Central Banks into the Breach
From Triumph to Crisis and the Road Ahead
Reviewer: Dame Kate Barker
Central banks play an important role in the course of national economies and the global economy. Their leaders are regularly feted or vilified, their policy pronouncements highly anticipated and routinely scrutinized. This is all the more so since the global financial crisis.
The past fifteen years in monetary policy is essentially the story of two mistakes and one triumph, argues Pierre L. Siklos, a professor of economics at Wilfrid Laurier University. One mistake was that central bankers underestimated the connection between finance and the real economy. The other was a failure to realize how inter-connected the world's financial system had become. The triumph, in turn, was the recognition that price stability is a desirable objective.
Rebuilding Macroeconomic Theory
Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Volume 34, Numbers 1‑2, Spring‑Summer 2018. ISSN 0266‑903X
Reviewer: Kevin Gardiner
In this paper the authors review the Rebuilding Macroeconomic Theory Project, in which they asked a number of leading macroeconomists to describe how the benchmark New Keynesian model might be rebuilt, in the wake of the 2008 crisis. The need to change macroeconomic theory is similar to the situation in the 1930s, at the time of the Great Depression, and in the 1970s, when inflationary pressures were unsustainable. Four main changes to the core model are recommended: to emphasize financial frictions, to place a limit on the operation of rational expectations, to include heterogeneous agents, and to devise more appropriate microfoundations. Achieving these objectives requires changes to all of the behavioural equations in the model governing consumption, investment, and price setting, and also the insertion of a wedge between the interest rate set by policy-makers and that facing consumers and investors. In the author's view, the result will not be a paradigm shift, but an evolution towards a more pluralist discipline.
What have we done? Why did it happen? How do we take back control?
Reviewer: Rosemary Connell
As with his previous bestsellers, WHO RUNS BRITAIN? and HOW DO WE FIX THIS MESS?, in Robert Peston's new book WTF he draws on his years of experience as a political, economics and business journalist to show us what has gone bad and gives us a manifesto to put at least some of it right.
Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st‑Century Economist
Reviewer: Ian Bright
In Doughnut Economics, Oxford academic Kate Raworth lays out the seven deadly mistakes of economics and offers a radical re-envisioning of the system that has brought us to the point of ruin. Moving beyond the myths of ‘rational economic man’ and unlimited growth, Doughnut Economics zeroes in on the sweet spot: a system that meets all our needs without exhausting the planet.
Machine, Platform, Crowd
Harnessing Our Digital Future
Reviewer: Ian Bright
We live in strange times. A machine plays the strategy game Go better than any human; upstarts like Apple and Google destroy industry stalwarts such as Nokia; ideas from the crowd are repeatedly more innovative than corporate research labs.
MIT’s Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson know what it takes to master this digital-powered shift: we must rethink the integration of minds and machines, of products and platforms, and of the core and the crowd. In all three cases, the balance now favors the second element of the pair, with massive implications for how we run our companies and live our lives.
How government insiders subvert the public interest
Reviewer: Rosemary Connell
National decline is typically blamed on special interests from the demand side of politics corrupting a country's institutions. The usual demand-side suspects include crony capitalists, consumer activists, economic elites, and labor unions. Less attention is given to government insiders on the supply side of politics - rulers, elected officials, bureaucrats, and public employees. In autocracies and democracies, government insiders have the motive, means, and opportunity to co-opt political power for their benefit and at the expense of national well-being. Many storied empires have succumbed to such inside jobs. Today, they imperil countries as different as China and the United States. Democracy - government by the people - does not ensure government for the people. Understanding how government insiders use their power to subvert the public interest - and how these negative consequences can be mitigated - is the topic of this book by Mark A Zupan.
The Promise and Perils of the Algorithm‑Driven Economy
Reviewer: Leath Al Obaidi
Shoppers with Internet access and a bargain-hunting impulse can find a universe of products at their fingertips. In this thought-provoking expose, Ariel Ezrachi and Maurice Stucke invite us to take a harder look at today's app-assisted paradise of digital shopping.
British imperialism and the making of colonial currency systems
Reviewer: William A Allen, NIESR
Covering the colonial Empire (including West Indies, India, Singapore, West Africa and East Africa), this book is a detailed revisionist history of the British imperial manipulations of colonial currency systems to facilitate the rise of sterling to world supremacy via the gold standard, and to slow its eventual decline after World War I. This book provides a new perspective on theories of imperialism, colonial money and colonial underdevelopment, with possible geostrategic historical lessons for the US dollar and emerging global currencies such as Chinese renminbi and the Euro.
Cents and Sensibility
What Economics can Learn from the Humanities
Reviewer: Richard Bronk, London School of Economics and Political Science
Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro trace the connection between Adam Smith's great classic, The Wealth of Nations, and his less celebrated book on The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and contend that a few decades later Jane Austen invented her groundbreaking method of novelistic narration in order to give life to the empathy that Smith believed essential to humanity. Cents and Sensibility demonstrates the benefits of a freewheeling dialogue between economics and the humanities by addressing a wide range of problems drawn from the economics of higher education, the economics of the family, and the development of poor nations.
President Trump, Inc.
How Big Business and Neoliberalism Empower Populism and the Far Right
Reviewer: Dr Rebecca Harding, CEO, Equant Analytics
With Trump in the White House, big business has direct power in government. Trump has stacked his cabinet with former employees of investment banks, big oil and international corporations. Now that big business has its representatives in the cabinet, it no longer needs to indulge in expensive lobbying. Under Trump, corporations control US policy. How and why did this happen and what does it mean for the bulk of the population?