Book Bits: Ten Important New Books

● Engine of Inequality: The Fed and the Future of Wealth in America
Karen Petrou
Interview with author via Marketplace.org
In the post-2008 financial crisis economy, the Federal Reserve has received plenty of criticism for its quantitative easing approach, cited as one factor behind widening economic inequality in the U.S.
Previous central bank chairs, past and present, have defended their policies and said their main goals do not necessarily include inequality reduction.
Karen Petrou, co-founder of Federal Financial Analytics, believes that the central bank not only contributed to the growing inequality among Americans, but also that it has the ability to reverse that inequality through targeted policies that stay within its mandates of maximum employment, price stability and long-term moderate interest rates.

 

● Morbid Symptoms: An Anatomy of a
World in Crisis
Donald Sassoon
Summary via publisher (Verso)
Sassoon paints an unforgettable picture of our galloping descent into political barbarism, mixing blunt exposé and classical references with an astonishing array of data. Why does the United States proportionately have more civilians owning guns than Yemen, where there is a war on? Why did the UK enter the pandemic with fewer doctors than any EU country except Poland and Romania? In Morbid Symptoms he refuses to abandon what Antonio Gramsci termed the optimism of the will, instead recalling a line from Machiavelli’s Istorie fiorentine: “do not impute past disorders to the nature of the men, but to the times, which, being changed, give reasonable ground to hope that, with better government, our city will have better fortune in the future.”

● Anthill Economics: Animal Ecosystems and the Human Economy
Nathanial Gronewold
Summary via publisher (Prometheus/Rowman & Littlefield)
Does modern economic theory violate the basic laws of nature and physics? That is the question that award-winning environmental and energy writer Nathanial Gronewold sets out to answer in Anthill Economics. Drawing from the nascent field of biophysical economics, Anthill Economics puts forth a radical new way of thinking: as 21st-century citizens, the global economy truly is our human ecosystem. It is where raw materials are sourced, goods are supplied, energy is converted, and capital is exchanged. Shouldn’t it stand to reason that the same principles that affect animal ecosystems (like population density, habitation patterns, and energy return on investment) similarly apply to our –albeit more complex –human ecosystem, too?

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Disclosures: None.

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