Are Thomas Piketty’s analyses of inequality on target? Where should researchers go from here in exploring the ideas he pushed to the forefront of global conversation? In After Piketty, a cast of economists and other social scientists tackle these questions in dialogue with Piketty, in what is sure to be a much-debated book in its own right.
In a very short time America has realized that global warming poses real challenges to the nation's future. The Agile City engages the fundamental question: what to do about it?
Journalist and urban analyst James S. Russell argues that we'll more quickly slow global warming-and blunt its effects-by retrofitting cities, suburbs, and towns. The Agile City shows that change undertaken at the building and community level can reach carbon-reduction goals rapidly.
Adapting buildings (39 percent of greenhouse-gas emission) and communities (slashing the 33 percent of transportation related emissions) offers numerous other benefits that tax gimmicks and massive alternative-energy investments can't match.
Rapidly improving building techniques can readily cut carbon emissions by half, and some can get to zero. These cuts can be affordably achieved in the windshield-shattering heat of the desert and the bone-chilling cold of the north. Intelligently designing our towns could reduce marathon commutes and child chauffeuring to a few miles or eliminate it entirely. Agility, Russell argues, also means learning to adapt to the effects of climate change, which means redesigning the obsolete ways real estate is financed; housing subsidies are distributed; transportation is provided; and water is obtained, distributed and disposed of. These engines of growth have become increasingly more dysfunctional both economically and environmentally.
The Agile City highlights tactics that create multiplier effects, which means that ecologically driven change can shore-up economic opportunity, can make more productive workplaces, and can help revive neglected communities. Being able to look at multiple effects and multiple benefits of political choices and private investments is essential to assuring wealth and well-being in the future. Green, Russell writes, grows the future.
America's Inequality Trap
Nathan J. Kelly University of Chicago Press, 2020 Library of Congress HC110.I5K45 2019 | Dewey Decimal 339.220973
The gap between the rich and the poor has grown dramatically in the United States and is now at its widest since at least the early 1900s. While by most measures the economy has been improving, soaring cost of living and stagnant wages have done little to assuage economic anxieties. Conditions like these seem designed to produce a generation-defining intervention to balance the economic scales and enhance opportunities for those at the middle and bottom of the country’s economic ladder—but we have seen nothing of the sort.
Nathan J. Kelly argues that a key reason for this is that rising concentrations of wealth create a politics that makes reducing economic inequality more difficult. Kelly convincingly shows that, when a small fraction of the people control most of the economic resources, they also hold a disproportionate amount of political power, hurtling us toward a self-perpetuating plutocracy, or an “inequality trap.” Among other things, the rich support a broad political campaign that convinces voters that policies to reduce inequality are unwise and not in the average voter’s interest, regardless of the real economic impact. They also take advantage of interest groups they generously support to influence Congress and the president, as well as state governments, in ways that stop or slow down reform. One of the key implications of this book is that social policies designed to combat inequality should work hand-in-hand with political reforms that enhance democratic governance and efforts to fight racism, and a coordinated effort on all of these fronts will be needed to reverse the decades-long trend.
The World Bank and other multilateral development banks (MDBs) carry out their mission to alleviate poverty and promote economic growth based on the advice of professional economists. But as Sarah Babb argues in Behind the Development Banks, these organizations have also been indelibly shaped by Washington politics—particularly by the legislative branch and its power of the purse.
Tracing American influence on MDBs over three decades, this volume assesses increased congressional activism and the perpetual “selling” of banks to Congress by the executive branch. Babb contends that congressional reluctance to fund the MDBs has enhanced the influence of the United States on them by making credible America’s threat to abandon the banks if its policy preferences are not followed. At a time when the United States’ role in world affairs is being closely scrutinized, Behind the Development Banks will be necessary reading for anyone interested in how American politics helps determine the fate of developing countries.
Billionaires and Stealth Politics
Benjamin I. Page, Jason Seawright, and Matthew J. Lacombe University of Chicago Press, 2018 Library of Congress HC79.W4.P34 2018 | Dewey Decimal 320.97308621
In 2016, when millions of Americans voted for Donald Trump, many believed his claims that personal wealth would free him from wealthy donors and allow him to “drain the swamp.” But then Trump appointed several billionaires and multimillionaires to high-level positions and pursued billionaire-friendly policies, such as cutting corporate income taxes. Why the change from his fiery campaign rhetoric and promises to the working class? This should not be surprising, argue Benjamin I. Page, Jason Seawright, and Matthew J. Lacombe: As the gap between the wealthiest and the rest of us has widened, the few who hold one billion dollars or more in net worth have begun to play a more and more active part in politics—with serious consequences for democracy in the United States.
