Book Bits | 12 September 2015

Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective
By Thomas Sowell
Review via The Washington Post
Sowell’s central message is that the reason some people are poor — in any country, at any period in history — is not discrimination or exploitation or malicious actions on the part of the rich. Rather, people are poor because they don’t or won’t produce. For him, the only mystery is why.
Geography may have something to do with it. Civilizations that shut themselves off from the rest of the world, Sowell writes, are those that lag behind.

The Left Divided: The Development and Transformation of Advanced Welfare States
By Sara Watson
Summary via publisher (Oxford University Press)
Why do some countries construct strong systems of social protection, while others leave workers exposed to market forces? In the past three decades, scholars have developed an extensive literature theorizing how hegemonic social democratic parties working in tandem with a closely-allied trade union movement constructed models of welfare capitalism. Indeed, among the most robust findings of the comparative political economy literature is the claim that the more political resources controlled by the left, the more likely a country is to have a generous, universal system of social protection.

Financial Advisors are NOT Created Equal
By Michael P McDermott
Summary via
Dealing with your personal finances can be a daunting task and finding the right financial advisor can be just as complicated—but with the help of this easy-to-follow guide you can meet both challenges with confidence. Written by a financial advisor with over nineteen years of industry experience, Financial Advisors Are NOT Created Equal provides you first with a candid view of how financial advisors really work, so you can understand what separates the good ones from the rest of the pack, and second with an action plan you can follow to select the best advisor for you.

Will Africa Feed China?
By Deborah Brautigam
Summary via publisher (Oxford University Press)
Is China building a new empire in rural Africa? Over the past decade, China’s meteoric rise on the continent has raised a drumbeat of alarm. China has 9 percent of the world’s arable land, 6 percent of its water, and over 20 percent of its people. Africa’s savannahs and river basins host the planet’s largest expanses of underutilized land and water. Few topics are as controversial and emotionally charged as the belief that the Chinese government is aggressively buying up huge tracts of prime African land to grow food to ship back to China.