● Economics in the Age of COVID-19
Summary via publisher (MIT Press)
The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a firehose of information (much of it wrong) and an avalanche of opinions (many of them ill-founded). Most of us are so distracted by the everyday awfulness that we don’t see the broader issues in play. In this book, economist Joshua Gans steps back from the short-term chaos to take a clear and systematic look at how economic choices are being made in response to COVID-19. He shows that containing the virus and pausing the economy—without letting businesses fail and people lose their jobs—are the necessary first steps. Gans outlines the phases of the pandemic economy, from containment to reset to recovery and enhancement. Warning against thinking in terms of a “tradeoff” between public health and economic health, Gans explains that containment gives us the opportunity to develop effective testing that will make it safe for people to interact. Once the virus is contained, we will need to pivot toward innovating, and, finally, we will come together to plan how to protect ourselves from future pandemics. He looks at policy tools that might aid an economic recovery, distinguishing between economic losses during a pandemic and a recession.
● 10½ Lessons from Experience: Perspectives on Fund Management
Review via Financial News
Sir Paul Marshall, co-founder of hedge fund giant Marshall Wace, warns that machines “typically do not fare well in a crisis”.
In his new book 10 1/2 Lessons from Experience: Perspectives on Fund Management, written before the outbreak of the coronavirus, Marshall comes out on the side of humans in an economic crisis.
Machines “are not good at responding to a new paradigm until the rules of the new paradigm are plugged into them by a human,” the hedge fund cofounder wrote in the book, published in February and seen by Financial News.
● Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire
Summary via publisher (Public Affairs)
Free market capitalism is one of humanity’s greatest inventions and the greatest source of prosperity the world has ever seen. But this success has been costly. Capitalism is on the verge of destroying the planet and destabilizing society as wealth rushes to the top. The time for action is running short. Rebecca Henderson’s rigorous research in economics, psychology, and organizational behavior, as well as her many years of work with companies around the world, gives us a path forward. She debunks the worldview that the only purpose of business is to make money and maximize shareholder value. She shows that we have failed to reimagine capitalism so that it is not only an engine of prosperity but also a system that is in harmony with environmental realities, striving for social justice and the demands of truly democratic institutions.
● China: The Bubble that Never Pops
Summary via publisher (Oxford University Press)
Banks drowning in bad loans. An urban landscape littered with ghost towns of empty property. Industrial zones stalked by zombie firms. Trade tariffs blocking the path to global markets. And yet, against the odds and against expectations, growth continues, wealth rises, international influence expands. The coming collapse of China is always coming, never arriving. Thomas Orlik, a veteran of more than a decade in Beijing, turns the spotlight on China’s fragile fundamentals, and resources for resilience. Drawing on discussions with Communist cadres, shadow bankers, and migrant workers, Orlik pieces together a unique perspective on China’s past, present, and possible futures.
● What’s Wrong with Economics?: A Primer for the Perplexed
Summary via publisher (Yale University Press)
This insightful book looks at how mainstream economics’ quest for scientific certainty has led to a narrowing of vision and a convergence on an orthodoxy that is unhealthy for the field, not to mention the societies which base policy decisions on the advice of flawed economic models. Noted economic thinker Robert Skidelsky explains the circumstances that have brought about this constriction and proposes an approach to economics which includes philosophy, history, sociology, and politics.
● Network Origins of the Global Economy: East vs. West in a Complex Systems Perspective
Hilton L. Root
Summary via publisher (Cambridge University Press)
The upheavals of recent decades show us that traditional models of understanding processes of social and economic change are failing to capture real-world risk and volatility. This has resulted in flawed policy that seeks to capture change in terms of the rise or decline of regimes or regions. In order to comprehend current events, understand future risks and decide how to prepare for them, we need to consider economies and social orders as open, complex networks. This highly original work uses the tools of network analysis to understand great transitions in history, particularly those concerning economic development and globalisation.
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