The Price of Civilization – Economics and Ethics After the Fall

The Price of Civilization – Economics and Ethics After the Fall Jeffrey Sachs, Random House, 2011   Sachs says, “Much of this book is about the social responsibility of the rich” and about society’s shared values and the need to plan ahead to achieve common goals. The book is also a diagnosis of the failure of the American economy to achieve society’s common goals since the 1970’s and makes recommendations

Winner Take All, China’s Race for Resources

Winner Take All, China’s Race for Resources and What It Means for the Rest of the World Dambisa Moyo, Harper Collins, 2002 This book is about supply and demand. Commodities, specifically arable land, water, energy and minerals are in demand as the global population grows and gets wealthier. More people living in cities and with middle class expectations means increased demand for goods and services – everywhere. One of these

How the West Was Lost, Fifty Years of Economic Folly – And the Stark Choices Ahead

How the West Was Lost, Fifty Years of Economic Folly – And the Stark Choices Ahead; Dambisa Moyo   “once an idea is out it can be used and improved upon by anyone, anywhere, an idea has a marginal cost of zero”   This quote is referring to the spinoffs from the magnificent technology that enabled the Apollo moon landing in July 1969. I was a vagabond watching it on

India; The Road Ahead

India; The Road Ahead, Mark Tully, Random House, 2011   Reviewed by Graham Mulligan   The author was born in India and worked as the BBC Bureau Chief for twenty-two years. This book examines a number of themes ranging form politics, caste, religion, culture, business, history and tigers. Each chapter begins with a short essay introduction to a theme, setting a context for the personal stories that follow, as Tully

Endgame

Endgame; The End of the Debt Supercycle and How it Changes Everything John Mauldin and Jonathan Tepper   Reviewed by Graham Mulligan   In the introductory essay the authors sum up the problem, quoting Wimpie from the Popeye cartoon, “I will gladly repay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” and Jean Mannet, “People only accept change in necessity and see necessity only in crisis”. The debt supercycle started more than

Dead Aid

Dead Aid; Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is A Better Way For Africa, Dambisa Moyo, 2009 Africa is going through an economic revival based on the surge in commodity prices and a more open attitude to market-based growth accompanied by more predictable (stable) political environments. Yet, Africa still seems dysfunctional, not quite getting its foot on the economic ladder. Moyo sees aid as the reason, not the

China 2.0

China 2.0   Reviewed by Graham Mulligan   Marina Yue Zhang with Bruce Stemming, Wiley, 2010   The opening chapter builds on the metaphor of ‘Internet 2.0’ as a way of understanding the new China. Just as Internet 1.0 was ‘read only’ and shifted to ‘interactive and participatory’ as Internet 2.0, so China has gone from one phase to something much more interactive. The authors develop the argument that Western

The Mystery of Capital

The Mystery of Capital, Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else Hermando DeSoto, Basic Books, 2000 Reviewed by Graham Mulligan Capital is an abstract concept representing the potential to create something else. DeSoto and his team examined developing and former communist countries to try and understand why capitalism doesn’t have more than foothold there. In each of these countries there is economic activity and urban expansion but

When China Rules the World

When China Rules the World; The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World Martin Jacques; Penguin Books, 2009 Summary by Graham Mulligan Martin Jacques writes from a scholarly perspective, and has a solid background that gives substance to his voice. His website description says ‘He is a visiting senior fellow at the London School of Economics, IDEAS, a centre for the study of international affairs,

The End of Growth

The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality Richard Heinberg, New Society Publishers, 2011 Reviewed by Graham Mulligan This is a ‘living book’ updated at EndOfGrowth.com Heinberg is a Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute and leading educator on Peak  Oil. The book presents the reader with an economic argument, beginning with a brief review of how economies have evolved through history. The significant point here is