Book Bits | 6.07.14

Global Macro Trading: Profiting in a New World Economy
By Greg Gliner
Summary via publisher, Wiley
Global Macro Trading is an indispensable guide for traders and investors who want to trade Global Macro – it provides Trading Strategies and overviews of the four asset classes in Global Macro which include equities, currencies, fixed income and commodities. Greg Gliner, who has worked for some of the largest global macro hedge funds, shares ways in which an array of global macro participants seek to capitalize on this strategy, while also serving as a useful reference tool.

The Bubble Economy: Is Sustainable Growth Possible?
By Robert U. Ayres
Summary via publisher, MIT Press
The global economy has become increasingly, perhaps chronically, unstable. Since 2008, we have heard about the housing bubble, subprime mortgages, banks “too big to fail,” financial regulation (or the lack of it), and the European debt crisis. Wall Street has discovered that it is more profitable to make money from other people’s money than by investing in the real economy, which has limited access to capital—resulting in slow growth and rising inequality. What we haven’t heard much about is the role of natural resources—energy in particular—as drivers of economic growth, or the connection of “global warming” to the economic crisis. In The Bubble Economy, Robert Ayres—an economist and physicist—connects economic instability to the economics of energy.

The System Worked: How the World Stopped Another Great Depression
By Daniel W. Drezner
Summary via publisher, Oxford University Press
In The System Worked, Drezner, a renowned political scientist and international relations expert, contends that despite the massive scale and reverberations of this latest crisis (larger, arguably, than those that precipitated the Great Depression), the global economy has bounced back remarkably well. Examining the major resuscitation efforts by the G-20 IMF, WTO and other institutions, he shows that, thanks to the efforts of central bankers and other policymakers, the international response was sufficiently coordinated to prevent the crisis from becoming a full-fledged depression. Yet the narrative about the failure of multilateral economic institutions persist, largely because the Great Recession most affected powerful nations whose governments made poor decisions in the management of their own economies. Also, the most influential policy analysts who write the books and articles on the crisis hail from those nations. Nevertheless, Drezner argues, while it’s true that the global economy is still fragile, these institutions survived the “stress test” of the financial crisis, and may have even become more resilient and valuable in the process.

Wildcat Currency: How the Virtual Money Revolution Is Transforming the Economy
By Edward Castronova
Summary via publisher, Yale University Press
Private currencies have always existed, from notes printed by individual banks to the S&H Green Stamps to Bitcoin. Today’s economy has seen an explosion of new forms of monetary exchange not created by the federal government. Credit card companies offer points that can be traded in for a variety of goods and services, from airline miles to online store credit. Online game creators have devised new mediums of electronic exchange that turn virtual money into real money. Meanwhile, real money is increasingly going digital, where it competes with private currencies like Bitcoin. The virtual and the real economic worlds are intermingling more than ever before, raising the possibility that this new money might eventually replace the government-run system of dollars, euros, and yen.

Japanization: What the World Can Learn from Japan’s Lost Decades
By William Pesek
Summary via publisher, Wiley
In Japanization, Bloomberg columnist William Pesek—based in Tokyo—presents a detailed look at Japan’s continuing twenty-year economic slow-down, the political and economic reasons behind it, and the policies it could and should undertake to return to growth and influence. Despite new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s promise of economic revitalization, investor optimism about the future, and plenty of potential, Japanization reveals why things are unlikely to change any time soon. Pesek argues that “Abenomics,” as the new policies are popularly referred to, is nothing more than a dressed-up version of the same old fiscal and monetary policies that have left Japan with crippling debt, interest rates at zero, and constant deflation. He explores the ten forces that are stunting Japan’s growth and offers prescriptions for fixing each one.

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