Page, Seawright, and Lacombe argue that while political contributions offer a window onto billionaires’ influence, especially on economic policy, they do not present a full picture of policy preferences and political actions. That is because on some of the most important issues, including taxation, immigration, and Social Security, billionaires have chosen to engage in “stealth politics.” They try hard to influence public policy, making large contributions to political parties and policy-focused causes, leading policy-advocacy organizations, holding political fundraisers, and bundling others’ contributions—all while rarely talking about public policy to the media. This means that their influence is not only unequal but also largely unaccountable to and unchallengeable by the American people. Stealth politics makes it difficult for ordinary citizens to know what billionaires are doing or mobilize against it. The book closes with remedies citizens can pursue if they wish to make wealthy Americans more politically accountable, such as public financing of political campaigns and easier voting procedures, and notes the broader types of reforms, such as a more progressive income tax system, that would be needed to increase political equality and reinvigorate majoritarian democracy in the United States.
Property ownership has been a traditional means for African Americans
to gain recognition and enter the mainstream of American life. This landmark
study documents this significant, but often overlooked, aspect of the
black experience from the late eighteenth century to World War I.
The main driver of inequality--returns on capital that exceed the rate of economic growth--is again threatening to generate extreme discontent and undermine democratic values. Thomas Piketty's findings in this ambitious, original, rigorous work will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.
How do the one percent keep getting richer despite financial crises and the myriad of taxes on income, capital gains, and inheritance? Brooke Harrington interviewed professionals who specialize in protecting the fortunes of the world’s richest people: wealth managers. To gain access to their tactics and mentality, she trained to become one of them.
Understanding wealth—who has it, how they acquired it, how they preserve it—is crucial to addressing challenges facing the United States. Edward Wolff’s account of patterns in the accumulation and distribution of U.S. wealth since 1900 provides a sober bedrock of facts and analysis. It will become an indispensable resource for future public debate.
A thought-provoking investigation of an urgent issue facing American communities today, Edward C. Lorenz’s book examines the intersection of corporate irresponsibility and civic engagement. At the heart of this case study is a group of firms responsible for seven of the most contaminated Superfund sites in the United States, the largest food contamination accident in U.S. history, stunning stock and financial manipulations, and a massive shift of jobs off shore. In the face of these egregious environmental, employee, and investor abuses, several communities impacted by these firms organized to confront and combat failures in corporate and bureaucratic leadership, winning notable victories over major financiers, lobbyists, and indifferent or ineffective government agencies. A critical analysis of public and private leadership, business and economic ethics, and civic life, this book concludes with a stirring blueprint for other communities facing similarly overwhelming opposition.
In 1863 black communities owned less than 1 percent of total U.S. wealth. Today that number has barely budged. Mehrsa Baradaran pursues this wealth gap by focusing on black banks. She challenges the myth that black banking is the solution to the racial wealth gap and argues that black communities can never accumulate wealth in a segregated economy.
Derivatives were responsible for one of the worst financial meltdowns in history, one from which we have not yet fully recovered. However, they are likewise capable of generating some of the most incredible wealth we have ever seen. This book asks how we might ensure the latter while avoiding the former. Looking past the usual arguments for the regulation or abolition of derivative finance, it asks a more probing question: what kinds of social institutions and policies would we need to put in place to both avail ourselves of the derivative’s wealth production and make sure that production benefits all of us?
To answer that question, the contributors to this book draw upon their deep backgrounds in finance, social science, art, and the humanities to create a new way of understanding derivative finance that does justice to its social and cultural dimensions. They offer a two-pronged analysis. First, they develop a social understanding of the derivative that casts it in the light of anthropological concepts such as the gift, ritual, play, dividuality, and performativity. Second, they develop a derivative understanding of the social, using financial concepts such as risk, hedging, optionality, and arbitrage to uncover new dimensions of contemporary social reality. In doing so, they construct a necessary, renewed vision of derivative finance as a deeply embedded aspect not just of our economics but our culture.
Lee Soltow examines wealth and income in the United States during the Federal period, at a time when state constitutions were formed, national tax laws written, and policies for banking, credit, and debt first formulated. Soltow bases his study on the national census of 1798, which catalogued nearly every piece of property in the United States -land, dwellings, mills, and wharfs-in order to levy the First Direct Tax. He complements this with information from the 1790 and 1800 United States censuses, and with data gathered fifty years before and after this time, to offer an exhaustive survey of the distribution of wealth in early America. He then compares these findings to conditions in Europe during the same period, and discovers that, while wealth in America was not evenly dispersed, it was far more equal than European nations.
Now in paperback, this challenging and provocative book strips the veneer from the financial advice of some popular evangelical media celebrities and advocates a reintegrating of faith and finances.
Faithful Finances 101 is a first-person narrative by outspoken advocate of faith-based investing. A senior vice president of investments at Paine Webber before founding his own investment firm as "counsel to ethical and spiritual investors," Gary Moore warns that much of the economic advice emanating from some popular and influential evangelical authors and speakers is based on scare tactics and distortions of what the Bible has to say about finances. He draws on fifty years of studying the Bible, politics, and economics, and presents insights for those who want to be faithful in their finances—to use 100 percent of the time, talent, and treasure with which they have been entrusted for the glory of God as well as for the benefit of others and themselves, and not just give 10 percent of their incomes to the church.
