Posts Tagged ‘Economics’

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 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…)

Book Review: Meltdown

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

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Woods, Thomas E., Jr. Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse. Regnery, 2009.

What happened to the economy and what are the necessary steps restore it are complex questions. Amazingly, Thomas Woods’ has the ability to answer these questions in simple laymen’s terms. He begins with the big picture of how the economy works and then provides the two main philosophies of regulating the economy. Only reading the newspapers and watching CNN, will lead you to believe that the diagnosis is greedy Wall Street employees and real estate financers, and the treatment is an artificial stimulus. This is the Keynesian school’s perspective which believes in the marriage of economics and politics.

According to Woods, this is incorrect on both accounts, and we are currently on the wrong course. Woods is the anti-Paul Krugman and from the Austrian school of economics which advocates the separation of money and state. (more…)

Book Review: Seven Days in the Art World

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

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Thornton, Sarah. Seven days in the art world. W. W. Norton, 2008.

The contemporary art world is characterized by six roles: artist, dealer, curator, critic, collector and auction-house expert. In this “symbolic economy,” creativity is commercialized and cultural worth is debated rather than determined by wealth. There is an overriding principle that nothing is more important than the art itself, yet there are contradictory hierarchies based on qualities such as fame, credibility, institutional affiliation, education and wealth.

Seven Days in the Art World describes this world through seven narratives set in six cities in five countries. Each chapter is a day-in-the-life account of the art world’s players and institutions. It begins with a Christie’s auction in New York. Among the people profiled is a Duke alumna who consigned 99 works from her parents’ collection of 600. (more…)

Inside the Meltdown

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Last night PBS aired a Frontline documentary on the cascade of financial catastrophe that begin with the rumors of Bear Stearns’ imminent failure and ended the passage of the $700 billion bailout plan. Producer/director Michael Kirk says, “How did it all go so bad so quickly? Who is responsible? How effective has the response from Washington and Wall Street been? Those are the questions at the heart of Inside the Meltdown“.

In addition to hosting the entire documentary for free on its web site, PBS also has additional interviews with Alan Greenberg, Paul Krugman, Sheila Bair, Martin Feldstein, and others.

Credit and Credibility

Monday, December 8th, 2008

A recent episode of PBS’ show NOW examined the role the credit ratings agencies had in the current economic crisis. You can watch this episode on the PBS web site. The site also has links to documents from their investigation as well as comments on the future of the free market from James K. Galbraith, David Rothkopf, and Robert A.G. Monks.

Summer Reading at Ford

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008


Even during summer break Ford Library keeps adding new books to our collection. Come check out our New Book and New Audiobook sections for even more great choices. (Click on any of the titles below to check availability or to place a hold.)

Fun Summer Reading:

Happiness, Health, and Work:


Book Review: Travels of a T-Shirt ….

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

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Rivoli, Pietra. Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An economist examines the markets, power and politics of world trade. Wiley, 2005

In 1979, when I worked at Ohio State, Honda built a factory in Marysville, Ohio. The economy in the Midwest was in shambles following the Arab oil embargo of the 70’s. Employment climbed to 10% and inflation was 12%. The mortgage on our first home was 13%, which looked like a bargain after rates climbed to 16%. Everyone we knew in Ohio tried to “buy American,” but after the Honda factory opened in Marysville, using unemployed (non-union) autoworkers, we began to wonder what it meant to buy American.

Twenty years later in 1999, an economist from Georgetown University’s school of business, watched a crowd of students on campus protest the evils of globalization — capitalism, corporations, the IMF and the WTO. A young woman grabbed the microphone and shouted to the crowd, “Who made your T-shirt?” Was it a child in India living in poverty for Nike’s profit? The economist began to wonder what it meant to be global, but unlike me a generation earlier, she traveled the world to investigate. Six years later, she published a book about the people, politics and markets that created her cotton T-shirt.

This is the story of globalization — the story of real people on three continents, woven together with economic and political lessons, that addresses the sometimes surprising winners and losers in the global economy. Using a simple product, the story shows that free markets aren’t always free, that victims are sometimes beneficiaries, and that nothing about globalization is simple. This book is both a good read and informative text, as well as a key resource for Fuqua’s Global Institute, August 2007.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business. All rights reserved.