Book Bits | 8.24.13

Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing
By Vaclav Smil
Summary via publisher, MIT Press
In Made in the USA, Vaclav Smil powerfully rebuts the notion that manufacturing is a relic of predigital history and that the loss of American manufacturing is a desirable evolutionary step toward a pure service economy. Smil argues that no advanced economy can prosper without a strong, innovative manufacturing sector and the jobs it creates. Reversing a famous information economy dictum, Smil argues that serving potato chips is not as good as making microchips.

The Manual of Ideas: The Proven Framework for Finding the Best Value Investments
By John Mihaljevic
Summary via publisher, Wiley
Considered an indispensable source of cutting-edge research and ideas among the world’s top investment firms and money managers, the journal The Manual of Ideas boasts a subscribers list that reads like a Who’s Who of high finance. Written by that publication’s managing editor and inspired by its mission to serve as an “idea funnel” for the world’s top money managers, this book introduces you to a proven, proprietary framework for finding, researching, analyzing, and implementing the best value investing opportunities. The next best thing to taking a peek under the hoods of some of the most prodigious brains in the business, it gives you uniquely direct access to the thought processes and investment strategies of such super value investors as Warren Buffett, Seth Klarman, Glenn Greenberg, Guy Spier and Joel Greenblatt.
Dollar, Euros and Debt: How we got into the Fiscal Crisis and how we get out of it
By Vito Tanzi
Summary via publisher, Palgrave Macmillan
The current economic crisis has been assumed to reflect a cyclical problem, and some economists have asked that it be dealt with ‘fiscal stimulus packages’, especially packages associated with public spending. This action is similar to that of giving steroids to a patient who suffers from a serious illness. It might make him or her feel temporarily better, but it actually aggravates the illness. Dollars, Euro’s, and Debt suggests that an increase in public spending is the wrong medicine, because it was precisely the increase in public spending that created some of the structural problems that are now confused with, or have led to, the cyclical slowdowns. The book argues that, over the years, and in a growing number of countries, the high and increasing levels of public spending were, first and progressively, being financed by higher tax levels and, subsequently, by increasing borrowing.
The Employee: A Political History
By Jean-Christian Vinel
Summary via publisher, University of Pennsylvania Press
In the present age of temp work, telecommuting, and outsourcing, millions of workers in the United States find themselves excluded from the category of “employee”—a crucial distinction that would otherwise permit unionization and collective bargaining. Tracing the history of the term since its entry into the public lexicon in the nineteenth century, Jean-Christian Vinel demonstrates that the legal definition of “employee” has always been politically contested and deeply affected by competing claims on the part of business and labor. Unique in the Western world, American labor law is premised on the notion that “no man can serve two masters”—workers owe loyalty to their employer, which in many cases is incompatible with union membership.
David Ricardo (Great Thinkers in Economics series)
By John. E. King
Summary via publisher, Palgrave Macmillan
This book offers a new account of David Ricardo’s political economy that is both scholarly and accessible. It provides an up to date overview of the secondary literature on Ricardo, and discusses alternative perspectives on his work, including those of Marxians, neoclassicals and Sraffians. The book makes a critical assessment of the ‘new views’ of Ricardo’s politics, his macroeconomics and his theory of wages, and links his writings to current controversies on fiscal and monetary policy, including ‘Ricardian equivalence’, fiscal austerity and the case for an independent central bank.
Capitalism Reassessed
By Frederic L. Pryor
Summary via publisher, Cambridge University Press
Capitalism Reassessed provides a broad view of different types of advanced capitalist economic systems and is based on an empirical analysis of twenty-one OECD nations. The book looks at why capitalism developed in Western Europe rather than elsewhere. It shows the close influences of the cultural system on the economic system. The analysis compares the economic and social performance of the capitalist economic systems along a variety of economic and social criteria. It also analyzes how capitalism will change in the twenty-first century.
Mathematics of the Financial Markets: Financial Instruments and Derivatives Modelling, Valuation and Risk Issues
By Alain Ruttiens
Summary via publisher, Wiley
The book aims to prioritise what needs mastering and presents the content in the most understandable, concise and pedagogical way illustrated by real market examples. Given the variety and the complexity of the materials the book covers, the author sorts through a vast array of topics in a subjective way, relying upon more than twenty years of experience as a market practitioner. The book only requires the reader to be knowledgeable in the basics of algebra and statistics.
The Crimes of the Economy: A Criminological Analysis of Economic Thought
By Vincenzo Ruggiero
Summary via publisher, Routledge
Economists have often paid visits to the field of criminology, examining the rational logic of offending. When economists examine criminal activity, they imply that offenders should be treated like any other social actor making rational choices. In The Crimes of the Economy, Vincenzo Ruggiero turns the tables by examining a variety of economic schools of thought from a criminological perspective. Each one of these schools, he argues, justifies or even encourages harm produced by economic initiative. He investigates – among others – John Locke’s notion of private property, Mercantilism, the Physiocrats and Malthus, and the arguments of Adam Smith, Marshall, Keynes and neoliberalism. In each of these, the author identifies the potential justification of different forms of ‘crimes of the economy’ and victimisation.