"Many financial gurus are ignorant of spiritual matters. Many spiritual leaders are ignorant of financial matters. In a rare blend, Gary Moore brings together proven financial expertise with mature spiritual insights. This book is a must read for those who care about managing their finances faithfully." —David W. Miller, PhD, Yale Center for Faith and Culture, Yale Divinity School
"The book is hard-hitting, thought-provoking, and intellectually challenging, offering a Christian view of macroeconomics rather than a mere how-to guide for personal finance." —Publishers Weekly
Farewell to Prosperity is a provocative, in-depth study of the Liberal and Conservative forces that fought each other to shape American political culture and character during the nation’s most prosperous years. The tome’s central theme is the bitter struggle to fashion post–World War II society between a historic Protestant Ethic that equated free-market economics and money-making with Godliness and a new, secular Liberal temperament that emerged from the twin ordeals of depression and world war to stress social justice and security.
Liberal policies and programs after 1945 proved key to the creation of mass affluence while encouraging disadvantaged racial, ethnic, and social groups to seek equal access to power. But liberalism proved a zero-sum game to millions of others who felt their sense of place and self progressively unhinged. Where it did not overturn traditional social relationships and assumptions, liberalism threatened and, in the late sixties and early seventies, fostered new forces of expression at radical odds with the mindset and customs that had previously defined the nation without much question.
When the forces of liberalism overreached, the Protestant Ethic and its millions of estranged religious and economic proponents staged a massive comeback under the aegis of Ronald Reagan and a revived Republican Party. The financial hubris, miscalculations, and follies that followed ultimately created a conservative overreach from which the nation is still recovering. Post–World War II America was thus marked by what writer Salman Rushdie labeled in another context “thin-skinned years of rage-defined identity politics.” This “politics” and its meaning form the core of the narrative.
Farewell to Prosperity is no partisan screed enlisting recent history to support one side or another. Although absurdity abounds, it knows no home, affecting Conservative and Liberal actors and thinkers alike.
This volume contains papers presented at a conference in May 1988 in Washington, D.C., commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Conference on Research in Income and Wealth (CRIW). The call for papers emphasized assessments of broad topics in economic measurement, both conceptual and pragmatic. The organizers desired (and succeeded in obtaining) a mix of papers that, first, illustrate the range of measurement issues that economics as a science must confront and, second, mark major milestones of CRIW accomplishment. The papers concern prices and output (Griliches, Pieper, Triplett) and also the major productive inputs, capital (Hulten) and labor (Hamermesh). Measures of saving, the source of capital accumulation, are covered in one paper (Boskin); measuring productivity, the source of much of the growth in per capita income, is reviewed in another (Jorgenson). The use of economic data in economic policy analysis and in regulation are illustrated in a review of measures of tax burden (Atrostic and Nunns) and in an analysis of the data needed for environmental regulation (Russell and Smith); the adequacy of data for policy analysis is evaluated in a roundtable discussion (chapter 12) involving four distinguished policy analysts with extensive government experience in Washington and Ottawa.
We live in a material world—our homes are filled with things, from electronics to curios and hand-me-downs, that disclose as much about us and our aspirations as they do about current trends. But we are not the first: the early modern period was a time of expanding consumption, when objects began to play an important role in defining gender as well as social status. Gusto for Things reconstructs the material lives of seventeenth-century Romans, exploring new ways of thinking about the meaning of things as a historical phenomenon.
Through creative use of account books, inventories, wills, and other records, Renata Ago examines early modern attitudes toward possessions, asking what people did with their things, why they wrote about them, and how they passed objects on to their heirs. While some inhabitants of Rome were connoisseurs of the paintings, books, and curiosities that made the city famous, Ago shows that men and women of lesser means also filled their homes with a more modest array of goods. She also discovers the genealogies of certain categories of things—for instance, books went from being classed as luxury goods to a category all their own—and considers what that reveals about the early modern era. An animated investigation into the relationship between people and the things they buy, Gusto for Things paints an illuminating portrait of the meaning of objects in preindustrial Europe.
What is considered a good life in contemporary societies? Can we measure well-being and happiness? Reflecting a global interest on the topics of well-being, happiness, and the good life in the face of the multiple failures of millennial capitalism, Images of Public Wealth or the Anatomy of Well-Being in Indigenous Amazonia deliberately appropriates a concept developed by classical economists to understand wealth accumulation in capitalist societies in order to denaturalize it and assess its applicability in non-capitalist kin-based societies.
Mindful of the widespread discontent generated by the ongoing economic crisis in postindustrial societies as well as the renewed attempts by social scientists to measure more effectively what we consider to be “development” and “economic success,” the contributors to this volume contend that the study of public wealth in indigenous Amazonia provides not only an exceptional opportunity to apprehend native notions of wealth, poverty, and the good life, but also to engage in a critical revision of capitalist constructions of living well.
