Archive for the ‘Books on Tap’ Category

Books on Tap: Lee Krasner

July 17, 2011 Comments off

Lee Krasner, A Biography by Gail Levin. An excellent bio on the artist which properly places her where she belongs, as one of the premier abstract artists of the 20th century. While the film, “Pollock” was very good, it did no favors for Ms. Krasner who was married to abstract artist, Jackson Pollock. Krasner was in fact, tough minded, very intelligent, suffered no fools, spoke her mind and while she sacrificed a great deal emotionally from the alcoholic episodes with Pollock, she willingly took a back seat to promote her husbands art with the idea in mind that he was an artistic genius. She was very active with the WPA from its onset to the end of the program. She was also a political person, involved in protests for artists’ rights through her association with the Artists Union. A fascinating look at a vibrant personality who scraped and struggled and created her way into her rightful place in the pantheon of New York abstract artists.


Books on Tap: Treasure Islands – Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens

May 1, 2011 Comments off

Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens by Nicholas Shaxson

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Product Description

A thrilling ride inside the world of tax havens and corporate masterminds

While the United States experiences recession and economic stagnation and European countries face bankruptcy, experts struggle to make sense of the crisis. Nicholas Shaxson, a former correspondent for the Financial Times and The Economist, argues that tax havens are a central cause of all these disasters.

In this hard hitting investigation he uncovers how offshore tax evasion, which has cost the U.S. 100 billion dollars in lost revenue each year, is just one item on a long rap sheet outlining the damage that offshoring wreaks on our societies. In a riveting journey from Moscow to London to Switzerland to Delaware, Shaxson dives deep into a vast and secret playground where bankers and multinational corporations operate side by side with nefarious tax evaders, organized criminals and the world’s wealthiest citizens. Tax havens are where all these players get to maximize their own rewards and leave the middle class to pick up the bill.

With eye opening revelations, Treasure Islands exposes the culprits and its victims, and shows how:

*Over half of world trade is routed through tax havens

*The rampant practices that precipitated the latest financial crisis can be traced back to Wall Street’s offshoring practices

*For every dollar of aid we send to developing countries, ten dollars leave again by the backdoor

The offshore system sits much closer to home than the pristine tropical islands of the popular imagination. In fact, it all starts on a tiny island called Manhattan. In this fast paced narrative, Treasure Islands at last explains how the system works and how it’s contributing to our ever deepening economic divide.

Books on Tap: Free Trade Doesn’t Work: What Should Replace It and Why

April 9, 2011 Comments off

Free Trade Doesn’t Work, 2011 Edition: What Should Replace It and Why by Ian Fletcher

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Product Description
This very readable book is aimed at both ordinary concerned citizens and people with a bit of sophistication about economics. It is a systematic examination of why free trade is slowly bleeding America’s economy to death and what can be done about it. It explains in detail why the standard economic arguments free traders use all the time are false, and what kind of economic ideas – well within the grasp of the average American – justify protectionism instead. It examines the history and politics of free trade and explains how America came to adopt its present disastrous free trade policy. It looks at the breakdown of specific industries and how we can rebuild them and bring millions of high-paying jobs back to this country. It examines what’s wrong with NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO, and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. It is sharply critical of the current establishment, but from a bipartisan point of view, so it should satisfy progressives, conservatives, and everyone in between. Unlike many past critiques of free trade, it is economically-literate; it also explains New Trade Theory, the hot new area of economics that critiques free trade.

Books on Tap: Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy

April 7, 2011 Comments off

Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy by Joseph Stiglitz

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Asks some basic and provocative questions… Freefall is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the roots of the financial crisis. Stiglitz brilliantly analyzes the economic reasons behind the banking collapse, but he goes much further, digging down to the wrongheaded national faith in the power of free markets to regulate themselves and provide wealth for all. (Chuck Leddy – Boston Globe )

Stiglitz offers a powerful account of the financial meltdown and criticizes the Obama Administration for ‘muddling through’ rather than pushing aggressively for change…. An excellent overview from a Nobel prize-winning economist of what caused the crisis and what reforms should be enacted…. I can only hope Obama makes room for it on his nightstand. (James Pressley – BusinessWeek )

