Archive for October, 2009

Book Review: Can Capitalism Survive?

Monday, October 26th, 2009

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Schumpeter, Joseph A. Can capitalism survive? : creative destruction and the future of the global economy. Harper Perennial, 2009.

A role of economists is to provide economic analysis of recessions such as the current one created by the financial crisis and provide strategies for restoring economic growth and prosperity.

Leading up to the current recession, The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates to make housing more affordable, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac developed a federal program enabling people to qualify for homes that ordinarily would not.

Subsequently, people purchased homes they could not afford and some lost their jobs due to the recession. Wall Street banks invested too heavily in risky loans rather than diversifying, accumulating toxic assets leading to tremendous losses.

Hayek goes as far to say that central banking destabilizes the economy. In the recent recession, government intervention led to inflation, over building, a housing bubble, and then economic indicators became unrealistic.

In addition to the destabilized housing market, the financial crisis had a ripple effect on travel, retail, the automobile and oil industries, and led to significant number of lost jobs.

Can Capitalism Survive? is excerpted from Joseph Schumpeter’s 1942 classic Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. This is where he proposed business cycles are caused by technological innovation, referred to as creative destruction. In Capitalist economies, markets eliminate obsolete technologies and utilize innovations to create new avenues for economic growth. (more…)

Book Reviews: Sustainable Investing

Monday, October 19th, 2009

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Kiernan, Matthew J. Investing in a sustainable world : why GREEN is the new color of money on Wall Street. Wiley, 2009.

Krosinsky, Cary and Nick Robins, eds. Sustainable investing : the art of long-term performance. Earthscan, 2008.

Traditionally, ethical and socially responsible investing has been driven by personal values. While this approach has been successful in some sectors in the U.S. and the U.K., the mainstream institutional marketplace has been out of reach. But now, research by Innovest Strategic Value Advisors shows that companies with superior positioning on sustainability issues achieved superior financial returns. Two new books discuss how both Wall Street and Main Street are now interested in investing in ethical, social and green companies to attain long term financial performance.

In Investing in a Sustainable World, Innovest founder and CEO Matthew J. Kiernan makes the business case for integrating environmental and social considerations into investment decisions. He presents conceptual and practical tools to help investors realize environmental, social and financial objectives at the same time. (more…)

SRDS Media Solutions Database Maintenance

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Two component publications in the SRDS Media Solutions database platform will be unavailable this weekend during scheduled upgrade maintenance.

From 5:00 PM EST, Friday October 16th, until 1:00 AM EST, Monday, October 19th, the Business Publication Advertising Source, and the Consumer Magazine Advertising Source will be offline and unavailable.

SRDS is upgrading and re-naming these component publications during this downtime.  Please email us if you experience any difficulty accessing other publications within the SRDS Media Solutions database.

New Movies for October

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Note that the U.S. National Parks documentary listed below is Ken Burns’ latest film.

Away We Go
Fast and Furious
Little Dorrit
Monsters vs. Aliens
My Life in Ruins
The National Parks : America’s Best Idea

Our Daily Bread
Rosemary’s Baby
Sleep Dealer
The Thief Lord
Trick ‘r Treat
Wallace & Gromit : A Matter of Loaf and Death
X-Men Origins. Wolverine Temporarily Unavailable

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

UPDATED: 10/15/09 – Access has been restored! The London office that manages made some web site updates overnight that “broke” authenticated access to many site pages and to the Economist Magazine for their academic customers. Thanks for your patience during the outage.

Duke University Libraries access to text + graphics issues of the Economist Magazine via is temporarily unavailable.

Duke users who attempt to access the Economist Magazine via from our Economist Publications home page, and from the Library catalog are being erroneously prompted to login by

We have contacted EIU concerning this issue and are awaiting their response. In the meantime, the current, full text (no graphics) of The Economist Magazine is still available from our Economist Publications home page, and in the ABI-Inform Complete database.

Thanks for your patience while we work with EIU to resolve this issue.

Book Review: Poorly Made in China

Monday, October 12th, 2009

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Midler, Paul. Poorly made in China : an insider’s account of the tactics behind China’s production game. Wiley, 2009.

Paul Midler could be said to be biting the hand that feeds him. After all, he has built a lucrative career as a China-based manufacturing consultant, using his expert knowledge and insight into Chinese history, language, and culture. And yet, he has penned a work that, while frank in its admiration for many Chinese cultural idiosyncrasies, is also sharply critical of both the questionable ethical basis on which the Chinese have built their gargantuan export economy, and the impatience and greed of American businesses in rushing to embrace the perceived advantages of having their product lines manufactured in China.

In the 240 smoothly written and eminently readable pages of Poorly Made In China, Mr. Midler recounts his daily experiences in creating and managing relationships between Chinese factory owners and American importers, giving us example after example of why the Chinese, in his opinion, win at every hand dealt at the negotiating table of price and quality. Thus the importer and the U.S. consumer often have a good chance of ending up with a product that either degrades in quality over time or increases in cost without benefit to the consumer, or both.


Library Database Room Unavailable Friday Morning

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

The library staff has a training session in the database room Friday October 9 from 9 am to 10 am.

Book Review: Economics Does Not Lie

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

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Sorman, Guy. Economics does not lie : a defense of the free market in a time of crisis. Encounter Books, 2009.

Curiously, the Nobel Committee has awarded prizes to economists with theories supporting contradictory approaches for understanding and managing national economies ranging from Keynesian to free market. Guy Sorman’s Economics Does Not Lie gives a unique perspective to why this enigmatic phenomenon has occurred.

Traditionally, economics is thought of as a social science. Sorman argues economics has become more of a science with the aid of algorithms, mathematical models, and computers to interpret data. Subsequently, these tools for improving models for economic policy analysis should prove one approach is correct, and provide guidance during recessions. If economics is a science, it teaches us that markets provide the most efficient economy according to Sorman. Despite the America’s current economic problems, our land of opportunity still provides a standard of living envied throughout the world. (more…)