Through ethnographic analysis and thought-provoking new approaches to contemporary and historical cases, the book’s contributors reveal how indigenous views of wealth—based on the abundance of intangibles such as vitality, good health, biopower, and convivial relations—are linked to the creation of strong, productive, and moral individuals and collectivities, differing substantially from those in capitalist societies more inclined toward the avid accumulation and consumption of material goods.
In a serious effort to divine the secret of the West's success in achieving wealth and power, Yen Fu, a Chinese thinker, undertook, at the turn of the century, years of laborious translation and commentary on the work of such thinkers as Spencer, Huxley, Adam Smith, Mill, and Montesquieu. In addition to the inevitable difficulties involved in translating modern English into classical Chinese, Yen Fu was faced with the formidable problem of interpreting and making palatable many Western ideas which were to a large extent antithetical to traditional Chinese thought.
In an absorbing study of Yen Fu's translations, essays, and commentaries, Benjamin Schwartz examines the modifications and consequent revaluation of these familiar works as they were presented to their new audience, and analyzes the impact of this Western thought on the Chinese culture of the time. Drawing on a unique knowledge of both intellectual traditions, Schwartz describes the diverse and complex effects of this confrontation of Eastern and Western philosophies and provides a new vantage point to assess and appreciate these two disparate worlds.
This compact and original exposition of optimal control theory and applications is designed for graduate and advanced undergraduate students in economics. It presents a new elementary yet rigorous proof of the maximum principle and a new way of applying the principle that will enable students to solve any one-dimensional problem routinely. Its unified framework illuminates many famous economic examples and models.
This work also emphasizes the connection between optimal control theory and the classical themes of capital theory. It offers a fresh approach to fundamental questions such as: What is income? How should it be measured? What is its relation to wealth?
The book will be valuable to students who want to formulate and solve dynamic allocation problems. It will also be of interest to any economist who wants to understand results of the latest research on the relationship between comprehensive income accounting and wealth or welfare.
Table of Contents:
Part I. Introduction to the Maximum Principle 1. The Calculus of Variations and the Stationary Rate of Return on Capital 2. The Prototype-Economic Control Problem 3. The Maximum Principle in One Dimension 4. Applications of the Maximum Principle in One Dimension
Part II. Comprehensive Accounting and the Maximum Principle 5. Optimal Multisector Growth and Dynamic Competitive Equilibrium 6. The Pure Theory of Perfectly Complete National Income Accounting 7. The Stochastic Wealth and Income Version of the Maximum Principle
There is probably no concept other than saving for which U.S. official agencies issue annual estimates that differ by more than a third, as they have done for net household saving, or for which reputable scholars claim that the correct measure is close to ten times the officially published one. Yet despite agreement among economists and policymakers on the importance of this measure, huge inconsistencies persist.
Contributors to this volume investigate ways to improve aggregate and sectoral saving and investment estimates and analyze microdata from recent household wealth surveys. They provide analyses of National Income and Product Account (NIPA) and Flow-of-Funds measures and of saving and survey-based wealth estimates. Conceptual and methodological questions are discussed regarding long-term trends in the U.S. wealth inequality, age-wealth profiles, pensions and wealth distribution, and biases in inferences about life-cycle changes in saving and wealth. Some new assessments are offered for investment in human and nonhuman capital, the government contribution to national wealth, NIPA personal and corporate saving, and banking imputation.
This pioneering volume uses modern statistical and simulation techniques to explain the process of wealth transmission and the persistent problem of the unequal distribution of wealth. These papers reflect a shift from the traditional cross-sectional measurement to an intertemporal focus by attempting to model mathematically the actual process by which wealth is acquired and transmitted. There are many questions to be answered: What are the factors influencing saving? What is the role of mating? What decides ownership between spouses? How are rare assets distributed by divorce? What are the patterns of behavior in making gifts and bequests? And what is the effect of the relative ages of the persons involved?
Early in the twentieth century, it was possible for Latter-day Saints to have lifelong associations with businesses managed by their leaders or owned and controlled by the church itself. For example, one could purchase engagement rings from Daynes Jewelry, honeymoon at the Hotel Utah, and venture off on the Union Pacific Railroad, all partially owned and run by church apostles.
Families could buy clothes at Knight Woolen Mills. The husband might work at Big Indian Copper or Bullion-Beck, Gold Chain, or Iron King mining companies. The wife could shop at Utah Cereal Food and buy sugar supplied by Amalgamated or U and I Sugar, beef from Nevada Land and Livestock, and vegetables from the Growers Market. They might take their groceries home in parcels from Utah Bag Co. They probably read the Deseret News at home under a lamp plugged into a Utah Power and Light circuit. They could take out a loan from Zion’s Co-operative and insurance from Utah Home and Fire.
The apostles had a long history of community involvement in financial enterprises to the benefit of the general membership and their own economic advantage. This volume is the result of the author’s years of research into LDS financial dominance from 1830 to 2010.
