Thursday, August 21, 2014

The last books of the summer

Four books are competing for my attention in these last days of the summer break, and illustrate my always dispersed interests:
-“House of Debt,” by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi, which I bought through Amazon following the recommendation by Nacho González. The book argues that the global economic and financial crisis has been caused by excess debt, and that this dangerously reduces consumption and aggregate demand. The solution is a financial system that is less dependent on debt and more on equity-like instruments that share risk, along the lines of the recommendations of Robert Shiller.
-“Funding the Nation,” by Irish historian Michael Keyes, which I bought in Dublin last week. This is a book about how successful political movements, such as Irish nationalism in the XIX and XX centuries, need financial resources, and how these, in the case of Ireland, were found in Catholic parishes and among Irish-American exiles. It is the story of how financing was key, and how funds were obtained and sometimes misappropriated.
And two books that I bought yesterday in the book-shop of Barcelona’s science museum (“Cosmocaixa”), and that are representative of new frontiers of research –I will probably treat my students experimentally with them this year:
-“Networks. A Very Short Introduction,” by Guido Caldarelli and Michele Catanzaro. This belongs to the “very short introduction” collection, which has short guides on pretty much everything by prestigious scientists and experts, with good bibliographies and references. The analysis of social dynamics in networks has important applications in economics, finance and politics.
-“Neuro. The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind,” by Nikolas Rose and Joelle M. Abi-Rached. They survey the burgeoning research on neuro-sciences, critically discuss their social implications, and present their applications in social and other sciences.

No comments:

Post a Comment