Book Bits | 5.10.14

Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises
By Timothy F. Geithner
Blog post via Dealbook/NY Times
Timothy F. Geithner is finally going public. Since Mr. Geithner stepped down as Treasury secretary last year, he has remained largely out of the public eye. Now, with the publication of his book, “Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises,” to be published next week, Mr. Geithner is breaking his silence. I caught up with him last month as he was putting the finishing touches on the book. We discussed — and debated — his tenure in government and his prescriptions for solving financial crises. During a series of interviews, he was surprisingly frank. The result of those interviews — and an early look at his book — appear as the cover story in the coming issue of The New York Times Magazine.

Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy
By Saskia Sassen
Summary via publisher, Harvard University Press
Soaring income inequality and unemployment, expanding populations of the displaced and imprisoned, accelerating destruction of land and water bodies: today’s socioeconomic and environmental dislocations cannot be fully understood in the usual terms of poverty and injustice, according to Saskia Sassen. They are more accurately understood as a type of expulsion—from professional livelihood, from living space, even from the very biosphere that makes life possible. This hard-headed critique updates our understanding of economics for the twenty-first century, exposing a system with devastating consequences even for those who think they are not vulnerable. From finance to mining, the complex types of knowledge and technology we have come to admire are used too often in ways that produce elementary brutalities. These have evolved into predatory formations—assemblages of knowledge, interests, and outcomes that go beyond a firm’s or an individual’s or a government’s project.

China Goes West: Everything You Need to Know About Chinese Companies Going Global
By Joel Backaler
Summary via publisher, Palgrave Macmillan
China’s corporate champions have arrived. Consumers around the world are typing on Lenovo computers, storing food in Haier refrigerators and speaking on Huawei mobile phones. But how did products from these Chinese companies enter our daily lives?
China Goes West presents an unrivalled overview of Chinese companies’ expansion into developed economies and the opportunities and challenges it brings. Through detailed research, engaging case studies and exclusive interviews with senior executives, Backaler tells the story of why and how Chinese companies invest internationally – providing much-needed insight into these firms and their rise.

The Power of Inaction: Bank Bailouts in Comparison
By Cornelia Woll
Summary via publisher, Cornell University Press
Bank bailouts in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the onset of the Great Recession brought into sharp relief the power that the global financial sector holds over national politics, and provoked widespread public outrage. In The Power of Inaction, Cornelia Woll details the varying relationships between financial institutions and national governments by comparing national bank rescue schemes in the United States and Europe. Woll starts with a broad overview of bank bailouts in more than twenty countries. Using extensive interviews conducted with bankers, lawmakers, and other key players, she then examines three pairs of countries where similar outcomes might be expected: the United States and United Kingdom, France and Germany, Ireland and Denmark. She finds, however, substantial variation within these pairs. In some cases the financial sector is intimately involved in the design of bailout packages; elsewhere it chooses to remain at arm’s length.

Capital of Capital: Money, Banking, and Power in New York City, 1784-2012
By Steven H. Jaffe and Jessica Lautin
Summary via publisher, Columbia University Press
From Revolutionary Era bank notes to the 2008 financial collapse, Capital of Capital explores how New York City gave rise to a banking industry that in turn made the American and world economies. Capital of Capital also examines the frequently contentious evolution of the banking business, its role in making New York City an international economic center, and its influence on America’s politics, society, and culture. Based on a major exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, Capital of Capital features the key leaders of banking, including Alexander Hamilton and J. P. Morgan, as well as its critics, such as Louis Brandeis and the Occupy Wall Street protesters. The book also covers the major events and controversies that have shaped the history of banking and includes a fascinating array of primary materials ranging from antebellum bank notes and ledgers to early credit cards and advertisements. Lavishly illustrated, Capital of Capital provides a multifaceted, original understanding of the profound impact of banking on the life of New York City and the world’s economy.

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