In the midst of the United States' immense economic growth in the 1850s, Americans worried about whether the booming agricultural, industrial, and commercial expansion came at the price of cherished American values such as honesty, hard work, and dedication to the common good. Was the nation becoming greedy, selfish, vulgar, and cruel? Was there such a thing as too much prosperity?
At the same time, the United States felt the influence of the rise of popular mass-circulation newspapers and magazines and the surge in American book publishing. Concern over living correctly as well as prosperously was commonly discussed by leading authors and journalists, who were now writing for ever-expanding regional and national audiences. Women became more important as authors and editors, giving advice and building huge markets for women readers, with the magazine Godey's Lady's Book and with e expressing women's views about the troubled state of society. Best-selling male writers--including novelist George Lippard, historian George Bancroft, and travel writer Bayard Taylor--were among those adding their voices to concerns about prosperity and morality and about America's place in the world. Writers and publishers discovered that a high moral tone could be exceedingly good for business.
The authors of this book examine how popular writers and widely read newspapers, magazines, and books expressed social tensions between prosperity and morality. This study draws on that nationwide conversation through leading mass media, including circulation-leading newspapers, the New York Herald and the New York Tribune, plus prominent newspapers from the South and West, the Richmond Enquirer and the Cincinnati Enquirer. Best-selling magazines aimed at middle-class tastes, Harper's Magazine and the Southern Literary Messenger, added their voices, as did two leading business magazines.
In Parenting Empires, Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas focuses on the parenting practices of Latin American urban elites to analyze how everyday experiences of whiteness, privilege, and inequality reinforce national and hemispheric idioms of anti-corruption and austerity. Ramos-Zayas shows that for upper-class residents in the affluent neighborhoods of Ipanema (Rio de Janeiro) and El Condado (San Juan), parenting is particularly effective in providing moral grounding for neoliberal projects that disadvantage the overwhelmingly poor and racialized people who care for and teach their children. Wealthy parents in Ipanema and El Condado cultivate a liberal cosmopolitanism by living in multicultural city neighborhoods rather than gated suburban communities. Yet as Ramos-Zayas reveals, their parenting strategies, which stress spirituality, empathy, and equality, allow them to preserve and reproduce their white privilege. Defining this moral economy as “parenting empires,” she sheds light on how child-rearing practices permit urban elites in the Global South to sustain and profit from entrenched social and racial hierarchies.
Philodemus was an important Epicurean philosopher active in southern Italy in the first century B.C.E. His treatise On Property Management, whose surviving part is completely translated here into English for the first time, focuses primarily on the vices or virtues involved in the acquisition and preservation of property and wealth. The extant remains of the work contain the most extensive and thorough treatment of property management found in any Hellenistic author. Philodemus criticizes rival writings by Xenophon and Theophrastus on the subject of oikonomia, or property management, and defends his own Epicurean views on the topic. More systematic and philosophical than rival approaches, the treatise clarifies many moral issues pertaining to the possession and preservation of property and wealth and provides plausible answers to a cluster of moral questions.
The disparity between rich and poor countries is the most serious, intractable problem facing the world today. The chronic poverty of many nations affects more than the citizens and economies of those nations; it threatens global stability as the pressures of immigration become unsustainable and rogue nations seek power and influence through extreme political and terrorist acts. To address this tenacious poverty, a vast array of international institutions has pumped billions of dollars into these nations in recent decades, yet despite this infusion of capital and attention, roughly five billion of the world's six billion people continue to live in poor countries. What isn't working? And how can we fix it?
The Power of Productivity provides powerful and controversial answers to these questions. William W. Lewis, the director emeritus of the McKinsey Global Institute, here draws on extensive microeconomic studies of thirteen nations over twelve years—conducted by the Institute itself—to counter virtually all prevailing wisdom about how best to ameliorate economic disparity. Lewis's research, which included studying everything from state-of-the-art auto makers to black-market street vendors and mom-and-pop stores, conclusively demonstrates that, contrary to popular belief, providing more capital to poor nations is not the best way to help them. Nor is improving levels of education, exchange-rate flexibility, or government solvency enough. Rather, the key to improving economic conditions in poor countries, argues Lewis, is increasing productivity through intense, fair competition and protecting consumer rights.
As The Power of Productivity explains, this sweeping solution affects the economies of poor nations at all levels—from the viability of major industries to how the average consumer thinks about his or her purchases. Policies must be enacted in developing nations that reflect a consumer rather than a producer mindset and an attendant sense of consumer rights. Only one force, Lewis claims, can stand up to producer special privileges—consumer interests.
The Institute's unprecedented research method and Lewis's years of experience with economic policy combine to make The Power of Productivity the most authoritative and compelling view of the global economy today, one that will inform political and economic debate throughout the world for years to come.
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year
A Tablet Book of the Year
Marking a departure in our understanding of Christian views of the afterlife from 250 to 650 CE, The Ransom of the Soul explores a revolutionary shift in thinking about the fate of the soul that occurred around the time of Rome’s fall. Peter Brown describes how this shift transformed the Church’s institutional relationship to money and set the stage for its domination of medieval society in the West.
