Category “Development + Economic Globalization”

An Ecological View of History: Japanese Civilization in the World Context

Tadao Umesao (1957)

 tadaoumesao_ecologicalviewofhistory No good. If only it lived up to its title …

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Global Inequality

Branko Milanovic (2016)

brankomilanovic_globalinequality_

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Political Order and Political Decay

Francis Fukuyama (2014)

francisfukuyaja_politicalorderandpoliticaldecay To all y’all Wes-Coas homies who tuned me I’d nevah pull off dah Opus let me herewith undiss mahself cause here it iz ya know its true that I got thru.

Respec, y’all.  Respec.

And a Big One goes out to mah main man Fukuyama.  You the man for pullin’ this togetha man, dat some mad Eas-Coas politico-economic skillz mah man.

Peace out.

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And the Weak Suffer What They Must?

Yanis Varoufakis (2016)

YanisVaroufakis_AndTheWeakSufferWhatTheyMust At times haughty and generally poorly structured, with confusing achronological interludes.  That’s the bad stuff out of the way.  On balance, still a highly worthwhile read, in particular the last two chapters, ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Europe’s Crisis, America’s Future’.  Also a must-read for anyone that seriously wants to take an informed position in the Brexit debate, rather than just follow the dogma – ‘progressive Brexin’ and ‘populist Brexit’ alike!

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Electricity Supply: The British Experiment

David Porter (2014)

David Porter cover POD 29.7mm_Layout 1 An unashamedly opinionated account of the privatization of the UK energy industry, told from the inside. Highly recommended for market fundamentalists and opponents alike.

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The New Industrial State

John Kenneth Galbraith (1967)

JohnKennethGalbraith_TheNewIndustrialState .

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The Carbon Crunch

Dieter Helm (2012)

DieterHelm_TheCarbonCrunch A case for gas as a bridging fuel to a renewable future.

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Natural Capital

Dieter Helm (2015)

DieterHelm_NaturalCapital Thin. Very thin.

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Butterfly Economics

Paul Ormerod (1994)

PaulOrmerod_ButterflyEconomics A dynamical systems approach to select questions in economics and sociology.

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Carbon Democracy

Timothy Mitchell (2011)

TimothyMitchell_CarbonDemocracy Buried amongst sometimes somewhat haughty paragraphs of Mitchell’s book are two fairly radical propositions. The first is that ‘[d]emocratisation has generally depended on engineering […] forms of vulnerability’, and this vulnerability arises because particular manufacturing processes ‘can render the technical processes of producing concentrations of wealth dependent on the well-being of large numbers of people’. What Mitchell means to say is that certain vital processes – to do with energy, as it happens – become vulnerable due to structural bottlenecks, and that leveraging these vulnerabilities has enabled the process of ‘democratisation’. The two examples he covers are those of coal and oil. Coal mines tended to be distal from urban centres and susceptible to strikes by coal miners, which would spread downstream along the supply chain to railways, etc. This allowed coal workers to press for democratic concessions.

The story to do with the structural vulnerabilities around oil is more complicated, and I am not convinced Mitchell’s story is entirely self-consistent. Here we find the – to me – second radical proposition: that oil companies throughout history have been far more concerned with constricting the supply of oil, rather than expanding it.

The net result is that most of Mitchell’s book reads like a whirlwind tour of the 20th Century oil-bearing regions, with Western oil companies and their government cronies in a constant tussle with governments desperately looking for ways to get their national fossil fuel endowment to market.

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