Book Bits: 31 July 2021

Populism and Trade: The Challenge to the Global Trading System
Kent Jones
Summary via publisher (Oxford U. Press)
Around the world, populism has weaponized anxieties over globalization and other forms of cultural, social, and economic change. Many populist leaders have succeeded in conflating trade concerns with apprehensions over immigration, thereby creating potent campaigns to overturn existing trade agreements and the multilateral cooperation they embody. In the United States, avowed protectionist Donald Trump set out not only to raise tariffs, but to dismantle the system of global trade embodied in the World Trade Organization. In the UK, the Brexit referendum resulted in that country’s withdrawal from the European Union, ending its commitment to trade integration with the continent.


The Long Game: China’s Grand Strategy To Displace American Order
Rush Doshi
Review via The Economist
As Mr Doshi describes it, the crucible of China’s grand strategy was the “traumatic trifecta”: the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the first Gulf war of 1991 and, also that year, the collapse of the Soviet Union. These events convinced China that America posed the biggest threat ideologically, militarily and geopolitically. China responded by devising a plan to blunt American power. This was to be low-key: Deng Xiaoping, then retired as a party leader but still highly influential, suggested China should “hide its capabilities and bide its time”. The country focused on developing weapons that would keep America at bay and on joining multilateral organisations such as the World Trade Organisation, hoping to use these institutions’ rules to constrain America.

China’s Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Boom and Vast Corruption
Yuen Yuen Ang
Essay by author via Foreign Affairs
It seemed like a typical story of Chinese corruption. Stuffing suitcases full of company shares, the businessman lavished bribes on influential officials in exchange for cheap loans to subsidize his railroad projects. The target of his largess, those in charge of public infrastructure and budgets, were his friends and business associates. Their family members ran firms in the steel industry, which stood to benefit from the construction of new track. Over time, as the ties between the officials and the businessman grew closer, the officials doubled their financial support for his ventures, indulging his inflated costs and ignoring the risk of losses. Slowly but surely, however, a financial crisis brewed.
Stories like this are endemic to China: business leaders colluding with officials to exploit development projects for personal enrichment, graft infecting all levels of government, and politicians encouraging capitalists to take on outsize risks.

The Money Illusion: Market Monetarism, the Great Recession, and the Future of Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
Summary via publisher (Chicago U. Press)
Is it possible that the consensus around what caused the 2008 Great Recession is almost entirely wrong? It’s happened before. Just as Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz led the economics community in the 1960s to reevaluate its view of what caused the Great Depression, the same may be happening now to our understanding of the first economic crisis of this century.

Handbook of Regression Modeling in People Analytics: With Examples in R and Python
Keith McNulty
Summary via publisher (CRC/Taylor & Francis Group)
Despite the recent rapid growth in machine learning and predictive analytics, many of the statistical questions that are faced by researchers and practitioners still involve explaining why something is happening. Regression analysis is the best ‘swiss army knife’ we have for answering these kinds of questions. This book is a learning resource on inferential statistics and regression analysis. It teaches how to do a wide range of statistical analyses in both R and in Python, ranging from simple hypothesis testing to advanced multivariate modelling. Although it is primarily focused on examples related to the analysis of people and talent, the methods easily transfer to any discipline.

Crypto Wars: Faked Deaths, Missing Billions and Industry Disruption
Erica Stanford
Summary via publisher (KoganPage)
If thousands of people can lose billions of dollars in OneCoin, masterminded by the now infamous Missing Cryptoqueen made famous by the BBC’s podcast series and called ‘one of the biggest scams in history’ by The Times, what makes you think your money is safe? OneCoin isn’t alone. Crypto Wars reveals some of the most shocking scams affected millions of innocent people all around the world with everything from religious leaders to celebrities involved. In this book, you get exclusive access to the back story of the most extreme Ponzi schemes, the most bizarre hoaxes and brutal exit strategies from some of the biggest charlatans of crypto.

Asset Allocation: From Theory to Practice and Beyond
William Kinlaw, et al.
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
In Asset Allocation: From Theory to Practice and Beyond—the newly and substantially revised Second Edition of A Practitioner’s Guide to Asset Allocation—accomplished finance professionals William Kinlaw, Mark P. Kritzman, and David Turkington deliver a robust and insightful exploration of the core tenets of asset allocation. Drawing on their experience working with hundreds of the world’s largest and most sophisticated investors, the authors review foundational concepts, debunk fallacies, and address cutting-edge themes like factor investing and scenario analysis.

Quantitative Trading: How to Build Your Own Algorithmic Trading Business
Ernest P. Chan
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
In the newly revised Second Edition of Quantitative Trading: How to Build Your Own Algorithmic Trading Business, quant trading expert Dr. Ernest P. Chan shows you how to apply both time-tested and novel quantitative trading strategies to develop or improve your own trading firm. You’ll discover new case studies and updated information on the application of cutting-edge machine learning investment techniques, as well as: Updated back tests on a variety of trading strategies, with included Python and R code examples and a new technique on optimizing parameters with changing market regimes using machine learning.

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