“[An] extraordinary new book…Prodigiously original—an astonishing performance for a historian who has already been so prolific and influential…Peter Brown’s subtle and incisive tracking of the role of money in Christian attitudes toward the afterlife not only breaks down traditional geographical and chronological boundaries across more than four centuries. It provides wholly new perspectives on Christianity itself, its evolution, and, above all, its discontinuities. It demonstrates why the Middle Ages, when they finally arrived, were so very different from late antiquity.”
—G. W. Bowersock, New York Review of Books
“Peter Brown’s explorations of the mindsets of late antiquity have been educating us for nearly half a century…Brown shows brilliantly in this book how the future life of Christians beyond the grave was influenced in particular by money.
—A. N. Wilson, The Spectator
Thanks to its active role in national politics, the market economy, and popular culture, the Thai crown remains both the country's dominant institution and one of the world's wealthiest monarchies. Puangchon Unchanam examines the reign of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej or Rama IX (1946–2016) and how the crown thrived by transforming itself into a distinctly "bourgeois" monarchy that co-opted middle-class values of hard work, frugality, and self-sufficiency.
The kingdom positioned itself to connect business elites, patronize local industries, and form strategic partnerships with global corporations. Instead of restraining or regulating royal power, white-collar workers joined with the crown to form a dynamic, symbiotic force that has left the lower classes to struggle in their wake. Unchanam presents a surprising case study that kings and queens live long and large in cooperation with the bourgeoisie's interests and ideology.
Although initially intended for the innovative, if prosaic, purpose of providing waterproof and fireproof cover for earlier thatch-roofed homes, fired clay tiles, in seventh- and sixth-century Etruria and Central Italy, combined with Etruscan love of adornment to create exceptional domestic and religious building decoration. Featuring statues and figured friezes of humans, animals, and mythological figures intended to convey the status of the owner or dedicator, the surviving terracotta roofs provide important insights into the architectural history of Etruria. With Symbols of Wealth and Power, Nancy A. Winter has provided a definitive overview of the evidence for these roofing elements that will enhance our knowledge of Etruscan---and more broadly, ancient---architecture.
Nancy A. Winter is an archaeologist and former librarian of the American School of Classical Studies, Athens. She is the author of Greek Architectural Terracottas: From the Prehistoric to the End of the Archaic Period (1993).
Also of Interest Role Models in the Roman World: Identity and Assimilation, edited by Sinclair Bell and Inge Lyse Hansen The Maritime World of Ancient Rome, edited by Robert L. Hohlfelder Cosa: The Black-Glaze Pottery 2, by Ann Reynolds Scott
Jacket illustration: Tuscania, Ara del Tufo, 560–550 B.C.
Theology of Money
Philip Goodchild Duke University Press, 2009 Library of Congress BR115.W4G66 2009 | Dewey Decimal 220.83324
Theology of Money is a philosophical inquiry into the nature and role of money in the contemporary world. Philip Goodchild reveals the significance of money as a dynamic social force by arguing that under its influence, moral evaluation is subordinated to economic valuation, which is essentially abstract and anarchic. His rigorous inquiry opens into a complex analysis of political economy, encompassing markets and capital, banks and the state, class divisions, accounting practices, and the ecological crisis awaiting capitalism.
Engaging with Christian theology and the thought of Carl Schmitt, Georg Simmel, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, and many others, Goodchild develops a theology of money based on four contentions, which he elaborates in depth. First, money has no intrinsic value; it is a promise of value, a crystallization of future hopes. Second, money is the supreme value in contemporary society. Third, the value of assets measured by money is always future-oriented, dependent on expectations about how much might be obtained for those assets at a later date. Since this value, when realized, will again depend on future expectations, the future is forever deferred. Financial value is essentially a degree of hope, expectation, trust, or credit. Fourth, money is created as debt, which involves a social obligation to work or make profits to repay the loan. As a system of debts, money imposes an immense and irresistible system of social control on individuals, corporations, and governments, each of whom are threatened by economic failure if they refuse their obligations to the money system. This system of debt has progressively tightened its hold on all sectors and regions of global society. With Theology of Money, Goodchild aims to make conscious our collective faith and its dire implications.
Cultural trusteeship is a subject that fascinates those who wonder about the relationship between power and culture. What compels the wealthy to serve on the boards of fine arts institutions? How do they exercise their influence as trustees, and how does this affect the way arts institutions operate? To find out, Francie Ostrower conducted candid personal interviews with 76 trustees drawn from two opera companies and two art museums in the United States.
Her new study demonstrates that members of elite arts boards walk a fine line between maintaining their status and serving the needs of the large-scale organizations they oversee. As class members whose status depends in part on the prestige of the boards on which they serve, trustees seek to perpetuate arts boards as exclusive elite enclaves. But in response to pressures to increase and diversify the audiences for arts institutions, elite board members act in a surprisingly open manner in terms of organizational accessibility and operations.
