Fortune Tellers: The Story of America’s First Economic Forecasters
Reviewer: Ian Harwood, Independent Consultant
The period leading up to the Great Depression witnessed the rise of the economic forecasters, pioneers who sought to use the tools of science to predict the future, with the aim of profiting from their forecasts. This book chronicles the lives and careers of the men who defined this first wave of economic fortune tellers, men such as Roger Babson, Irving Fisher, John Moody, C. J. Bullock, and Warren Persons. They competed to sell their distinctive methods of prediction to investors and businesses, and thrived in the boom years that followed World War I. Yet, almost to a man, they failed to predict the devastating crash of 1929.
Walter Friedman paints vivid portraits of entrepreneurs who shared a belief that the rational world of numbers and reason could tame—or at least foresee—the irrational gyrations of the market. Despite their failures, this first generation of economic forecasters helped to make the prediction of economic trends a central economic activity, and shed light on the mechanics of financial markets by providing a range of statistics and information about individual firms. They also raised questions that are still relevant today. What is science and what is merely guesswork in forecasting? What motivates people to buy forecasts? Does the act of forecasting set in motion unforeseen events that can counteract the forecast made?
Masterful and compelling, Fortune Tellers highlights the risk and uncertainty that are inherent to capitalism itself.
The Shifts and the Shocks
What we’ve learned - and have still to learn - from the financial crisis
Reviewer: Mark Cleary, Kinetic Economics
Chief Economics Commentator of the Financial Times Martin Wolf gives an insightful and timely analysis of why the financial crisis occurred, and of the radical reforms needed if we are to avoid a future repeat.
How Good Can We Be
Ending The Mercenary Society And Building A Great Country
Reviewer: Christine Shields, Shields Economics
Britain is beset by a crisis of purpose. For a generation we have been told the route to universal well-being is to abandon the expense of justice and equity and so allow the judgments of the market to go unobstructed. What has been created is not an innovative, productive economy but instead a capitalism that extracts value rather than creates it, massive inequality, shrinking opportunity and a society organised to benefit the top 1%. The capacity to create new jobs and start-ups should not disguise that in the main the new world is one of throw away people working in throw away companies. The British are at a loss.
Nine economic policy disasters and what we can learn from them
Reviewer: James Howatt, Capital Economics
In recent years, the world has been rocked by major economic crises. In Wrong, economist Richard Grossman addresses why these came about, shining a light on the poor thinking behind nine of the worst economic policy mistakes of the past 200 years, missteps whose outcomes ranged from appalling to tragic.
The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator
Reviewer: Adrian Woods, Eurekazone
The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator" provides a welcome challenge to conventional wisdom in social entrepreneurship. It highlights the personal stories of ten social innovators from around the world.
The Great Depression of the 1930s
Lessons for today
Reviewer: Bill Allen
This edited collection provides an authoritative introduction to the Great Depression as it affected the advanced countries in the 1930s
The Locust and the Bee
Predators and Creators in Capitalism’s Future
Reviewer: Rebecca Harding, Delta Economics
Geoff Mulgan argues in this compelling, imaginative, and important book, that the economic crisis also presents a historic opportunity to choose a radically different future for capitalism, one that maximizes its creative power and minimizes its destructive force.
Globalization and Development
Why East Asia Surged Ahead and Latin America Fell Behind
Reviewer: Mina Toksoz, Emerging Market and Country Risk Consultant
Why has there has been such a pronounced divergence in the economic fortune of developing countries? Comparing the experience of East Asia and Latin America since the mid-1970s, Elson identifies the key internal factors common to each region which have allowed East Asia to take advantage of the trade, financial, and technological impact of a more globalized economy to support its development, while Latin America has not.
A brief but affectionate history
Reviewer: Bill Allen
Looks at the history of the complex Gross Domestic Product statistic, from its precursors to its use today, giving insight into what it measures, how it has changed, and what its strengths and weaknesses are.
The Dollar Trap
How the U.S. Dollar Tightened Its Grip on Global Finance
Reviewer: Ian Harwood, Redburn
Looks at how the American dollar came to be of central importance in the world economy, and why it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future, due to a firmly established, dollar-centric international finance system.