Book Bits | 8.02.14

Economists and the State: What Went Wrong
Summary via publisher, Edward Elgar
Adam Smith is widely regarded as the ‘founder of modern economics’. The author shows, however, that Smith’s procedurally based, consequence-detached political economy, an approach shared by America’s Founders, finds no expression in the economist’s utilitarian, procedurally-detached theory of the state. This ‘wrong turn’ has meant that, if economists are ill-equipped to address an expanding federal enterprise in which utilitarian considerations trump the Smithian/Madisonian idea that means and ends must be morally and constitutionally constrained, they are also ineffectual bystanders as growing institutional skepticism, demands for ‘social justice’ and metastasizing rights claims threaten our self-governing republic.

The New Geography of Capitalism: Firms, Finance, and Society
By Adam D. Dixon
Summary via publisher, Oxford University Press
Globalization is a dominant feature and force in the contemporary world, impacting all areas of business, economics, and society. This accessibly written overview of contemporary capitalism shows how the development of global supply chains, the global division of labour, and, in particular, the globalization of financial markets have become the drivers of this process, and assesses the consequences. Not only does this affect the way firms operate, it also presents challenges for the nation state. The changing geography of capitalism underpinned by an expanding global division of labour and the integration of financial markets has undercut the bordering logics necessary for the maintenance of national systems of production, national varieties of capitalism, and national systems of social protection.

A Brief History of Financial Crises : The Economics, Politics, and Greed Behind the Scenes
By Haim Kedar-Levy
Summary via publisher, World Scientific
A Brief History of Financial Crises: The Economics, Politics, and Greed behind the Scenes explains in clear and intuitive terms how the economic environment changed throughout 10 of the most spectacular financial crises of the past century. On the one hand, it shows that the lack of effective regulation, relevant data, and adequate understanding of the economic environment were among the facilitators of the crises. On the other hand, it highlights the role that ill-incentivized bankers and accountants, biased politicians, euphoric investors, speculators, and corrupt managers played in the evolution of bubbles and crises.The first few chapters offer a brief review of bubbles and key concepts in multinational finance and macroeconomics, making the book accessible to any curious reader. Each of the 10 crises is presented in an informal manner, followed by a discussion of the key roles different players had in creating the crises and in coping with the outcomes. The last chapter summarizes the lessons for a free market economy.

The Financial Crisis and White Collar Crime: The Perfect Storm?
By Nicholas Ryder
Summary via publisher, Edward Elgar
Concentrating on the relationship between the 2007 financial crisis and white-collar crime in both the United States of America and the United Kingdom this unique book asserts that such activity was an important variable that contributed towards the crisis. It also reveals a number of similarities and differences in the approach towards white-collar crime emanating from the financial crisis.

Building Algorithmic Trading Systems: A Trader’s Journey From Data Mining to Monte Carlo Simulation to Live Trading
By Kevin Davey
Summary via publisher, Wiley
A purely discretionary approach to trading generally breaks down over the long haul. With market data and statistics easily available, traders are increasingly opting to employ an automated or algorithmic trading system—enough that algorithmic trades now account for the bulk of stock trading volume. Building Algorithmic Trading Systems teaches you how to develop your own systems with an eye toward market fluctuations and the impermanence of even the most effective algorithm.

Derivatives: A Guide to Alternative Investments
By David Weiss
Summary via publisher, Portfolio
In today’s highly charged and rapidly changing financial climate, derivatives are dominating global headlines. It is essential for financial professionals to have a strong grasp of the products, practices, and regulatory agencies associated with the complex derivatives market in order to keep up. In this book, financial expert David Weiss introduces readers to the basic concept of a derivative and offers a thorough examination of the many derivative products. Breaking down a complex market into its basic parts, he systematically explains the structure, usage, and value aspect of all the products constituting the derivatives universe