● For Blood and Money: Billionaires, Biotech, and the Quest for a Blockbuster Drug
Review via Scientific American
“Finding new therapies that target only cancer cells and did not kill healthy cells had become the holy grail of cancer drug development,” writes Nathan Vardi, a managing editor at MarketWatch and former editor at Forbes. For Blood and Money follows the path of one class of such products (“targeted small-molecule drugs” designed to fight blood cancers) that ultimately pits two biotech companies against each other in a race to market—and to an unimaginable payday. Readers are introduced to scientologists, restless entrepreneurs, clinical experts and the machinations of magnate financiers searching for the next billion-dollar blockbuster. In the middle of that friction of ambition and greed are the patients, desperate for cures and more time.
● The Federal Reserve: A New History
Robert L. Hetzel
Summary via publisher (U. of Chicago Press)
In The Federal Reserve: A New History, Robert L. Hetzel draws on more than forty years of experience as an economist in the central bank to trace the influences of the Fed on the American economy. Comparing periods in which the Fed stabilized the economy to those when it did the opposite, Hetzel tells the story of a century-long pursuit of monetary rules capable of providing for economic stability. Recast through this lens and enriched with archival materials, Hetzel’s sweeping history offers a new understanding of the bank’s watershed moments since 1913. This includes critical accounts of the Great Depression, the Great Inflation, and the Great Recession—including how these disastrous events could have been avoided.
● The Rise of Central Banks: State Power in Financial Capitalism
Summary via publisher (Harvard U. Press)
A bold history of the rise of central banks, showing how institutions designed to steady the ship of global finance have instead become as destabilizing as they are dominant. While central banks have gained remarkable influence over the past fifty years, promising more stability, global finance has gone from crisis to crisis. How do we explain this development? Drawing on original sources ignored in previous research, The Rise of Central Banks offers a groundbreaking account of the origins and consequences of central banks’ increasing clout over economic policy. Many commentators argue that ideas drove change, indicating a shift in the 1970s from Keynesianism to monetarism, concerned with controlling inflation. Others point to the stagflation crises, which put capitalists and workers at loggerheads. Capitalists won, the story goes, then pushed deregulation and disinflation by redistributing power from elected governments to markets and central banks. Both approaches are helpful, but they share a weakness. Abstracting from the evolving practices of central banking, they provide inaccurate accounts of recent policy changes and fail to explain how we arrived at the current era of easy money and excessive finance.
● The Invention of Marxism: How an Idea Changed Everything
Summary via publisher (Oxford U. Press)
How did one man’s critique of capitalism guide the course of modern history? When he died in 1883, Karl Marx left behind an intellectual legacy of formidable proportions and revolutionary potential, yet one that exerted limited actual political, social, or economic influence. The full force of his ideas did not come into play for another generation, and only after they had been appropriated and applied by some of Marxism’s earliest proponents. The history of Marxism, in other words, is the story of those who brought Marx’s ideas into play, transforming a sweeping but fractious and occasionally abstruse view of historical and social forces into a coherent plan of action. Christina Morina’s illuminating book focuses on the first generation of Marxists who turned the work and ideas of one social theorist, one among many, into one of the most powerful transnational political movements in modern history.
Please note that the links to books above are affiliate links with Amazon.com 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!