Book Bits | 12 October 2019

After the Crash: Financial Crises and Regulatory Responses
Edited by Sharyn O’Halloran and Thomas Groll
Summary via publisher (Columbia U. Press)
The 2008 crash was the worst financial crisis and the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression. It triggered a complete overhaul of the global regulatory environment, ushering in a stream of new rules and laws to combat the perceived weakness of the financial system. While the global economy came back from the brink, the continuing effects of the crisis include increasing economic inequality and political polarization. After the Crash is an innovative analysis of the crisis and its ongoing influence on the global regulatory, financial, and political landscape, with timely discussions of the key issues for our economic future.

Capital is Dead: Is This Something Worse?
By McKenzie Wark
Summary via publisher (Verso)
In this radical and visionary new book, McKenzie Wark argues that information has empowered a new kind of ruling class. Through the ownership and control of information, this emergent class dominates not only labour but capital as traditionally understood as well. And it’s not just tech companies like Amazon and Google. Even Walmart and Nike can now dominate the entire production chain through the ownership of not much more than brands, patents, copyrights, and logistical systems. While techno-utopian apologists still celebrate these innovations as an improvement on capitalism, for workers—and the planet—it’s worse. The new ruling class uses the powers of information to route around any obstacle labor and social movements put up.

The 99 Percent Economy: How Democratic Socialism Can Overcome the Crises of Capitalism
By Paul S. Adler
Summary via publisher (Oxford U. Press)
We live in a time of crises – economic turmoil, workplace disempowerment, unresponsive government, environmental degradation, social disintegration, and international rivalry. In The 99 Percent Economy, Paul S. Adler, a leading expert on business management, argues that these crises are destined to deepen unless we radically transform our economy. But despair is not an option, and Adler provides a compelling alternative: democratic socialism. He argues that to overcome these crises we need to assert democratic control over the management of both individual enterprises and the entire national economy. To show how that would work, he draws on a surprising source of inspiration: the strategic management processes of many of our largest corporations.

The Fall of a Great American City: New York and the Urban Crisis of Affluence
By by Kevin Baker and James Howard Kunstler
Summary via publisher (City Point Press)
The Fall of a Great American City is the story of what is happening today in New York City and in many other cities across America. It is about how the crisis of affluence is now driving out everything we love most about cities: small shops, decent restaurants, public space, street life, affordable apartments, responsive government, beauty, idiosyncrasy, each other. This is the story of how we came to lose so much—how the places we love most were turned over to land bankers, billionaires, the worst people in the world, and criminal landlords—and how we can – and must – begin to take them back.

Reluctant Cold Warriors: Economists and National Security
By Vladimir Kontorovich
Summary via publisher (Oxford University Press)
Scholars attribute the collapse of the Soviet Union in part to the militarization of its economy. But during the Cold War, economic studies of the USSR largely neglected the military sector of the Soviet economy-its dominant and most successful part. This is all the more puzzling in that academic study of the Soviet economy in the US was specifically created to help fight the Cold War. If the rival superpower maintained the peacetime war economy, why did experts fail to tell us when it mattered? Vladimir Kontorovich shows how Western economists came up with strained non-military interpretations of several important aspects of the Soviet economy which the Soviets themselves acknowledged to have military significance. Such “civilianization” suggests that the neglect of the military sector was not forced on scholars of the Soviet economy by secrecy; it was their choice.

Invested: Changing Forever the Way Americans Invest
By Charles Schwab
Q&A with author via Worth
Charles Schwab is legendary for making investing and saving for retirement easier for everyday Americans. The chairman of Charles Schwab Corporation and author of several books, he’s releasing Invested: Changing Forever the Way Americans Invest, a memoir about his life and building Schwab into what it is today.

Market Mover: Lessons from a Decade of Change at Nasdaq
By Robert Greifeld
Summary via publisher (Grand Central Publishing)
Former CEO and Chairman of Nasdaq, Robert Greifeld shares stories, insights, and lessons learned from one of the world’s largest stock exchanges, detailing his transformation of Nasdaq from a fledgling U.S. equities market to a global financial technology company.