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New Books in Economics

Marshall Poe

221
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723
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New Books in Economics

New Books in Economics

Marshall Poe

221
Followers
723
Plays
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Interviews with Economists about their New Books

Latest Episodes

Simon Bowmaker, "When the President Calls: Conversations with Economic Policymakers"(MIT Press, 2019)

I spoke with Dr Simon Bowmaker, Professor of Economics at New York University, Stern School of Business. He has recently published When the President Calls: Conversations with Economic Policymakers(MIT Press, 2019). His book is a very original and timely contribution on the relationship between US presidents and their economic advisers. The book, 674 pages, is divided into nine sections (one for each president from Nixon to Trump) and 35 chapters (one for each economic adviser of those nine presidents). The book covers 50 years of US history, 1969 to 2019 and is enriched by amazing pictures of the advisers ‘in action’ with their presidents. What is it like to sit in the Oval Office and discuss policy with the president? To know that the decisions made will affect hundreds of millions of people? To know that the wrong advice could be calamitous? These 35 officials worked in the executive branch in a variety of capacities but all had direct access to the policymaking process and can offer insights about the difficult tradeoffs made on economic policy. The interviews shed new light, for example, on the thinking behind the Reagan tax cuts, the economic factors that cost George H. W. Bush a second term, the constraints facing policymakers during the financial crisis of 2008, the differences in work styles between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and the Trump administration's early budget process. We started our conversation talking about the origin of the book and its development. Simon explained how he managed to reach such an impressive number of interviewees. We then discussed the background of the advisers, their relationship with ‘their’ presidents and how they managed to receive their ‘call’. I have asked him if he thinks that in the 50 years covered by the book, the relationship between presidents and advisers has evolved in some direction. He offered a very interesting answer about the alternative sources that today politicians can use to make their own minds. When the President Callsoffers a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on US economic policymaking. This is a great new book, original, well written, enjoyable. Many readers would find it interesting and helpful: to begin with, economists, historians, and politicians. Andrea Bernardiis Senior Lecturer in Employment and Organization Studies at Oxford Brookes University in the UK. He holds a doctorate in Organization Theory from the University of Milan, Bicocca. He has held teaching and research positions in Italy, China and the UK. Among hisresearch interestsare the use of history in management studies, the co-operative sector, and Chinese co-operatives. His latest project is looking at health care in China. He is the co-convener of the EAEPE’s permanent track onCo-operative economy and collective ownership. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

24 MIN3 d ago
Comments
Simon Bowmaker, "When the President Calls: Conversations with Economic Policymakers"(MIT Press, 2019)

Howard Friedman, "Ultimate Price: The Value We Place on Life" (U California Press, 2020)

Howard Friedman's new book Ultimate Price: The Value We Place on Life (University of California Press, 2020) should be required reading for anyone sitting down to watch the evening news. The Covid-19 crisis is, unfortunately, a new broad-based instance in the valuation of human life. And I do mean value: in terms of cash dollars. Ultimate Price covers the ways that companies, courts, nations, and individuals have come to put a price tag on individual existence. While the book was written prior to the current situation, it provides an excellent starting point to understand what we are observing as governments, companies, healthcare providers, and individuals make life-and-death decisions. Daniel Peris is Senior Vice President at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh. Trained as a historian of modern Russia, he is the author most recently ofGetting Back to Business: Why Modern Portfolio Theory Fails Investors.You can follow him on Twitter@HistoryInvestoror athttp://www.strategicdividendin...

