Summary via publisher (U. of Pennsylvania Press)
When we talk about debt and its impact on our economy, we almost always talk about “public debt”. However, this is only a small part of the picture: individuals, private businesses and households owe trillions, and these private debts are key to understanding the economy. Author Richard Vague examines the assets, liabilities and income of the entire country, private and public sector, to reveal its net worth. His holistic analysis shows that the real factor fueling both financial crises and the spiral of inequality, but also, paradoxically, economic growth, is the ever-increasing private debt. The paradox is that while debt is essential and our economy depends on it, it also brings instability unless it is periodically deleveraged – and that is very hard to do. It can, however, be carefully managed, and Vague ends the book by showing how to do so in policy areas ranging from trade and housing to financial policy and student debt.
● The Four Pillars of Investing, Second Edition: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio
Summary via publisher (McGraw Hill)
First published two decades ago, The Four Pillars of Investing has been the go-to resource for an entire generation of investors. This updated edition of the investment classic provides the basic knowledge you need to avoid the most common pitfalls and build a portfolio in today’s roller coaster investing world. Retired neurologist and master investor William J. Bernstein has seen it throughout his career. Buy investments with borrowed money. Continuing past performance. Overestimating one’s own risk tolerance. Listen to cable news. These are just a few of the many mistakes he has seen smart, serious investors make, risking their wallets. Add to these behavioral errors economic factors such as deflation, sudden drop in stocks, spike in inflation, etc., and investing may seem like something to be avoided at all costs. But with the right discipline and knowledge, you can create and manage an impressive portfolio.
● The Nationalist Dilemma: A World History of Economic Nationalism, 1776–Present
Summary via publisher (Cambridge U. Press)
Nationalists think about economics, argues Marvin Suesse, and that thinking matters once nationalists hold political power. Many nationalists seek to limit global trade, but others prioritize economic development. The potential conflict between these two goals shapes nationalist policy-making. Drawing on historical case studies of thirty countries – from the American Revolution to the rise of China – this book paints a broad panorama of economic nationalism over the past 250 years. This explains why such thinking has become influential, despite internal contradictions and the checkered record of many nationalist policymakers. At the root of economic nationalism’s appeal is its ability to capitalize on economic inequality, both national and international. These inequalities are reinforced by political factors such as empire building, ethnic conflict and financial crises. This gave rise to powerful nationalist movements that decisively shaped the global exchange of goods, people and capital.
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