Book Bits | 2 December 2017

Big Mind: How Collective Intelligence Can Change Our World
By Geoff Mulgan
Summary via publisher (Princeton University Press)
A new field of collective intelligence has emerged in the last few years, prompted by a wave of digital technologies that make it possible for organizations and societies to think at large scale. This “bigger mind”—human and machine capabilities working together—has the potential to solve the great challenges of our time. So why do smart technologies not automatically lead to smart results? Gathering insights from diverse fields, including philosophy, computer science, and biology, Big Mind reveals how collective intelligence can guide corporations, governments, universities, and societies to make the most of human brains and digital technologies.

Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited: Anti-Globalization in the Era of Trump
By Joseph E. Stiglitz
Summary via publisher (W.W. Norton)
In this crucial expansion and update of his landmark bestseller, renowned economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz addresses globalization’s new discontents in the United States and Europe. Immediately upon publication, Globalization and Its Discontents became a touchstone in the globalization debate by demonstrating how the International Monetary Fund, other major institutions like the World Bank, and global trade agreements have often harmed the developing nations they are supposedly helping. Yet globalization today continues to be mismanaged, and now the harms—exemplified by the rampant inequality to which it has contributed—have come home to roost in the United States and the rest of the developed world as well, reflected in growing political unrest.

● Do We Need Economic Inequality?
By Danny Dorling
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Although economic inequality provokes widespread disquiet, its supposed necessity is rarely questioned. At best, a basic level of inequality is seen as a necessary evil. At worst, it is seen as insufficient to encourage aspiration, hard work and investment – a refrain sometimes used to advocate ever greater inequality. In this original new book, Danny Dorling critically analyses historical trends and contemporary assumptions in order to question the idea that inequality is an inevitability. What if, he asks, widespread economic inequality is actually just a passing phase, a feature of the capitalist transition from a settled rural way of life to our next highly urban steady-state? Is it really likely that we face a Blade Runner-style dystopian future divided between a tiny elite and an impoverished mass?

Stock Market Crashes: Predictable and Unpredictable and What to do About Them
By William T Ziemba, et al.
Summary via publisher (World Scientific)
This book presents studies of stock market crashes big and small that occur from bubbles bursting or other reasons. By a bubble we mean that prices are rising just because they are rising and that prices exceed fundamental values. A bubble can be a large rise in prices followed by a steep fall. The focus is on determining if a bubble actually exists, on models to predict stock market declines in bubble-like markets and exit strategies from these bubble-like markets. We list historical great bubbles of various markets over hundreds of years.

The Harriman Stock Market Almanac 2018: A handbook of seasonality analysis and studies of market anomalies to give investors an edge throughout the year
By Stephen Eckett
Summary via publisher (Harriman House)
The Almanac is an extremely valuable and unique reference work providing traders and investors with the strategies, methods and data to tackle the markets throughout the year. It is the one essential book for the serious trader or investor.

China and the Geopolitics of Rare Earths
By Sophia Kalantzakos
Summary via publisher (Oxford University Press)
Rare earths are elements that are found in the Earth’s crust, and are vital ingredients for the production of a wide variety of high tech, defense, and green technologies-everything from iPhones and medical technologies to wind turbines, efficiency lighting, smart bombs, and submarines. While they are not particularly “rare” in availability, they are difficult and expensive to mine. Yet, China has managed to gain control over an estimated 97 percent of the rare earth industry since the 1990s through cheap production, high export taxes, and artificial limitations of supply.

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