46 MINAPR 30
Comments
Howard Friedman, "Ultimate Price: The Value We Place on Life" (U California Press, 2020)

Yue Hou, "The Private Sector in Public Office: Selective Property Rights in China" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

In China, roughly 60% of GDP and 80% of employment comes from the private sector – yet half of private entrepreneurs report that they faced expropriation of property by local governments. Yue Hou’s rich, detailed, and ambitious book documents how private entrepreneurs protect their property from expropriation by running for office – and using their public roles to advance their private economic interest. Entrepreneurs who hold local legislative seats can leverage their political status to deter predatory behavior by lower-level bureaucrats who fear retribution or punishment from the legislator’s political network. Joining local legislatures allows private owners to creatively build a system of selective – yet effective – property rights in the short (and maybe medium) term. Hou’s research combines quantitative and qualitative methods including interviews with entrepreneurs, legislators, and audit experiments – in a political environment in which people are often risk-averse ...

40 MINAPR 30
Comments
Yue Hou, "The Private Sector in Public Office: Selective Property Rights in China" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

Leslie M. Harris, "Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies" (U Georgia Press, 2019)

Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies (University of Georgia Press, 2019), edited by Leslie M. Harris, James T. Campbell, and Alfred L. Brophy, is the first edited collection of scholarly essays devoted solely to the histories and legacies of this subject on North American campuses and in their Atlantic contexts. Gathering together contributions from scholars, activists, and administrators, the volume combines two broad bodies of work: (1) historically based interdisciplinary research on the presence of slavery at higher education institutions in terms of the development of proslavery and antislavery thought and the use of slave labor; and (2) analysis on the ways in which the legacies of slavery in institutions of higher education continued in the post–Civil War era to the present day. The collection features broadly themed essays on issues of religion, economy, and the regional slave trade of the Caribbean. It also includes case studies of slavery’s influence on specific institutions, such as Princeton University, Harvard University, Oberlin College, Emory University, and the University of Alabama. Though the roots of Slavery and the University stem from a 2011 conference at Emory University, the collection extends outward to incorporate recent findings. As such, it offers a roadmap to one of the most exciting developments in the field of U.S. slavery studies and to ways of thinking about racial diversity in the history and current practices of higher education. Today I spoke with Leslie Harris about the book. Dr. Harris is a professor of history at Northwestern University. She is the coeditor, with Ira Berlin, of Slavery in New Yorkand the coeditor, with Daina Ramey Berry, ofSlavery and Freedom in Savannah(Georgia). Adam McNeil is a History PhD student at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

59 MINAPR 28
Comments
Leslie M. Harris, "Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies" (U Georgia Press, 2019)

Thomas Piketty, "Capital and Ideology" (Harvard UP, 2020)

It seems easier for us today to imagine the thoroughgoing deterioration of the earth and of nature than the breakdown of late capitalism; perhaps that is due to some weakness in our imaginations- Fredric Jameson, The Seeds of Time Thomas Piketty, the French economist, was dubbed the modern Marx by The Economist in the wake of his bestselling Capital in the 21st Century, which presented historical data reaching back to the eighteenth century and focused on the dynamics of the distribution of wealth and income and the destabilizing force represented by:r > g– that is, the private rate of return on capital over time can be much higher than the rate of growth of income and output.Readers noted however, in addition to pointing out this ‘central contradiction of capitalism’ Professor Piketty was also clear that the purpose of social science is not to produce mathematical certainties that substitute for inclusive democratic debate.More importantly, he made the case for the progressive t...

