Book Bits | 14 November 2015

The Great Surge: The Ascent of the Developing World
By Steven Radelet
Review via Publishers Weekly
Radelet, economic adviser to the president of Liberia, succeeds in making a possibly counterintuitive argument: notwithstanding the often depressing nature of news coverage of developing countries, this era has seen the most “progress among the global poor in the history of the world.” He has the statistics to back up this claim: for example, between 1990 and 2015, one billion people escaped “extreme poverty.” He cites similar data with respect to hunger and child deaths. Radelet does not contend that suffering has ended by any means, but his accessible and articulate presentation is likely to convince readers that the story of global development is more complex, and positive, than many believe.

Sold Out: How High-Tech Billionaires & Bipartisan Beltway Crapweasels Are Screwing America’s Best & Brightest Workers
By Michelle Malkin and John Miano
Excerpt via NY Post
Here’s the dirty little secret, America: Double-talking politicians from both parties on Capitol Hill bear the blame for facilitating the systemic replacement of US workers with temporary foreign guest workers.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) are co-sponsors of legislation to expand H-1B [temporary worker visas] without any meaningful American worker protection reforms. One GOP-sponsored bill would raise the annual cap on H-1B foreign guest workers from 65,000 to 180,000. Another, fronted by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), allows annual H-1B limits to rise up to 245,000 per year in the future. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) would triple the H-1Bs issued every year. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) would quintuple the number.

Towards a General Theory of Deep Downturns: Presidential Address from the 17th World Congress of the International Economic Association in 2014
By Joseph E. Stiglitz
Summary via publisher (Palgrave Macmillan)
Most economic crises are man-made – they are not the result of acts of Nature but created by the economic systems we establish. Deep downturns, those rare events like the Great Depression and the Great Recession, are markedly different from the more frequent but smaller fluctuations in the economy. In this Presidential Address from the 17th World Congress of the International Economic Association in 2014, Joseph E. Stiglitz examines the theory behind these deep downturns that inflict such great costs on our society and have such lasting consequences. This fascinating three-part lecture analyzes the failure of prevailing economic models to successfully predict the 2008 crisis, or even to adequately explain it. Given these deficiencies, it is not surprising that the responses to the crisis based on those theories were relatively ineffective: the recovery has been slow and anaemic.

Greening the Global Economy
By Robert Pollin
Summary via publisher (MIT Press)
In order to control climate change, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that greenhouse gas emissions will need to fall by about forty percent by 2030. Achieving the target goals will be highly challenging. Yet in Greening the Global Economy, economist Robert Pollin shows that they are attainable through steady, large-scale investments—totaling about 1.5 percent of global GDP on an annual basis—in both energy efficiency and clean renewable energy sources. Not only that: Pollin argues that with the right investments, these efforts will expand employment and drive economic growth.

Making Failure Feasible: How Bankruptcy Reform Can End Too Big to Fail
By Thomas H. Jackson, et al.
Summary via publisher (Hoover Institution Press)
In 2012, building off work first published in 2010, the Resolution Project proposed that a new Chapter 14 be added to the Bankruptcy Code, exclusively designed to deal with the reorganization or liquidation of the nation’s large financial institutions. In Making Failure Feasible, the contributors expand on their proposal to improve the prospect that our largest financial institutions-particularly with prebankruptcy planning-could be successfully reorganized or liquidated pursuant to the rule of law and, in doing so, both make resolution planning pursuant to Title I of Dodd-Frank more fruitful and make reliance on administrative proceedings pursuant to Title II of Dodd-Frank largely unnecessary. This book highlights the problems of dealing with large financial institutions in distress, without incurring either spillover distress to other institutions or relying on government bailout, and Chapter 14’s responses to those twin issues, as well as recommending other measures that would facilitate successful resolutions.