By investigating how these myths arose, why they gained traction, how to know they’re wrong, and what damage they’ve done, Jeff Madrick demands that we rethink what we imagine we know about economics, and suggests that we can prevent or, failing that, effectively solve the next Great Recession by tossing the old, bad ideas out and adopting an updated understanding of the dynamics involved in a prosperous, equitable, sustainable economy. It may take a lot to get policymakers, media, and the world to question and reject the proclamations of MIT and Harvard economists, but Madrick’s book hopes to contribute to that effort.
|By: Jesse Myerson Saturday November 29, 2014 1:59 pm|
|By: Elliott Saturday November 29, 2014 9:00 am|
Since the financial turmoil of the 1970s made stagnating wages and relatively high unemployment the norm, Jeff Madrick argues, many leading economists have retrenched to the classical (and outdated) bulwarks of theory, drawing their ideas more from purist principles than from the real-world behavior of governments and markets—while, ironically, deeply affecting those governments and markets by their counsel.
Madrick atomizes seven of the greatest false idols of modern economic theory, illustrating how these ideas have been damaging markets, infrastructure, and individual livelihoods for years, causing hundreds of billions of dollars of wasted investment, financial crisis after financial crisis, poor and unequal public education, primitive public transportation, gross inequality of income and wealth and stagnating wages, and uncontrolled military spending.
|By: Will Potter Sunday November 23, 2014 1:59 pm|
Gus Speth’s Angels by the River is not an autobiography or traditional memoir, it’s a series of reflections on the life of one of the nation’s most influential environmental activists, selectively chosen for how they relate to our current and future struggles. As we confront an environmental crisis that is growing increasingly dire, we have to turn to our past failures and successes before we proceed.
|By: Elliott Sunday November 23, 2014 8:35 am|
In Angels by the River, James Gustave “Gus” Speth recounts his unlikely path from a southern boyhood through his years as one of the nation’s most influential mainstream environmentalists and eventually to the system-changing activism that shapes his current work.
|By: Tim Shorrock Saturday November 22, 2014 1:59 pm|
From his opening story about the vast shipments of cash to Iraq in the early days of the U.S. invasion to his final chapter on the U.S. government’s attacks on Diane Rourk and the four NSA whistleblowers, James Risen paints a brilliant but tragic portrait of a country gone mad with power and greed during the 12 years of the Bush-Obama “war on terror.”
His stories are culled from many years of deep reporting, including his explosive revelations in 2005 of the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program. They provide startling new evidence of how the post-9/11 atmosphere of fear and government intimidation allowed an entire generation of American officials, intelligence officers, contractors, psychologists and propagandists to defy U.S. and international law and turn the United States into a global ethical pariah.
|By: Elliott Saturday November 22, 2014 8:40 am|
Ever since 9/11 America has fought an endless war on terror, seeking enemies everywhere and never promising peace. In Pay Any Price, James Risen reveals an extraordinary litany of the hidden costs of that war: from squandered and stolen dollars, to outrageous abuses of power, to wars on normalcy, decency, and truth. In the name of fighting terrorism, our government has done things every bit as shameful as its historic wartime abuses — and until this book, it has worked very hard to cover them up.
|By: Matt Stoller Sunday November 16, 2014 1:59 pm|
“In 2010, one of the most consequential Court decisions in American political history gave wealthy corporations the right to spend unlimited money to influence elections. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion treated corruption as nothing more than explicit bribery, a narrow conception later echoed by Chief Justice Roberts in deciding McCutcheon v. FEC in 2014. With unlimited spending transforming American politics for the worse, warns Zephyr Teachout, Citizens United and McCutcheon were not just bad law but bad history. If the American experiment in self-government is to have a future, then we must revive the traditional meaning of corruption and embrace an old ideal.”
|By: Elliott Sunday November 16, 2014 10:00 am|
For two centuries the framers’ ideas about corruption flourished in the courts, even in the absence of clear rules governing voters, civil officers, and elected officials. Should a law that was passed by a state legislature be overturned because half of its members were bribed? What kinds of lobbying activity were corrupt, and what kinds were legal? When does an implicit promise count as bribery? In the 1970s the U.S. Supreme Court began to narrow the definition of corruption, and the meaning has since changed dramatically. No case makes that clearer than Citizens United.
|By: Matt Farwell Saturday November 15, 2014 1:59 pm|
EDITORS NOTE: This Book Salon will be rescheduled. Apologies for the interruption.
Michael Hastings’ The Last Magazine, is a scathing satire and indictment of the way the New York / DC big media world works. When I first read it, in an all-nighter months after his death, it was an amazing surprise: he was gone but his voice was still out there, and for a good 80,000 words completely new and fresh. Anyone halfway familiar with the New York / DC news and media apparatus will recognize the characters behind the characters. Hopefully the way they’re portrayed is as disturbing to you as it was to me—as essentially out-of-touch, solipsistic, preening weenies, who for some reason we keep listening to on TV & Radio and reading in print.
|By: Elliott Saturday November 15, 2014 9:55 am|
“The Last Magazine is the debut novel from Michael Hastings, discovered in his files after his untimely death in June 2013. Informed by his own journalistic experiences, it is wickedly funny, sharp, and fast-paced: a great book about print journalism’s last glory days, and a compelling first novel from one of America’s most treasured reporters.”