Book Bits | 4.13.13

Pathology of the Capitalist Spirit: An Essay on Greed, Loss, and Hope
By David Levine
Excerpt via publisher, Palgrave
Since the eighteenth century, economists have defined the terms in which we think about capitalism: economic growth, freedom, and power. Originally, capitalism was understood as the form of economic organization that created a new world of wealth and the alleviation of poverty, or, at least it created the possibility that there might be such a world. Subsequently, the matter of freedom became increasingly important. Capitalism was either equated with freedom or considered an essential precondition for it. At the same time that these two themes were being explored, a third gained traction, which is that capitalism is essentially an institutional–legal mechanism for enabling the few to gain wealth at the expense of the many.

Shock Markets: Trading Lessons for Volatile Times
By Robert Webb and Alexander Webb
Summary via publisher, FT Press
Don’t fear crises: use them as opportunities to make money! Shock Markets shows traders and investors exactly how to do it — with exceptional detail, not vague handwaving. Robert Webb and Alexander Webb offer meticulous breakdowns of recent crises, revealing how they impacted both individual stocks and the market as a whole — and helping you create detailed game plans for profiting from future shocks. By fusing real-life trading examples with rigorous moment-by-moment analysis of price changes, they give you tools to survive and thrive in even the most volatile markets.
Bubble Value at Risk: A Countercyclical Risk Management Approach (revised edition)
By Max C. Y. Wong
Summary via publisher, Wiley
The 2008 credit crisis did much to debunk the much touted powers of Value at Risk (VaR) as a risk metric. Unlike most authors on VaR who focus on what it can do, in this book the author looks at what it cannot. In clear, accessible prose, finance practitioners, Max Wong, describes the VaR measure and what it was meant to do, then explores its various failures in the real world of crisis risk management. More importantly, he lays out a revolutionary new method of measuring risks, Bubble Value at Risk, that is countercyclical and offers a well-tested buffer against market crashes.
The Economics of Business Valuation: Towards a Value Functional Approach
By Patrick L. Anderson
Summary via publisher, Stanford University Press
For decades, the market, asset, and income approaches to business valuation have taken center stage in the assessment of the firm. This book brings to light an expanded valuation toolkit, consisting of nine well-defined valuation principles hailing from the fields of economics, finance, accounting, taxation, and management. It ultimately argues that the “value functional” approach to business valuation avoids most of the shortcomings of its competitors, and more correctly matches the actual motivations and information set held by stakeholders.
Constitutional Money: A Review of the Supreme Court’s Monetary Decisions
By Richard H. Timberlake
Summary via publisher, Cambridge University Press
This book reviews nine Supreme Court cases and decisions that dealt with monetary laws and gives a summary history of monetary events and policies as they were affected by the Court’s decisions. Several cases and decisions had notable consequences on the monetary history of the United States, some of which were blatant misjudgments stimulated by political pressures. The cases included in this book begin with McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819 and end with the Gold Clause Cases in 1934–5. Constitutional Money examines three institutions that were prominent in these decisions: the Supreme Court, the gold standard and the Federal Reserve System. The final chapter describes the adjustments necessary to return to a gold standard and briefly examines the constitutional alternatives.
Why Growth Matters: How Economic Growth in India Reduced Poverty and the Lessons for Other Developing Countries
By Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya
Review via Kirkus Reviews
The authors seek to lay to rest the views of some who disagree with them about poverty, malnutrition, health and mortality, and education. They seek to show, for example, that while caloric consumption seems quite low on average, the numbers don’t point to the extensive malnutrition their opponents claim exists and need not have much to do with the prevalence of stunted growth and other continuing evidences of persistent poverty. Their arguments, however, are occasionally undermined by the evidence they provide and may not convince non-Indian readers. Among the most dramatic indicators are those concerning per capita income, life expectancy, infant mortality, maternal mortality, deaths from malaria and childhood stunting.
The Great Eurozone Disaster: From Crisis to Global New Deal
By Heikki Patomäki
Summary via publisher, Zed Books
The last couple of years have seen the eurozone lurch from crisis to calamity. With Greece, Portugal and Ireland already driven to the brink of economic catastrophe, and the threat that a number of other EU countries are soon to follow, the consequences for the global economy are potentially dire. In The Great Eurozone Disaster, Heikki Patomäki dissects the current crisis, revealing its origins lie in the instability that has driven the process of financialisation since the early 1970s. Furthermore, the public debt crises in the European deficit countries have been aggravated rather than alleviated by the responses of the Commission and leaders of the surplus countries, especially Germany.
Household Finance: Adrift in a Sea of Red Ink
By Dimitris N. Chorafas
Summary via publisher, Palgrave Macmillan
The “good life” for households has passed. The unwanted result which accompanied it is the sea of red ink. Confidence in the western way of life will not return until the current mess of a dysfunctional society, and its economy, is cleared out. Household Finance explains why and how this can be done.