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Book Reviews from The Business Economist
The New Tycoons: Inside the Trillion Dollar Private Equity Industry that Owns Everything
By Jason Kelly, Bloomberg Press, 2012, 232 pages, £23.99. Companies owned by private equity (PE) firms employ 8.1m people in the US out of a workforce of 154m; the industry manages $2 trillion of assets, mainly on behalf of long-term investors like pension funds and endowments. And in the debt-fuelled ...
The Price of Inequality
Joseph Stiglitz, 2012, Allen Lane, 448 pages, £25. There is something rotten in the state of Denmark, or as Joseph Stiglitz puts it, America. Stiglitz tells us that 20% of Americans own 85% of America's wealth. This is, as he points out, not a happy state of affairs. This bo...
Affluence & Influence
Martin Gilens, 2012, Russell Sage Foundation / Princeton University Press, 248 pages, £24.95. Concluding her 1962 classic Economic Philosophy, Joan Robinson - having, in the preceding pages, said much that could throw useful light on many of the convulsions currently afflicting economics - write...
First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America's Prosperity
John B Taylor, 2012, W W Norton & Company, 235 pages, £17.99. This is a pre-election, pro-Republican polemic with a glowing recommendation from Congressman Ryan. So you should not be surprised by the content and its tone. However, you may well be disappointed, even saddened, by the argument. ...
Lost Causes - the Retreat from Classical Liberalism
Deepak Lal, 2012, Biteback, 288 pages, £14.99. This set of ten re-published essays, with introduction, is a bracing challenge to woolly left-inclined thought. The earliest essay, on universities, dates from 1989; the most recent, dealing with the financial crisis, was written in 2010. The overar...
Good Strategy; Bad Strategy: the Difference and why it Matters
Richard P Rumelt, 2012, Profile Books, 336 pages, £9.99. How do you steer a complex organisation to success in a complex world? According to Richard Rumelt the answer is breathtakingly simple: use good strategy and not bad strategy. While this may seem a statement of the blindingly obvious, we ignore the ...
How Do We Fix This Mess? The Economic Price of Having It All And The Route to Lasting Prosperity
Robert Peston and Laurence Knight, 2012, Hodder & Stoughton, 471 pages, £20. Robert Peston, the BBC's Business Editor, will be familiar to almost all readers of this journal - probably to almost everybody in the country - as his distinctive tones have guided us through the financial crisis. As he explain...
New Ideas on Development After The Financial Crisis
Nancy Birdsall and Francis Fukuyama (eds.), 2011, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 360 pages, £18. This book is simultaneously too early and too late. It is based on papers presented in April 2009, which was too soon after the 2008 financial crisis to have perspective on its impact...
What's the Use of Economics? Teaching the Dismal Science After the Crisis
Edited by Diane Coyle, London Publishing Partnership, 2012, 197 + xxii pages, £14.99. How much blame do economists deserve for the financial crisis that broke in 2007-8? Why was it foreseen by so few? Is the economics we teach at fault? How and where does what we teach need to be altered? Are ec...
… And the Pursuit of Happiness: Wellbeing and the Role of Government
Philip Booth (ed), Institute of Economic Affairs, 2012, 90 pages, £12.50 I have to declare an interest here. I run a company called Happy, I've written a book called The Happiness Manifesto and the main purpose of my business is helping to create happy workplaces. So I was always going to have doubts about t...
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