36 MINAPR 21
Comments
Thomas Piketty, "Capital and Ideology" (Harvard UP, 2020)

K. Aronoff, et al., "A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal" (Verso, 2019)

In early 2019, freshman representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Senator Ed Markey proposed a bold new piece of legislation, now very well known as the Green New Deal. Intended as a means of combating climate change, it stunned a number of people due to its enormous ambition, including massive overhauls of our energy systems, as well as providing housing and healthcare for everyone. Naturally a piece of legislation this large raised a number of questions, which is what my guests today are here to discuss. I recently had the pleasure of talking with Kate Aronoff, Alyssa Battistoni, Daniel Aldana Cohen and Thea Riofrancos, the authors of ​A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal​ (Verso, 2019). The book is short and accessible, written for everyone interested in understanding this vital piece of legislation, so if you are like me and you don’t understand the fine details of climate economics, you can still pick this up and gain a sense of what is to be done. The book also features a short forward by Naomi Klein, who has been tracking the relationship between economic and climate politics for some time. Kate Aronoff (@KateAronoff) is a fellow at the Type Media Center and a Contributing Writer at the ​Intercept​. She is the co-editor of ​We Own the Future​ and author of ​The New Denialism​. Her writing has appeared in the ​Guardian​, ​Rolling Stone​, ​Harper’s​, ​In These Times​, and ​Dissent​ Alyssa Battistoni (@alybatt) is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and an editor at Jacobin.​ Her writing has appeared the ​Guardian,​ ​n+1​, ​The Nation​, ​Jacobin,​ ​In These Times​, Dissent​, and the ​Chronicle of Higher Education.​ Daniel Aldana Cohen (@aldatweets) is an assistant professor of sociolgy at the University of Pennsylvania, where he directs the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative. His writing has appeared in the ​Guardian​, ​Nature,​ ​The Nation​, ​Jacobin​, ​Public Books​, ​Dissent​, and ​NACLA.​ Thea Riofrancos (@triofrancos) is an assistant professor of political science at Providence College, and is the author of ​Resource Radicals.​ Her writing has appeared in the ​Guardian​, ​n+1​, Jacobin,​ the ​Los Angeles Review of Books​, ​Dissent,​ and ​In These Times​. She serves on the steering committee of DSA’s Ecosocialist Working Group. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

104 MINAPR 14
Comments
K. Aronoff, et al., "A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal" (Verso, 2019)

Katharina Pistor, "The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality" (Princeton UP, 2019)

"Most lawyers, most actors, most soldiers and sailors, most athletes, most doctors, and most diplomats feel a certain solidarity in the face of outsiders, and, in spite of other differences, they share fragments of a common ethic in their working life, and a kind of moral complicity." – Stuart Hampshire, Justice is Conflict. There are many more examples of professional solidarity, however fragmented and tentative, sharing the link of a common ethic that helps make systems, and the analysis of them, possible in the larger political economy. Writing from a law professor’s vantage point, Katharina Pistor, in her new book, The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality (Princeton University Press, 2019) explains how even though law is a social good it has been harnessed as a private commodity over time that creates private wealth, and plays a significant role in the increasing disparity of financial outcomes. As she points out in this interview, and her chapter ‘Masters of the Code’, it is ‘critical to have lawyers in the room’, and they clearly have the lead role in her well-researched and nuanced thesis centered on the decentralized institution of private law. Professor Pistor builds on Rudden’s ‘feudal calculus’ providing the long view of legal systems in maintaining and creating wealth and draws on historical analogies including the enclosure movements as she interweaves her analysis of capital asset creation with a broader critique of professional and institutional agency. Polanyi and Piketty figure into Pistor’s analysis among many others, as does the help of the state’s coercive backing as she draws on the breadth of her own governance research and analysis of the collapsed socialist regimes in the 1990s, and a research pivot toward western market economies following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Professor Pistor is a comparative scholar with a keen interdisciplinary eye for the relationship between law, values, and markets, dovetailing larger concepts with detailed descriptions of the coding of ‘stocks, bonds, ideas, and even expectations—assets that exist only in law.’ All of which informs her inquiry into why some legal systems have been more accommodating to capital’s coding cravings and others less so, as she describes the process by which capital is created. She moves beyond legal realism’s less granular critiques, and as reviewers such as Samuel Moyn have suggested – this book ‘deserves to be the essential text of any movement today that concerns itself with law and political economy’. Katharina Pistor is the Edwin B. Parker Professor of Comparative Law, and the Director of the Center on Global Legal Transformation at Columbia Law School. Keith Krueger lectures at the SHU-UTS Business School in Shanghai. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

70 MINAPR 2
Comments
Katharina Pistor, "The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality" (Princeton UP, 2019)

