● The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire
By Neil Irwin
Q&A with author via The New York Times/Economix blog
Q: Americans generally view the financial crisis as a domestic event, and it’s already fading from memory. A central message of your book seems to be that it was primarily a European event, and it’s not over yet.
A: If history teaches one thing, it is that when a severe global financial panic sets in, it can easily bend and warp and metastasize. That’s how what we once quaintly called the subprime crisis came to have such varied effects as banking collapses in Iceland and Ireland and Cyprus, a lost decade for the British economy, and a series of events that nearly unraveled 60 years of progress toward a united and peaceful Europe. At its worst, those types of unpredictable domino effects can lead to some very bad places, of which the Great Depression and World War II are the prime examples. Fortunately nothing nearly that bad has happened this time. But as catastrophic as the 2008 experience was for the U.S. economy and millions of Americans, it was closer to the start of the crisis than the end.
● The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America
By David Stockman
Excerpt via MSNBC
Even the tepid post-2008 recovery has not been what it was cracked up to be, especially with respect to the Wall Street presumption that the American consumer would once again function as the engine of GDP growth. It goes without saying, in fact, that the precarious plight of the Main Street consumer has been obfuscated by the manner in which the state’s unprecedented fiscal and monetary medications have distorted the incoming data and economic narrative.
These distortions implicate all rungs of the economic ladder, but are especially egregious with respect to the prosperous classes. In fact, a wealth-effects driven mini-boom in upper-end consumption has contributed immensely to the impression that average consumers are clawing their way back to pre-crisis spending habits. This is not remotely true.
● Other People’s Money: Inside the Housing Crisis and the Demise of the Greatest Real Estate Deal Ever Made
By Charles V. Bagli
Interview with author via NPR
The middle-income housing projects Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village sit on an 80-acre patch of Lower Manhattan. In 2006, they came to epitomize the lunatic excess of the housing boom when their 11,232 apartments sold for $5.4 billion. They were bought at a competitive auction by Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty.
Charles Bagli covered the purchase for The New York Times. In his new book, Other People’s Money, he tells the story of how the biggest ever real estate deal came together and then spectacularly came apart. Standing in the park at the center of Stuyvesant Town, Bagli tells NPR’s Robert Siegel that these housing projects provided a place where people of moderate means could set down roots.
● Financial Independence (Getting to Point X): An Advisor’s Guide to Comprehensive Wealth Management
By John J. Vento
Summary via publisher, Wiley
From saving to purchase a first car, to putting kids through college to planning for retirement, to preserving your estate for your loved ones, our financial goals change from one stage of life to the next. While those goals and the challenges we face in achieving them may differ, all of them have certain things in common. Saving, budgeting, managing debt, minimizing taxes and living within your means. These are a few of the 10 Key Wealth Management Issues which come into play (to varying degrees) when working toward specific financial goals. But there’s one goal for which success relies on all ten keys coming together in perfect harmony: financial independence, also known as “Point X.” No matter how you define it—whether it’s a retirement income of $25,000 a year, or an estate worth $250 million—your future financial independence requires that you deal effectively with all ten key issues. And now this book shows you how to get it done, along with the guidance of a trusted advisor.
● The Global Economic Crisis: A Chronology
By Larry Allen
Summary via publisher, Reaktion Books
From Greece scrambling to meet Eurozone austerity measures to America’s sluggish job growth, there is every indication that the world has not recovered from the economic implosion of 2008. And for many of us, the details of what led to the recession – and why it has continued – remain murky. Economic historian Larry Allen enlightens us in The Global Economic Crisis, offering an insightful and nonpartisan chronology of events and their consequences and illuminating the interlocked economic processes that lay beneath the crisis. He describes and explains the changing nature of the global financial system, central bank policies, housing bubbles, deregulation, sovereign debt crises and more.
● Divided Nations: Why global governance is failing, and what we can do about it
By Ian Goldin,
Summary via publisher, Oxford University Press
With rapid globalization, the world is more deeply interconnected than ever before. While this has its advantages, it also brings with it systemic risks that are only just being identified and understood. Rapid urbanization, together with technological leaps, such as the Internet, mean that we are now physically and virtually closer than ever in humanity’s history. We face a number of international challenges – climate change, finance, pandemics, cyber security, and migration – which spill over national boundaries. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the UN, the IMF, the World Bank – bodies created in a very different world, more than 60 years ago – are inadequate for the task of managing such risk in the 21st century. Ian Goldin explores whether the answer is to reform the existing structures, or to consider a new and radical approach.