Written with clarity and grace, Trustees of Culture will contribute significantly to our understanding of organizational governance; the politics of fundraising; elite arts participation and philanthropy; as well as the consequences of wider social policies that continue to emphasize private financial support. Ostrower's study will prove to be indispensable reading for not just sociologists of culture, but anyone interested in how the arts are financially and institutionally supported.
Many fear that efforts to address inequality will undermine the economy as a whole. But the opposite is true: rising inequality has become a drag on growth and an impediment to market competition. Heather Boushey breaks down the problem and argues that we can preserve our nation’s economic traditions while promoting shared economic growth.
American higher education is often understood as a vehicle for social advancement. However, the institutions at which students enroll differ widely from one another. Some enjoy tremendous endowment savings and/or collect resources via research, which then offsets the funds that students contribute. Other institutions rely heavily on student tuition payments. These schools may struggle to remain solvent, and their students often bear the lion’s share of educational costs. Unequal Higher Education identifies and explains the sources of stratification that differentiate colleges and universities in the United States. Barrett J. Taylor and Brendan Cantwell use quantitative analysis to map the contours of this system. They then explain the mechanisms that sustain it and illustrate the ways in which rising institutional inequality has limited individual opportunity, especially for students of color and low-income individuals.
Extreme inequalities in income,wealth and power lie behind Thailand’s political turmoil. What are the sources of this inequality? Why does it persist, or even increase when the economy grows? How can it be addressed?
The contributors to this important study—Thai scholars, reformers and civil servants—shed light on the many dimensions of inequality in Thailand, looking beyond simple income measures to consider land ownership, education, finance, business structures and politics. The contributors propose a series of reforms in taxation, spending and institutional reform that can address growing inequality.
Inequality is among the biggest threats to social stability in Southeast Asia, and this close study of a key Southeast Asian country will be relevant to regional policy-makers, economists and business decision-makers, as well as students of oligarchy and inequality more generally.
Luxury. The word alone conjures up visions of attractive, desirable lifestyle choices, yet luxury also faces criticism as a moral vice harmful to both the self and society. Engaging ideas from business, marketing, and economics, The Vice of Luxury takes on the challenging task of naming how much is too much in today's consumer-oriented society.
David Cloutier’s critique goes to the heart of a fundamental contradiction. Though overconsumption and materialism make us uneasy, they also seem inevitable in advanced economies. Current studies of economic ethics focus on the structural problems of poverty, of international trade, of workers' rights—but rarely, if ever, do such studies speak directly to the excesses of the wealthy, including the middle classes of advanced economies. Cloutier proposes a new approach to economic ethics that focuses attention on our everyday economic choices. He shows why luxury is a problem, explains how to identify what counts as the vice of luxury today, and develops an ethic of consumption that is grounded in Christian moral convictions.
"Congratulations to Drs. Nembhard and Chiteji and the authors included in this much needed volume of work! Their book offers the perspective and insight of scholars of color that are too often missing from information produced by the asset building field (people and organizations seeking to help low-income people develop assets). Communities served by the asset building field are disproportionately made up of people of color. This book captures work produced by scholars representing these communities and offers innovative and thought provoking analyses of wealth inequality. Decision-making on research, policy, and practice that fails to incorporate the knowledge of these and other asset accumulation experts of color runs the risk of being fatally flawed and irrelevant to the communities the asset building field intends to serve."
--Kilolo Kijakazi, Ph.D., The Ford Foundation
"An important contribution to the economics literature on wealth and to our understanding of racial and ethnic inequality. This book adds to our knowledge and understanding of the wealth positions of Latinos, Asian Americans, Hawaiians, and Native Americans and places this information in the context of black-white wealth inequality."
--Cecilia A. Conrad, Department of Economics, Pomona College
"This book does an outstanding job of introducing readers to a host of interesting questions related to racial and ethnic minority status and wealth composition and accumulation. The chapters on wealth accumulation among Native Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans offer one of the few places where this information is readily available. The recent disaster in New Orleans has shown the nation that there is a strong interaction between wealth, race, and social outcomes. This book not only fills a void in understanding the black-white wealth inequality that was apparent after Hurricane Katrina, but it also provides great insight into the wealth status of other racial and ethnic minorities."
--Patrick L. Mason, Department of Economics, Florida State University
"This edited volume takes up an important, indeed, fundamental, topic, bringing together leading scholars to assess wealth accumulation among people of color. No other book or research report covers as many groups of color as appear in this volume, devoting chapters to African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Hawaiians. The result is a noteworthy achievement." --Michael Sherraden, Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development, Washington University in St. Louis
Jessica Gordon Nembhard is Assistant Professor and Economist, African American Studies Department, and co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her work on the history of black cooperatives is well known in progressive circles.
Ngina Chiteji is Associate Professor of Economics, Skidmore College. She was a Visiting Assistant Research Scholar at The Democracy Collaborative, University of Maryland, College Park.