Matt Cook, "Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy" (MIT Press, 2020)

Paradox is a sophisticated kind of magic trick. A magician's purpose is to create the appearance of impossibility, to pull a rabbit from an empty hat. Yet paradox doesn't require tangibles, like rabbits or hats. Paradox works in the abstract, with words and concepts and symbols, to create the illusion of contradiction. There are no contradictions in reality, but there can appear to be. In Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy (MIT Press, 2020), Matt Cook and a few collaborators dive deeply into more than 75 paradoxes in mathematics, physics, philosophy, and the social sciences. As each paradox is discussed and resolved, Cook helps readers discover the meaning of knowledge and the proper formation of concepts―and how reason can dispel the illusion of contradiction. The journey begins with “a most ingenious paradox” from Gilbert and Sullivan'sPirates of Penzance.Readers will then travel from Ancient Greece to cutting-edge laboratories, encounter infinity and its different sizes, and discover mathematical impossibilities inherent in elections. They will tackle conundrums in probability, induction, geometry, and game theory; perform “supertasks”; build apparent perpetual motion machines; meet twins living in different millennia; explore the strange quantum world―and much more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

54 MINMAR 30
Comments
Matt Cook, "Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy" (MIT Press, 2020)

Andrew Leigh, "Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Are Changing Our World" (Yale UP, 2018)

From the unending quest to turn metal into gold to the major discoveries that reveal how the universe works, experiments have always been a critical part of the hard sciences. In recent decades social scientists have started to catch up and the results are shifting the way we do nearly everything. Randomized control trials, called RCT’s, have a logic so simple that anyone can understand how they work and even run them themselves. It’s simple. You come up with an idea to get something to happen. You take a group of subjects and randomly split it in half. You try your idea on one group and leave the other group alone. The difference in outcomes will tell you if your idea works or not. In Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Are Changing Our World (Yale University Press, 2018), Andrew Leigh demonstrated the impact that social scientists are making with this powerful tool. From opportunity experiments to changing your socks, researchers are putting old ideas to the test and finding ou...

41 MINMAR 26
Comments
Andrew Leigh, "Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Are Changing Our World" (Yale UP, 2018)

Ahmet T. Kuru, "Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment: A Global and Historical Comparison" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

Ahmet T. Kuru’s new book Islam, Authoritarianism and Underdevelopment, A Global and Historical Comparison (Cambridge University Press, 2019) is a ground-breaking history and analysis of the evolution of the state in Muslim countries. Thoroughly researched and accessibly written, Kuru’s work traces the template of the modern-day state in many Muslim-majority countries to fundamental political, social and economic changes in the 11th century. That was when Islamic scholars who until then had by and large refused to surrender their independence to the state were co-opted by Muslim rulers. It was a time when the merchant class lost its economic clout as the Muslim world moved from a mercantile to a feudal economy. Religious and other scholars were often themselves merchants or funded by merchants. The transition coincided with the rise of the military state legitimized by religious scholars who had little choice but to go into its employ. They helped the state develop a forced Sunni Muslim orthodoxy based on text rather than reason- or tradition based interpretation of Islam with the founding of madrassahs or religious seminaries that were designed to counter the rise of Shiite states in North Africa and counter less or unorthodox strands of the faith. Kuru’s history could hardly be more relevant. It lays bare the roots of modern-day, illiberal, authoritarian or autocratic states in the Muslim world that are characterized by some form of often rent-driven state capitalism and frequently expansionary in their effort to ensure regime survival and increase rents. These states feature education systems that fail to develop critical thinking and religious establishments that are subservient to their rulers. Kuru’s book also in effect describes one of the original sources of the civilizational state that has become a fixture in the struggle to shape a new world order. With his book, Kuru has made an invaluable contribution to the understanding of the stagnation as well as the turmoil that has swept the Middle East and North Africa as well as the wider Islamic world. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