This is the best book so far on the financial crisis. Joseph Stiglitz . . . is knowledgeable about the historical background, immersed in the policy debate and a pioneer of the economic theories needed to understand the origins of the problems. (Financial Times )

As a Nobel Prize winner, member of the cabinet under former President Bill Clinton and chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers, Joseph E. Stiglitz has some practical ideas on how to ease the pain of the Great Recession and maybe help prevent the next one. (Carl Hartman – Associated Press )

Mr. Stiglitz uses his experience teaching to give the lay reader a lucid account of how overleveraged banks, a shoddy mortgage industry, predatory lending and unregulated trading contributed to the meltdown, and how, in his opinion, ill-conceived rescue efforts may have halted the freefall but have failed to grapple with more fundamental problems…. His prescience lends credibility to his trenchant analysis of the causes of the fiscal meltdown. (Michiko Kakutani – The New York Times )

Books on Tap: The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict

April 7, 2011 Comments off

The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict by Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz

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3From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Readers may be surprised to learn just how difficult it was for Nobel Prize-winning economist Stiglitz and Kennedy School of Government professor Bilmes to dig up the actual and projected costs of the Iraq War for this thorough piece of accounting. Using “emergency” funds to pay for most of the war, the authors show that the White House has kept even Congress and the Comptroller General from getting a clear idea on the war’s true costs. Other expenses are simply overlooked, one of the largest of which is the $600 billion going toward current and future health care for veterans. These numbers reveal stark truths: improvements in battlefield medicine have prevented many deaths, but seven soldiers are injured for every one that dies (in WWII, this ratio was 1.6 to one). Figuring in macroeconomic costs and interest-the war has been funded with much borrowed money-the cost rises to $4.5 trillion; add Afghanistan, and the bill tops $7 trillion. This shocking expose, capped with 18 proposals for reform, is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how the war was financed, as well as what it means for troops on the ground and the nation’s future.

Books on Tap: The Tell-Tale Brain

April 7, 2011 Comments off

The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human by V.S. Ramachandran

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I listened to local KPBS this morning and heard this fascinating interview with V.S. Ramachandran, distinguished professor in the Psychology and Neurosciences Department, UCSD, author of “The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest For What Makes Us HumanDoctor.

The interview will be archived and available by tomorrow. Click here for more.

In his new book, neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran takes us on a tour of some seemingly inexplicable behaviors of the brain. For instance, how can a totally blind person locate a spot of light on a wall? It is in finding answers to these questions that Dr. Ramachandran opens up new ways of understanding consciousness.

Work the doctor did back in the 90s trying to cure phantom pain in amputees has recently been adopted by the US Department of Defense and involves the simple use of mirrors. Now, he believes another kind of mirror, a so-called mirror neuron in the brain, may provide a key to understanding the mystery of autism.

Books on Tap: Dark Side of Globalization

March 30, 2011 Comments off

The Dark Side of Globalization by Jorge Heine (Author, Editor), Ramesh Thakur (Author, Editor)

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Product Description

Seen by some as a desirable and irreversible engine of prosperity and progress, globalization is resisted by others as the soft underbelly of a corporate imperialism that plunders and profiteers in the global marketplace. Globalization has brought many benefits, including the reduction of poverty in several countries. But it also has a dark side: the unleashing of negative forces as a result of the compression of time and space made possible by modern technology. Examples include the transnational flows of terrorism, drug and human trafficking, organized crime, money laundering, and global pandemics.

How do these various expressions of “uncivil society” manifest themselves? How do they exploit the opportunities offered by globalization? How can governments, international organizations, and civil society deal with the problem?

From arms trafficking in West Africa through armed insurgencies in South Asia and the upsurge of jihad in the age of globalization, this book examines the challenges that the dark forces of globalization pose to the international system and the responses they have triggered. Written largely by authors from developing countries, the book’s goal is to help maximize the beneficial consequences of globalization while muting its baleful effects.
About the Author

Jorge Heine is a distinguished fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and a CIGI Chair in International Governance cross-appointed to Wilfrid Laurier University.

Ramesh Thakur is the inaugural director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs, a distinguished fellow at CIGI, and professor of political science at the University of Waterloo, Canada.

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