Archives For Economics

 

Switching Our Religion.
 
 
A Feature Review of 
 

The Market As God
Harvey Cox

Hardback: Harvard UP, 2016
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Philip Christman
 
 
 
I teach first-year English at an elite public university, which gives me a window into the hopes and anxieties of America’s luckier youth. Mostly, they’re anxious about getting into the business school. Some of them actually want to study business, which is fine, but every semester, usually several times, I talk to someone with a demonstrable gift for thinking, writing, doing good, or making art, who has convinced her- or himself that any other major would be irresponsible. They have heard from every corner that the Market will punish them if they—who by their mere presence at University of Michigan have already found their way into a social network so privileged it beggars the human imagination—do the work they want to do. They continue to feel this way even though, from several of my course readings, they have learned that the “skills gap” doesn’t really exist (it’s largely a PR move by corporations that want to offload new-hire training to our public universities), that our future is not threatened by a deluge of art history majors, and that majors have less impact on hireability than many other factors—personal connections, school prestige, work experience. Knowing all this, and in some cases dreading the boredom and enforced club-ability for which business programs are notorious, these students still choose to reroute their hopes and dreams in deference to an abstraction: the Market.

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The most important new book release this week is likely…
 

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Matthew Desmond
Hardback: Crown Books, 2016
Buy:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 
 
Here are two brief videos that introduce the book…
 

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Discerning Our Way Toward Neighborliness
 
A Review of 

An Other Kingdom:
Departing the Consumer Culture

Peter Block, Walter Brueggemann and John McKnight.

Paperback: Wiley, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith
 

This is an abridged version of a review
that appeared in our Advent 2015 print issue.
Are you a subscriber?

 
Several years ago, I took note for the first time of the collaborations of Walter Brueggemann, Peter Block and John McKnight. I suspect that Brueggemann’s name may be familiar to many of our readers for his work in theology and Old Testament scholarship. Block and McKnight, however, might not be as familiar. Block is renowned for his work in the world of business consulting, in which he has written a number of bestselling books. John McKnight is co-director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University, and his work over the years has focused on community-building. In many ways, it comes as a surprise that these three thinkers who have distinguished themselves in vastly different arenas should come together and collaborate on a book project.

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neighborhood-economics

Really enjoyed the Neighborhood Economics conference in Cincinnati this week, and left with much to think about!

What is Neighborhood Economics?  Peter Block has described it this way:

“Neighborhood Economics is an idea committed to accelerating the flow of capital into resident driven entrepreneurial enterprise. It calls us to shift how we think about ending poverty. It brings the world of social investors, community builders, community philanthropists, residents and local neighborhood leaders into the same conversations. This is what a systems approach to economic and racial justice is going to require.”

I came away from the conference with a hefty list of books that I hope to read (or re-read). 

Here are some highlights from that list:

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

See a book here that you’d like to review for us?
Contact us, and we’ll talk about the possibility of a review.

> > > >
Next Book

Tables in the Wilderness: A Memoir of God Found, Lost, and Found Again

by Preston Yancey

Read an excerpt of this book here


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Slavoj Zizek

Today is the birthday of Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek…

His latest book is:

Žižek’s Jokes
(Did you hear the one about Hegel and Negation?)

Hardback: MIT Press, 2014.
Buy now:   [ Amazon ]  Kindle ]


Zizek on John Howard Yoder

Here are two of my favorite short videos in which he explains his economic theory:



 

Other Books by Slavoj Zizek



IMAGE CREDIT: “Slavoj Zizek in Liverpool” Creative Commons License via Wikimedia Commons.



 

Economics as if People Mattered

A Review of

The Wound and the Blessing: Economics, Relationships, and Happiness

Luigino Bruni

Paperback: New City, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Joe Davis

 

Has anyone ever told you, in a harsh, menacing tone: “I mean business”? We use this phrase to remind, or rather warn, others of our serious resolve towards the completion of a goal at any expense we deem necessary, especially our relationships with others. If people “mean business,” they are obsessed by a single-minded pursuit of their objective and it is best not to stand in their way. Consider also the common saying, “Its just business.” We use this phrase when we want to communicate a certain sense of apathy towards an interpersonal relationship. Continue Reading…

 

Elizabeth Cline - OverdressedFinding Freedom in Our Clothes Closets.

A Feature Review of

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.

Elizabeth Cline.

Hardback: Portfolio, 2012.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Amy Peterson.

I still remember the first time I got to go shopping- alone – after giving birth to my second child. He was seven months old.  It had been a while.

I was driving to pick up our free-range Thanksgiving turkey from a family farm in Kokomo, and had some extra time, so I stopped at Old Navy.  A skirt, a dress, a cardigan, and two t-shirts later, I left for the farm, crowing over my successes.  “An $8 dress that makes me feel like Tami Taylor?  How could I not buy it?”

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion (Penguin 2012), by Elizabeth Cline, demonstrates why I ought to learn to curb – or at least refine – that bargain-hunting impulse.   In much the same way that Michael Pollan investigated how Americans get their food in The Omnivore’s Dilemma (leading me to buy that free-range turkey, incidentally), Cline spent three years investigating the world of fashion and clothing production.  What she finds in Overdressed is enough to convince me that there might be as good a reason to pay more for the right kinds of clothes as there is to pay more for the right kinds of food.

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Jonathan Gruber - Health Care ReformKapow! It’s Health Care Reform

A Review of

Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works

Jonathan Gruber, with H.P. Newquist,

Illustrated by Nathan Schrieber.

Paperback: Hill & Wang, 2011.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed  by Jess O. Hale, Jr.

 


Jonathan Gruber - Health Care ReformOther Sample Pages Available on Amazon:
[ Sample #2 ]  [ Sample #3 ] [ Sample #4 ]

With spring bringing us Marvel’s ” Avengers” out to rave reviews and giant box office and summer looking toward a new Batman movie, what better way to tide a politically-engaged readership of comic books over than a discussion of health care reform?  Well, what if it came in the form of a graphic novel—does that help?  I hope so, as lack of health insurance and spiraling costs are quite arguably more serious threats to young adults than Loki.  Yet as we await a Supreme Court decision on the constitutional fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the more neutral shorthand for Congress’ enactment of the health reform effort that President Obama pushed for and signed, many people know more about a movie about comic book characters than about the content of what the health reform legislation actually does.  With a little help,  MIT economist Jonathan Gruber has sought to explain the nuts and bolts of health care reform in a format readily accessible to many young adults (and quite a few older folk who are at least a little young at heart) – a graphic novel.  Ably assisted by H. P. Newquist and Nathan Schreiber, Gruber has written Health Care Reform:  What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works as an explanation of the ACA for those who are not political or policy junkies.

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Mara Einstein - Compassion, Inc.The Moral Life of Corporations

A Review of

Compassion, Inc.: How Corporate America Blurs the Line Between What We Buy, Who We Are, and Those We Help
Mara Einstein.

Hardback: U of California Press, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Amy Gentile.

Have you ever noticed all the “green” products nowadays and been skeptical of whether the companies making those products really care about the environment or are just jumping on the “do good” bandwagon? Have you ever felt uncomfortable with the idea of purchasing products to make a donation, like Product(RED) items, or donations that get you a badge of honor to wear, such as the ubiquitous yellow LIVESTRONG and other rubber bracelets? If so, you will probably enjoy this book; if these questions haven’t ever crossed your mind before now, you should definitely read this book.

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