61 MINMAR 25
Comments
Ahmet T. Kuru, "Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment: A Global and Historical Comparison" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

Latest Episodes

Simon Bowmaker, "When the President Calls: Conversations with Economic Policymakers"(MIT Press, 2019)

I spoke with Dr Simon Bowmaker, Professor of Economics at New York University, Stern School of Business. He has recently published When the President Calls: Conversations with Economic Policymakers(MIT Press, 2019). His book is a very original and timely contribution on the relationship between US presidents and their economic advisers. The book, 674 pages, is divided into nine sections (one for each president from Nixon to Trump) and 35 chapters (one for each economic adviser of those nine presidents). The book covers 50 years of US history, 1969 to 2019 and is enriched by amazing pictures of the advisers ‘in action’ with their presidents. What is it like to sit in the Oval Office and discuss policy with the president? To know that the decisions made will affect hundreds of millions of people? To know that the wrong advice could be calamitous? These 35 officials worked in the executive branch in a variety of capacities but all had direct access to the policymaking process and can offer insights about the difficult tradeoffs made on economic policy. The interviews shed new light, for example, on the thinking behind the Reagan tax cuts, the economic factors that cost George H. W. Bush a second term, the constraints facing policymakers during the financial crisis of 2008, the differences in work styles between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and the Trump administration's early budget process. We started our conversation talking about the origin of the book and its development. Simon explained how he managed to reach such an impressive number of interviewees. We then discussed the background of the advisers, their relationship with ‘their’ presidents and how they managed to receive their ‘call’. I have asked him if he thinks that in the 50 years covered by the book, the relationship between presidents and advisers has evolved in some direction. He offered a very interesting answer about the alternative sources that today politicians can use to make their own minds. When the President Callsoffers a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on US economic policymaking. This is a great new book, original, well written, enjoyable. Many readers would find it interesting and helpful: to begin with, economists, historians, and politicians. Andrea Bernardiis Senior Lecturer in Employment and Organization Studies at Oxford Brookes University in the UK. He holds a doctorate in Organization Theory from the University of Milan, Bicocca. He has held teaching and research positions in Italy, China and the UK. Among hisresearch interestsare the use of history in management studies, the co-operative sector, and Chinese co-operatives. His latest project is looking at health care in China. He is the co-convener of the EAEPE’s permanent track onCo-operative economy and collective ownership. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

24 MIN3 d ago
Comments
Simon Bowmaker, "When the President Calls: Conversations with Economic Policymakers"(MIT Press, 2019)

Howard Friedman, "Ultimate Price: The Value We Place on Life" (U California Press, 2020)

Howard Friedman's new book Ultimate Price: The Value We Place on Life (University of California Press, 2020) should be required reading for anyone sitting down to watch the evening news. The Covid-19 crisis is, unfortunately, a new broad-based instance in the valuation of human life. And I do mean value: in terms of cash dollars. Ultimate Price covers the ways that companies, courts, nations, and individuals have come to put a price tag on individual existence. While the book was written prior to the current situation, it provides an excellent starting point to understand what we are observing as governments, companies, healthcare providers, and individuals make life-and-death decisions. Daniel Peris is Senior Vice President at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh. Trained as a historian of modern Russia, he is the author most recently ofGetting Back to Business: Why Modern Portfolio Theory Fails Investors.You can follow him on Twitter@HistoryInvestoror athttp://www.strategicdividendin...

46 MINAPR 30
Comments
Howard Friedman, "Ultimate Price: The Value We Place on Life" (U California Press, 2020)

Yue Hou, "The Private Sector in Public Office: Selective Property Rights in China" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

In China, roughly 60% of GDP and 80% of employment comes from the private sector – yet half of private entrepreneurs report that they faced expropriation of property by local governments. Yue Hou’s rich, detailed, and ambitious book documents how private entrepreneurs protect their property from expropriation by running for office – and using their public roles to advance their private economic interest. Entrepreneurs who hold local legislative seats can leverage their political status to deter predatory behavior by lower-level bureaucrats who fear retribution or punishment from the legislator’s political network. Joining local legislatures allows private owners to creatively build a system of selective – yet effective – property rights in the short (and maybe medium) term. Hou’s research combines quantitative and qualitative methods including interviews with entrepreneurs, legislators, and audit experiments – in a political environment in which people are often risk-averse ...

