By Jeff Kearns
Amid war and inflation, debt and fragmentation, now may be a better time than ever to step back and consider the bigger and more enduring questions of lives and livelihoods.
Authors from Cambridge economist Diane Coyle to Bank of Japan veteran Masaaki Shirakawa have provided more than enough reason to put down our phones and concentrate, as much as one can, on absorbing the larger lessons from leading thinkers.
Below is a selection of volumes worth picking up, drawn from books recently reviewed in the IMF’s Finance & Development magazine.
A Brief History of Equality
Thomas Piketty’s surprisingly optimistic account of progress toward equality shows that societies have moved toward measurable improvements in the quality of life and fairer distribution of income and assets, but it will take novel solutions to address today’s inequities. His proposed solutions include a return to greater fiscal progressivity: significantly steeper income tax rates on high earners, a global wealth tax on the well-off, basic income programs, and cancellation of debts.
Oceans of Grain: How American Wheat Remade the World
Scott Reynolds Nelson of the University of Georgia argues that wheat plays a key role in the rise and fall of empires. The book is a financial history, and the best passages chronicle international commodity markets bound increasingly together by wheat.
The United States vs. China: The Quest for Global Economic Leadership
C. Fred Bergsten , founder of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, writes that the United States inevitably will have to share global economic leadership with China. He rejects as fanciful …