New books this month include the best selling Ta-Nehisi Coates book Between the world and me.
The age of stagnation : why perpetual growth is unattainable and the global economy is in peril / Satyajit Das.
“Das, selected by Bloomberg Markets as one of the 50 most influential financial thinkers, provides an accessible and deeply alarming look at the current world economy and anticipated future downward trends. After a concise summary of the post-WWII era, which he terms “the New Gilded Age,” Das reviews the 2007 financial crisis, providing a perspective that will be useful even for well-informed readers…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
End game : tipping point for planet Earth? / Anthony D. Barnosky and Elizabeth A. Hadly.
In End Game, world-renowned scientists Anthony Barnosky and Elizabeth Hadly draw on their work to explain the growing threats to humanity as the planet edges towards a resource war for remaining space, food, oil and water. And as they show, these wars are not the nightmares of a dystopian future but are already happening today… Finally, they ask: at what point will inaction become the break-up of the intricate workings of the global society? The planet is in danger now, but the solutions, as Barnosky and Hadly show, are still available. We still have the chance to avoid the tipping point and to make the future better… (adapted from Syndetics summary)
This is an uprising : how nonviolent revolt is shaping the twenty-first century / Mark Engler and Paul Engler.
“How do short-term uprisings become long-term movements? Why are some protests sensationalized while others are forgotten? Mark Engler and Paul Engler answer these questions successfully while profiling the work of Gene Sharp, a theorist of nonviolent action. Although nonviolence was popularized by Mahatma Gandhi’s Salt March (1930) and Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birmingham Campaign (1963), the ideology dates to ancient Rome. The authors emphasize that uprisings don’t have to triumph, they simply have to bring awareness to an issue, and when nonviolence is met with violence, it garners public sympathy… (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The profiteers : Bechtel and the men who built the world / Sally Denton.
“The tale of the Bechtel family dynasty is a classic American business story. It begins with Warren A. “Dad” Bechtel, who led a consortium that constructed the Hoover Dam. From that auspicious start, the family and its eponymous company would go on to “build the world,” from the construction of airports in Hong Kong and Doha, to pipelines and tunnels in Alaska and Europe, to mining and energy operations around the globe. Today Bechtel is one of the largest privately held corporations in the world, enriched and empowered by a long history of government contracts and the privatization of public works, made possible by an unprecedented revolving door between its San Francisco headquarters and Washington. Bechtel executives John McCone, Caspar Weinberger, and George P. Shultz segued from leadership at the company to positions as Director of the CIA, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of State, respectively…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The only game in town : central banks, instability, and avoiding the next collapse / Mohamed A. El-Erian.
“Our current economic path is coming to an end. Where we go when we reach this inflection point – toward renewed growth and prosperity, or toward increased malaise and financial chaos – is not pre-destined. It is up to us; to our assessment of the situation and our actions, both as individuals and collectively. Now El-Erian, one of the most influential and highly regarded thinkers in the world, provides us with a diagnosis and roadmap to understanding where we are today, how and why our central banks have become the essential actors in the current global economy, but cannot remain so, and where we can – indeed, should and must – go from here as individual investors, households, economies, societies, and governments” (Provided by publisher).
Shredded : inside RBS, the bank that broke Britain / Ian Fraser.
“The Royal Bank of Scotland was once one of the most successful and profitable financial institutions in the world; revered, admired and trusted by millions of savers and investors. A trusted employer for tens of thousands of people, with branches on nearly every high street in the land. Now, the very mention of the bank’s name causes fury and resentment, and the former CEO, Fred Goodwin, is regarded by many as the one of the principal culprits of the worst financial crash since 1929. Now, for the first time, award-winning financial journalist Ian Fraser reveals how the ‘light touch, limited touch’ approach to financial regulation of New Labour and the aggressive, confrontational, autocratic and reckless style of Fred Goodwin led to disaster, not just for the Royal Bank of Scotland, but for everyone in the UK…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Climate change, capitalism, and corporations : processes of creative self-destruction / Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg.
“Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing humanity, a definitive manifestation of the well-worn links between progress and devastation. This book explores the complex relationship that the corporate world has with climate change and examines the central role of corporations in shaping political and social responses to the climate crisis. The principal message of the book is that despite the need for dramatic economic and political change, corporate capitalism continues to rely on the maintenance of ‘business as usual’. The authors explore the different processes through which corporations engage with climate change. Key discussion points include climate change as business risk, corporate climate politics, the role of justification and compromise, and managerial identity and emotional reactions to climate change…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The end of alchemy : money, banking and the future of the global economy / Mervyn King.
“Most accounts of the recent (financial) crisis focus on the symptoms and not the underlying causes of what went wrong. But those events, vivid though they remain in our memories, comprised only the latest in a long series of financial crises since our present system of commerce became the cornerstone of modern capitalism. The End of Alchemy explains why, ultimately, this was and remains a crisis not of banking – even if we need to reform the banking system – nor of policy-making – even if mistakes were made – but of ideas.” (Book jacket)
Empire of things : how we became a world of consumers, from the fifteenth century to the twenty-first / Frank Trentmann.
“What we consume has become a central–perhaps the central–feature of modern life. Our economies live or die by spending, we increasingly define ourselves by our possessions, and this ever-richer lifestyle has had an extraordinary impact on our planet. How have we come to live with so much stuff, and how has this changed the course of history? In Empire of Things, Frank Trentmann unfolds the extraordinary story of our modern material world, from Renaissance Italy and late Ming China to today’s global economy. With an eye to the present and future, Frank Trentmann provides a long view on the global challenges of our relentless pursuit of more–from waste and debt to stress and inequality.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Between the world and me / Ta-Nehisi Coates.
“…In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men – bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Inventing the future : postcapitalism and a world without work / Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams.
“”A bold new manifesto for life after capitalism. Against the confused understanding of our high-tech world by both the right and the left, this book claims that the emancipatory and future-oriented possibilities of our society can be reclaimed. Instead of running from a complex future, Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams demand a postcapitalist economy capable of advancing standards, liberating humanity from work and developing technologies that expand our freedoms”– Page 4 of cover.” (Syndetics summary)