40 MINAPR 30
Comments
Yue Hou, "The Private Sector in Public Office: Selective Property Rights in China" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

Leslie M. Harris, "Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies" (U Georgia Press, 2019)

Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies (University of Georgia Press, 2019), edited by Leslie M. Harris, James T. Campbell, and Alfred L. Brophy, is the first edited collection of scholarly essays devoted solely to the histories and legacies of this subject on North American campuses and in their Atlantic contexts. Gathering together contributions from scholars, activists, and administrators, the volume combines two broad bodies of work: (1) historically based interdisciplinary research on the presence of slavery at higher education institutions in terms of the development of proslavery and antislavery thought and the use of slave labor; and (2) analysis on the ways in which the legacies of slavery in institutions of higher education continued in the post–Civil War era to the present day. The collection features broadly themed essays on issues of religion, economy, and the regional slave trade of the Caribbean. It also includes case studies of slavery’s influence on specific institutions, such as Princeton University, Harvard University, Oberlin College, Emory University, and the University of Alabama. Though the roots of Slavery and the University stem from a 2011 conference at Emory University, the collection extends outward to incorporate recent findings. As such, it offers a roadmap to one of the most exciting developments in the field of U.S. slavery studies and to ways of thinking about racial diversity in the history and current practices of higher education. Today I spoke with Leslie Harris about the book. Dr. Harris is a professor of history at Northwestern University. She is the coeditor, with Ira Berlin, of Slavery in New Yorkand the coeditor, with Daina Ramey Berry, ofSlavery and Freedom in Savannah(Georgia). Adam McNeil is a History PhD student at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

59 MINAPR 28
Comments
Leslie M. Harris, "Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies" (U Georgia Press, 2019)

Thomas Piketty, "Capital and Ideology" (Harvard UP, 2020)

It seems easier for us today to imagine the thoroughgoing deterioration of the earth and of nature than the breakdown of late capitalism; perhaps that is due to some weakness in our imaginations- Fredric Jameson, The Seeds of Time Thomas Piketty, the French economist, was dubbed the modern Marx by The Economist in the wake of his bestselling Capital in the 21st Century, which presented historical data reaching back to the eighteenth century and focused on the dynamics of the distribution of wealth and income and the destabilizing force represented by:r > g– that is, the private rate of return on capital over time can be much higher than the rate of growth of income and output.Readers noted however, in addition to pointing out this ‘central contradiction of capitalism’ Professor Piketty was also clear that the purpose of social science is not to produce mathematical certainties that substitute for inclusive democratic debate.More importantly, he made the case for the progressive t...

