Progress and Confusion
The State of Macroeconomic Policy
Reviewer: Vicky Pryce, Former Joint Head of the Government Economic Service
What will economic policy look like once the global financial crisis is finally over? Will it resume the pre-crisis consensus, or will it be forced to contend with a post-crisis "new normal"? Have we made progress in addressing these issues, or does confusion remain? In April of 2015, the International Monetary Fund gathered leading economists, both academics and policymakers, to address the shape of future macroeconomic policy. This book is the result, with prominent figures – including Ben Bernanke, Lawrence Summers, and Paul Volcker – offering essays that address topics that range from the measurement of systemic risk to foreign exchange intervention.
Phishing for Phools: the economics of manipulation and deception
Reviewer: Dame Kate Barker, Chairman, Society of Business Economists
Ever since Adam Smith, the central teaching of economics has been that free markets provide us with material well-being, as if by an invisible hand. In Phishing for Phools, Nobel Prize-winning economists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller deliver a fundamental challenge to this insight, arguing that markets harm as well as help us. As long as there is profit to be made, sellers will systematically exploit our psychological weaknesses and our ignorance through manipulation and deception. Rather than being essentially benign and always creating the greater good, markets are inherently filled with tricks and traps and will "phish" us as "phools."
The Courage to Act
Reviewer: Ian Harwood, Independent Consultant
In 2006, Ben S. Bernanke was appointed chair of the Federal Reserve, capping a meteoric trajectory from a rural South Carolina childhood to professorships at Stanford and Princeton, to public service in Washington's halls of power. There would be no time to celebrate, however-the burst of the housing bubble in 2007 set off a domino effect that would bring the global financial system to the brink of meltdown. In The Courage to Act, Ben Bernanke pulls back the curtain on the tireless and ultimately successful efforts to prevent a mass economic failure.
Between Debt and the Devil: Money, Credit and Fixing Global Finance
Reviewer: Ian Mulheirn, Director of Consulting, Oxford Economics
Adair Turner became chairman of Britain’s Financial Services Authority just as the global financial crisis struck in 2008, and he played a leading role in redesigning global financial regulation. In this eye-opening book, he sets the record straight about what really caused the crisis. It didn’t happen because banks are too big to fail—our addiction to private debt is to blame.
The Silo Effect
Reviewer: Bronwyn Curtis OBE
In The Silo Effect, Gillian Tett uses an anthropological lens to explore how individuals, teams and whole organisations often work in silos of thought, process and product. With examples drawn from a range of fascinating areas - the New York Fire Department and Facebook to the Bank of England and Sony - these narratives illustrate not just how foolishly people can behave when they are mastered by silos but also how the brightest institutions and individuals can master them.
The Evolution of Everything
Reviewer: Bridget Rosewell, Volterra Partners
The New York Times bestselling author of The Rational Optimist and Genome returns with a fascinating argument for evolution that definitively dispels a dangerous, widespread myth: that we can command and control our world. Human society evolves. Change in technology, language, morality, and society is incremental, inexorable, gradual, and spontaneous.
The Price of Oil
Reviewer: David Humphreys, Principal, Daiecon Advisors
Drawing on their extensive knowledge of the oil industry, Roberto F. Aguilera and Marian Radetzki provide an in-depth examination of the price of the world's most important commodity. They argue that although oil has experienced an extraordinary price increase over the past few decades, we have now reached a turning point where scarcity, uncertain supply and high prices will be replaced by abundance, undisturbed availability and suppressed price levels.
How the Internet Became Commercial
Reviewer: Mark Cleary, Kinetic Economics
In less than a decade, the Internet went from being a series of loosely connected networks used by universities and the military to the powerful commercial engine it is today. This book describes how many of the key innovations that made this possible came from entrepreneurs and iconoclasts who were outside the mainstream–and how the commercialization of the Internet was by no means a foregone conclusion at its outset.
Guide to Country Risk
Reviewer: Mary Davies, Director, EEconomic Policy Associates
Country risk explains the things that can go wrong when business is conducted across borders.
The Remaking of the Mining Industry
Reviewer: Dr Diane Coyle OBE, Director, Enlightenment Economics
The industrialisation of China prompted the biggest commodity boom of modern times. Soaring prices gave rise to talk of a commodity super cycle and induced a wave of resource nationalism. The author, who was chief economist at two of the world's largest mining companies, describes how this resulted in a transformation of the global mining industry.