Book Bits: 30 October 2021

Sunbelt Blues: The Failure of American Housing
Andrew Ross
Essay by author via Orlando Sentinel
The affordable housing crisis is about to become an emergency. According to a recent Zillow forecast, by December, the typical renter in the U.S. will be paying landlords more than 30% of their pretax income. That’s the official threshold for “housing-cost burdened.”
With housing prices and rents still climbing, and eviction moratoriums largely ended, millions of these tenants are at risk of becoming homeless.

A Shot to Save the World: The Inside Story of the Life-or-Death Race for a COVID-19 Vaccine
Gregory Zuckerman
Interview with author via Texas Public Radio
In his new book, best-selling author and award-winning investigative journalist Gregory Zuckerman takes readers on a journey to create life-saving COVID-19 vaccines, from the start of the pandemic to the scramble of scientists to adapt their life’s work to combat the virus, and the high-stakes negotiations between governments and corporations to finally get shots in arms and save lives around the world.

CryptoDad: The Fight for the Future of Money
J. Christopher Giancarlo
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Dubbed “CryptoDad” for his impassioned plea to Congress to acknowledge and respect cryptocurrencies as the inevitable product of a fast-growing technological wave and a free marketplace, Chris Giancarlo is considered one of “the most influential individuals in financial regulation.” CryptoDad: The Fight for the Future of Money describes Giancarlo’s own reckoning with the future of the global economy—at the intersection of markets, technology, and public policy—and lays out the fight for a Digital Dollar.

The War of Words: A Glossary of Globalization
Harold James
Review via The Enlightened Economist
A terrific book I read in proof has arrived here: it’s The War of Words: A Glossary of Globalization by economic historian Harold James. As the book notes at the start, this is a time of the polarisation of ideas about how to interpret the economy, society and politics. Nationalism is on the up and globalisation has become a dirty word. Well, the key point of the book is that the disputes about the world are in part due to the way different uses of the same word can lead to muddled thinking. “This book starts from the notion that moments of profound social transition spark new questions and inspire new vocabularies.” And yet fuzzy concepts obscure discussion rather than clarifying it. The book seeks to clarify potential differences in meaning, so that communication can perhaps become an exchange of ideas more than an angry shouting past people with opposing views.

Time for Socialism: Dispatches from a World on Fire, 2016-2021
Thomas Piketty
Review via The New York Times
Whatever the deficiencies of his political analysis, Piketty’s prodigious research got the headline and the details right, and his timing was perfect. “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” appeared just when inequality had broken through to become a first-tier political issue. His book became an international best seller and Piketty became a celebrity. He also began contributing regular columns to Le Monde.

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