36 MINAPR 21
Comments
Thomas Piketty, "Capital and Ideology" (Harvard UP, 2020)

K. Aronoff, et al., "A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal" (Verso, 2019)

In early 2019, freshman representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Senator Ed Markey proposed a bold new piece of legislation, now very well known as the Green New Deal. Intended as a means of combating climate change, it stunned a number of people due to its enormous ambition, including massive overhauls of our energy systems, as well as providing housing and healthcare for everyone. Naturally a piece of legislation this large raised a number of questions, which is what my guests today are here to discuss. I recently had the pleasure of talking with Kate Aronoff, Alyssa Battistoni, Daniel Aldana Cohen and Thea Riofrancos, the authors of ​A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal​ (Verso, 2019). The book is short and accessible, written for everyone interested in understanding this vital piece of legislation, so if you are like me and you don’t understand the fine details of climate economics, you can still pick this up and gain a sense of what is to be done. The book also features a short forward by Naomi Klein, who has been tracking the relationship between economic and climate politics for some time. Kate Aronoff (@KateAronoff) is a fellow at the Type Media Center and a Contributing Writer at the ​Intercept​. She is the co-editor of ​We Own the Future​ and author of ​The New Denialism​. Her writing has appeared in the ​Guardian​, ​Rolling Stone​, ​Harper’s​, ​In These Times​, and ​Dissent​ Alyssa Battistoni (@alybatt) is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and an editor at Jacobin.​ Her writing has appeared the ​Guardian,​ ​n+1​, ​The Nation​, ​Jacobin,​ ​In These Times​, Dissent​, and the ​Chronicle of Higher Education.​ Daniel Aldana Cohen (@aldatweets) is an assistant professor of sociolgy at the University of Pennsylvania, where he directs the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative. His writing has appeared in the ​Guardian​, ​Nature,​ ​The Nation​, ​Jacobin​, ​Public Books​, ​Dissent​, and ​NACLA.​ Thea Riofrancos (@triofrancos) is an assistant professor of political science at Providence College, and is the author of ​Resource Radicals.​ Her writing has appeared in the ​Guardian​, ​n+1​, Jacobin,​ the ​Los Angeles Review of Books​, ​Dissent,​ and ​In These Times​. She serves on the steering committee of DSA’s Ecosocialist Working Group. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

104 MINAPR 14
Comments
K. Aronoff, et al., "A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal" (Verso, 2019)

Katharina Pistor, "The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality" (Princeton UP, 2019)

"Most lawyers, most actors, most soldiers and sailors, most athletes, most doctors, and most diplomats feel a certain solidarity in the face of outsiders, and, in spite of other differences, they share fragments of a common ethic in their working life, and a kind of moral complicity." – Stuart Hampshire, Justice is Conflict. There are many more examples of professional solidarity, however fragmented and tentative, sharing the link of a common ethic that helps make systems, and the analysis of them, possible in the larger political economy. Writing from a law professor’s vantage point, Katharina Pistor, in her new book, The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality (Princeton University Press, 2019) explains how even though law is a social good it has been harnessed as a private commodity over time that creates private wealth, and plays a significant role in the increasing disparity of financial outcomes. As she points out in this interview, and her chapter ‘Masters of the Code’, it is ‘critical to have lawyers in the room’, and they clearly have the lead role in her well-researched and nuanced thesis centered on the decentralized institution of private law. Professor Pistor builds on Rudden’s ‘feudal calculus’ providing the long view of legal systems in maintaining and creating wealth and draws on historical analogies including the enclosure movements as she interweaves her analysis of capital asset creation with a broader critique of professional and institutional agency. Polanyi and Piketty figure into Pistor’s analysis among many others, as does the help of the state’s coercive backing as she draws on the breadth of her own governance research and analysis of the collapsed socialist regimes in the 1990s, and a research pivot toward western market economies following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Professor Pistor is a comparative scholar with a keen interdisciplinary eye for the relationship between law, values, and markets, dovetailing larger concepts with detailed descriptions of the coding of ‘stocks, bonds, ideas, and even expectations—assets that exist only in law.’ All of which informs her inquiry into why some legal systems have been more accommodating to capital’s coding cravings and others less so, as she describes the process by which capital is created. She moves beyond legal realism’s less granular critiques, and as reviewers such as Samuel Moyn have suggested – this book ‘deserves to be the essential text of any movement today that concerns itself with law and political economy’. Katharina Pistor is the Edwin B. Parker Professor of Comparative Law, and the Director of the Center on Global Legal Transformation at Columbia Law School. Keith Krueger lectures at the SHU-UTS Business School in Shanghai. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

70 MINAPR 2
Comments
Katharina Pistor, "The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality" (Princeton UP, 2019)

Matt Cook, "Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy" (MIT Press, 2020)