As the world becomes more interconnected through travel and electronic communication, many believe that physical places will become less important. But as Mario Polèse argues in The Wealth and Poverty of Regions, geography will matter more than ever before in a world where distance is allegedly dead.
This provocative book surveys the globe, from London and Cape Town to New York and Beijing, contending that regions rise—or fall—due to their location, not only within nations but also on the world map. Polèse reveals how concentrations of industries and populations in specific locales often result in minor advantages that accumulate over time, resulting in reduced prices, improved transportation networks, increased diversity, and not least of all, “buzz”—the excitement and vitality that attracts ambitious people. The Wealth and Poverty of Regions maps out how a heady mix of size, infrastructure, proximity, and cost will determine which urban centers become the thriving metropolises of the future, and which become the deserted cities of the past. Engagingly written, the book provides insight to the past, present, and future of regions.
The moral dimensions of how we conduct business affect all of our lives in ways big and small, from the prevention of environmental devastation to the policing of unfair trading practices, from arguments over minimum wage rates to those over how government contracts are handed out. Yet for as deep and complex a field as business ethics is, it has remained relatively isolated from the larger, global history of moral philosophy. This book aims to bridge that gap, reaching deep into the past and traveling the globe to reinvigorate and deepen the basis of business ethics.
Spanning the history of western philosophy as well as looking toward classical Chinese thought and medieval Islamic philosophy, this volume provides business ethicists a unified source of clear, accurate, and compelling accounts of how the ideas of foundational thinkers—from Aristotle to Friedrich Hayek to Amartya Sen—relate to wealth, commerce, and markets. The essays illuminate perspectives that have often been ignored or forgotten, informing discussion in fresh and often unexpected ways. In doing so, the authors not only throw into relief common misunderstandings and misappropriations often endemic to business ethics but also set forth rich moments of contention as well as novel ways of approaching complex ethical problems. Ultimately, this volume provides a bedrock of moral thought that will move business ethics beyond the ever-changing opinions of headline-driven debate.
Margaret A. Syverson discusses the ways in which a theory of composing situations as ecological systems might productively be applied in composition studies. She demonstrates not only how new research in cognitive science and complex systems can inform composition studies but also how composing situations can provide fruitful ground for research in cognitive science.
Syverson first introduces theories of complex systems currently studied in diverse disciplines. She describes complex systems as adaptive, self-organizing, and dynamic; neither utterly chaotic nor entirely ordered, these systems exist on the boundary between order and chaos. Ecological systems are "metasystems" composed of interrelated complex systems. Writers, readers, and texts, together with their environments, constitute one kind of ecological system.
Four attributes of complex systems provide a theoretical framework for this study: distribution, embodiment, emergence, and enaction. Three case studies provide evidence for the application of these concepts: an analysis of a passage from an autobiographical poem by Charles Reznikoff, a study of first-year college students writing collaboratively, and a conflict in a computer forum of social scientists during the Gulf War. The diversity of these cases tests the robustness of theories of distributed cognition and complex systems and suggests possibilities for wider application.
The southwestern Pennsylvania town of Connellsville lay in the middle of a massive reserve of high quality coal. Connellsville coal was so soft and easily worked that one man and a boy could cut and load ten tons of it in ten hours.
This region became a major source of coke, a vital material in industrial processes, above all in steel manufacture, producing forty-seven percent of America`s supply in 1913. But by the 1920s, what had seemed to be a gold mine was turning into a devastating economic, environmental and social loss.
In Wealth, Waste and Alienation, Kenneth Warren draws from primary source material, including the minutes and letters of the Carnegie Steel Company, the United States Steel Corporation, and the archives of Henry Clay Frick, to explain the birth, phenomenal growth, decline and death of the Connellsville coke industry. Its rich natural resources produced wealth for individuals, companies, and some communities, but as Warren shows, there was also social alienation, waste, and devastation of the natural environment. The complicated structure of enterprise, capital, and labor which made this region flourish unwound almost as quickly as it arose, creating repercussions that are still reverberating in what’s left of Connellsville today, a kind of postindustrial rural shell of its former productive glory.
The "glorious house" of the senatorial family of the Flavii Apiones is the best documented economic entity of the Roman Empire during the fifth through seventh centuries, that critical period of transition between the classical world and the Middle Ages. For decades, the rich but fragmentary manuscript evidence that this large agricultural estate left behind, preserved for 1,400 years by the desiccating sands of Egypt, has been central to arguments concerning the agrarian and fiscal history of Late Antiquity, including the rise of feudalism.
Wine, Wealth, and the State in Late Antique Egypt is the most authoritative synthesis concerning the economy of the Apion estate to appear to date. T. M. Hickey examines the records of the family's wine production in the sixth century in order to shed light on ancient economic practices and economic theory, as well as on the wine industry and on estate management. Based on careful study of the original manuscripts, including unpublished documents from the estate archive, he presents controversial conclusions, much at odds with the "top down" models currently dominating the scholarship.