Articles & Blogs, Category = Book reviews

Category: Book reviews

The Great Transformation — 75 Years Later

“Karl Polanyi’s masterpiece The Great Transformation was written during the Second World War and published in 1944, but the relevance and importance of this preeminent book has continued to grow. 75 year later, The Great Transformation — an admirable treatise debunking the false creed of economic determinism and market fundamentalism, and elaborating on their hazardous ramifications — remains fresh and enlightening, and it is indispensable for understanding the current phenomena of our turbulent time.”

The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics and the Future of Work

“In The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics and the Future of Work, Richard Baldwin provides a new analysis of how automation and globalisation could together shape our societies in the years to come. Drawing on numerous examples to keep readers engaged from cover to cover, this book is a tour de force, writes Wannaphong Durongkaveroj, discussing the past, present and future of globalisation and automation and their implications on the way we work.”

Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events

“In Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events, Robert J. Shiller argues for the significance of narrative when it comes to understanding the drivers of economic events, arguing that contagious narratives not only play a causal role in their unfolding but also that such events transform our narratives. The book raises important issues, writes David Tuckett, yet the notion that individuals ‘catch’ narratives that go viral risks obscuring the more fundamental sense in which narrative imaginaries and fictional expectations shape how economic agents plan their futures.”

How the Baby Boomers Stole the Millenials’ Economic Future

“In The Theft of a Decade: How the Baby Boomers Stole the Millennials’ Economic Future, Joseph C. Sternberg argues that the predicament facing Millennials today – including job precarity and difficulties entering the housing market – is not of their own doing, but rather the outcome of poor policy decisions taken by the Baby Boomer generation that have only been exacerbated by the 2008 financial crisis. Sternberg weaves a compelling and rich tapestry of historical context, political decision-making and economic examples to explain the Millennial experience and to appeal to the Baby Boomer generation to recognise the consequences of their mistakes, writes Sumaiya Rahman.”

Let Us Now Praise Corporate People

“The belief that corporations are people has, in some sense, always been a sham. Over the course of two centuries, a diverse group of lawyers and clients—as law professor Adam Winkler shows in his book We the Corporations—performed a slow-motion legal magic trick. Corporations like Citizens United and Hobby Lobby […] gradually worked to transform themselves: from fictitious legal entities, called into being by the state, into holders of individual rights, allowing them to claim constitutional protections against the very governments that created them. And if corporations are people—as law professor Kent Greenfield argues in Corporations Are People Too — then perhaps we can use that dubious status to force them to clean up their acts.”

Mean Girl: Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed

“In Mean Girl: Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed, Lisa Duggan offers a new thesis on the infamous literary, cultural and political icon, Ayn Rand, exploring how the adoption of many of her philosophical and political ideas and beliefs helped fuel the insidious shift towards neoliberalism. Duggan’s skills as a cultural historian and her sharp-witted socio-political commentary fuse seamlessly together in this short yet fascinating book that is a necessary read for students of culture and politics, as well as activists and organisers, writes Ellen Reid.”

“There is no alternative…”

“Capitalism has survived street protests and knowledgeable critiques alike. Never before, says Milanovic, has the same economic system shaped the entire world. Yet this is not The End of History and the Last Man revisited. Whereas Francis Fukuyama suggested that Western liberal democracy had triumphed, Milanovic is interested in the rifts within capitalism. Such tensions, he suggests, trace the larger political divides that shape our world.”

More info on the book reviewed: Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World (2019)

Whose Life?

“In This Life, Hägglund seeks nothing less than a fundamental transformation of the horizon we set ourselves and the social arrangements through which we seek to flourish. Two outstanding obstacles, according to Hägglund, frustrate the realization of this transformation. The first is religious faith. The second is capitalism. It is only by overcoming each that we can recognize the true importance, potential, and precarity of ‘this life’.”


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