Paradox is a sophisticated kind of magic trick. A magician's purpose is to create the appearance of impossibility, to pull a rabbit from an empty hat. Yet paradox doesn't require tangibles, like rabbits or hats. Paradox works in the abstract, with words and concepts and symbols, to create the illusion of contradiction. There are no contradictions in reality, but there can appear to be. In Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy (MIT Press, 2020), Matt Cook and a few collaborators dive deeply into more than 75 paradoxes in mathematics, physics, philosophy, and the social sciences. As each paradox is discussed and resolved, Cook helps readers discover the meaning of knowledge and the proper formation of concepts―and how reason can dispel the illusion of contradiction. The journey begins with “a most ingenious paradox” from Gilbert and Sullivan'sPirates of Penzance.Readers will then travel from Ancient Greece to cutting-edge laboratories, encounter infinity and its different sizes, and discover mathematical impossibilities inherent in elections. They will tackle conundrums in probability, induction, geometry, and game theory; perform “supertasks”; build apparent perpetual motion machines; meet twins living in different millennia; explore the strange quantum world―and much more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

54 MINMAR 30
Comments
Matt Cook, "Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy" (MIT Press, 2020)

Andrew Leigh, "Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Are Changing Our World" (Yale UP, 2018)

From the unending quest to turn metal into gold to the major discoveries that reveal how the universe works, experiments have always been a critical part of the hard sciences. In recent decades social scientists have started to catch up and the results are shifting the way we do nearly everything. Randomized control trials, called RCT’s, have a logic so simple that anyone can understand how they work and even run them themselves. It’s simple. You come up with an idea to get something to happen. You take a group of subjects and randomly split it in half. You try your idea on one group and leave the other group alone. The difference in outcomes will tell you if your idea works or not. In Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Are Changing Our World (Yale University Press, 2018), Andrew Leigh demonstrated the impact that social scientists are making with this powerful tool. From opportunity experiments to changing your socks, researchers are putting old ideas to the test and finding ou...

41 MINMAR 26
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Andrew Leigh, "Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Are Changing Our World" (Yale UP, 2018)

Ahmet T. Kuru, "Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment: A Global and Historical Comparison" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

Ahmet T. Kuru’s new book Islam, Authoritarianism and Underdevelopment, A Global and Historical Comparison (Cambridge University Press, 2019) is a ground-breaking history and analysis of the evolution of the state in Muslim countries. Thoroughly researched and accessibly written, Kuru’s work traces the template of the modern-day state in many Muslim-majority countries to fundamental political, social and economic changes in the 11th century. That was when Islamic scholars who until then had by and large refused to surrender their independence to the state were co-opted by Muslim rulers. It was a time when the merchant class lost its economic clout as the Muslim world moved from a mercantile to a feudal economy. Religious and other scholars were often themselves merchants or funded by merchants. The transition coincided with the rise of the military state legitimized by religious scholars who had little choice but to go into its employ. They helped the state develop a forced Sunni Muslim orthodoxy based on text rather than reason- or tradition based interpretation of Islam with the founding of madrassahs or religious seminaries that were designed to counter the rise of Shiite states in North Africa and counter less or unorthodox strands of the faith. Kuru’s history could hardly be more relevant. It lays bare the roots of modern-day, illiberal, authoritarian or autocratic states in the Muslim world that are characterized by some form of often rent-driven state capitalism and frequently expansionary in their effort to ensure regime survival and increase rents. These states feature education systems that fail to develop critical thinking and religious establishments that are subservient to their rulers. Kuru’s book also in effect describes one of the original sources of the civilizational state that has become a fixture in the struggle to shape a new world order. With his book, Kuru has made an invaluable contribution to the understanding of the stagnation as well as the turmoil that has swept the Middle East and North Africa as well as the wider Islamic world. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

61 MINMAR 25
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Ahmet T. Kuru, "Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment: A Global and Historical Comparison" (Cambridge UP, 2019)
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