millennia, so many philosophers and people with a reputation for wisdom have been advocating frugality and simple living as the key to the good life. He also looks at why most people have ignored them, but argues that, in a world facing environmental crisis, it may finally be time to listen to the advocates of a simpler way of life.
● Exchange-Traded Funds: Investment Practices and Tactical Approaches
By A. Seddik Meziani
Summary via publisher (Palgrave Macmillan)
Paying particular attention to the importance of asset allocation and the essential role it plays in portfolio construction, this book explores the role played by ETFs in changing investors’ attitudes toward home bias, covering both established and emerging frontier markets. The author leverages his extensive background to integrate best professional practices and academic rigor for an increased understanding of the ever-evolving world of ETFs.
● The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream
By Courtney E. Martin
Summary via publisher (Seal Press)
Are we living the good life—and what defines ‘good,’ anyway? Americans today are constructing a completely different framework for success than their parents’ generation, using new metrics that TED speaker and On Being columnist Courtney Martin has termed collectively the “New Better Off.” The New Better Off puts a name to the growing American phenomenon of rejecting the traditional dream of a 9-to-5 job, home ownership, and a nuclear family structure—and illuminates the alternate ways Americans are seeking happiness and fulfillment. And the stats back up Martin’s claims:
–35% of Millennials don’t identify with any religion
–It’s estimated that by 2020, half of all American workers will be freelance
–Home ownership is at the lowest rates since 1995 for all Americans and lowest on record for those under 35
● Man vs Money: Understanding the Curious Economics that Power Our World
By Stewart Cowley
Summary via publisher (Aurum Press)
Getting it, keeping it and making more out of it has been one of man’s major preoccupations for the past five thousand years. From buying a sandwich to earning a wage, going on holiday to playing the lottery, how money and economics governs our world is fascinating. And it’s just about to get more curious; the arrival of modern banking, crowd funding, investments at the touch of a smartphone and virtual currencies means, for many of us, it is even more complex.
● Understanding the National Debt: What Every American Needs to Know
By Carl Lane
Summary via publisher (Westholme Publishing)
The United States has a debt problem—we owe more than $18 trillion while our gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced in America, is only $17.5 trillion. To pay down the debt, some recommend austerity, cutting federal expenditures. Others suggest increasing taxes, especially on the wealthiest Americans. In Understanding the National Debt: What Every American Needs to Know, economic historian Carl Lane urges that the national debt must be addressed in ways beyond program cuts or tax increase alternatives. But change can only occur when more Americans—including policy makers— understand what constitutes our debt and the problems it causes.
● Man vs. Math: Understanding the curious mathematics that power our world
By Timothy Revell
Summary via publisher (Aurum Press)
From controlling a city’s traffic to finding love, spending money online to building a skyscraper, the mathematics at play in our world is fascinating. Yet despite its ubiquity, for many of us, how the maths of today really works remains complex. Timothy Revell distills these complexities in this essential guide to modern-day mathematics. Along the way we discover how social media trends work, why the universe has a favourite number and what this means for you.
● The Permission Society: How the Ruling Class Turns Our Freedoms into Privileges and What We Can Do About It
By Timothy Sandefur
Summary via publisher (Encounter Books)
Throughout history, kings and emperors have promised “freedom” to their people. Yet these freedoms were really only permissions handed down from on high. The American Revolution inaugurated a new vision: people have a basic right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and government must ask permission from them. Sadly, today’s increasingly bureaucratic society is beginning to turn back the clock, and transform America into a nation where our freedoms—the right to speak freely, to earn a living, to own a gun, to use private property, even the right to take medicine to save one’s own life—are again treated as privileges the government may grant or withhold at will. Timothy Sandefur examines the history of the distinction between rights and privileges that played such an important role in the American experiment—and how we can fight to retain our freedoms against the growing power of government.