Book Bits: 13 January 2024

Beyond the ESG Portfolio: How Wall Street Can Help Democracies Survive
Marcos Buscaglia
Summary via publisher (McGraw Hill)
How to be confident that your ESG investments serve your clients’ needs—and take Democracy into account. It is easy to unintentionally finance autocrats by using benchmark indices, which often include bonds and stocks of countries slipping down the democracy rankings. Despite best intentions, an investor may be investing in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or supporting a leader like Hugo Chavez without realizing it. Marcos Buscaglia, a Latin America economist, emerging markets expert, and an emerging voice on the relationship between democracy and markets, argues that the current ESG criteria has brought environmental and social standards into investment decisions, but its approach to democracy needs to be refined.

Slow Down: The Degrowth Manifesto
Kohei Saito
Review via Jacobin
The environmental perspective of degrowth is gaining traction. A couple months ago the European Union parliament held a multiday conference “Beyond Growth” featuring many speakers aligned with the perspective. Liberal environmentalist Bill McKibben offered a sympathetic assessment in the New Yorker.
Degrowth is even making inroads on the socialist left. Two years ago the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung in New York City published an article, “Degrowth and Revolutionary Organizing.” A major book, The Future Is Degrowth, was favorably reviewed in Democratic Socialists of America’s journal Socialist Forum. In Japan, the ecological Marxist Kohei Saito has sold five hundred thousand copies of a book laying out a case for degrowth communism (the volume, titled Slow Down: The Degrowth Manifesto, will be released in an English translation early next year).

China’s World View: Demystifying China to Prevent Global Conflict
David Daokui Li
Summary via publisher (W.W. Norton)
A distinguished Chinese economist offers a timely, essential exploration of China’s perspective on economy, government, society, and its position in the world. Dr. David Daokui Li has served as an advisor to senior Chinese Communist Party leaders as well as major multinational corporations and international economic institutions. Writing in response to the growing anti-Chinese sentiment and alarmed by the threat of war, Dr. Li pulls from his wealth of firsthand experience to demystify contemporary Chinese society and advocate for understanding between China and the West. In this urgently needed and fascinating book, he explains the inner workings of a rising superpower to help the world understand how it works—and how to work with it.

American Dream Come True: Why Affordable Housing Is Good Policy, Good Business, and Good for America
Tony Bertoldi
Press release for book
Can affordable housing make the American dream a reality? With American Dream Come True, co-president of the affordable housing syndication company, CREA LLC, Tony Bertoldi leverages 25+ years of experience to explain the role of affordable housing in building a healthy, just, and vibrant society full of opportunities. In clear and engaging prose, Bertoldi’s work debunks the common misconceptions about affordable housing, showing how it’s a benefit for the entire American ecosystem, and why it should matter to individuals and corporations alike.

The Oxford Handbook of Commodity History
Edited by Jonathan Curry-Machado, et al.
Summary via publisher (Oxford U. Press)
Commodities provide a lens through which local and global histories can be understood and written. The study of commodity history follows these goods as they make their way from land and water through processing and trade to eventual consumption. It is a fast-developing field with collaborative, comparative, and interdisciplinary research, and with new information technologies becoming increasingly important. Although many individual researchers continue to focus on particular commodities and regions, they often do so in partnership with others working on different areas and employing a range of theoretical and methodological approaches, placing commodities history at the forefront of local and global historical analysis.

Capitalism and Crises: How to Fix Them
Colin Mayer
Summary via publisher (Oxford U. Press)
The world is encountering multiple crises—climate, droughts, floods, energy, food, and pandemics. This book is about how capitalism can fix them—how it can solve not cause them. The reason why it has caused them is that we have misconceived the nature of our capitalist system. We have failed to understand the key institution at the heart of it—business—and as a result we have allowed it to cause as well as solve problems.

Please note that the links to books above are affiliate links with and James Picerno (a.k.a. The Capital Spectator) earns money if you buy one of the titles listed. Also note that you will not pay extra for a book even though it generates revenue for The Capital Spectator. By purchasing books through this site, you provide support for The Capital Spectator’s free content. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.