Tag Archives: Economics

The Foreclosure Survival Guide: Keep Your House or Walk Away With Money in Your Pocket / Stephen Elias Attorney

Call number: KF697 .F6 E43 2013

Bankruptcy attorney Elias targets the estimated two million American homeowners who are currently in default on their mortgages. Elias explains how foreclosure works, what options there may be for keeping a home when in default, and what to do when that is not possible. He includes instruction on negotiating a workout with a lender as well as chapters on how to use bankruptcy to avoid foreclosure. Elias’s section on fighting foreclosure in the courts helps readers understand the circumstances in which they may be able to delay or stop a foreclosure action. The appendixes provide summaries of each state’s foreclosure laws, a glossary, and information on finding and working with lawyers and bankruptcy petition preparers. Straightforward and timely, this is recommended for most public libraries. ( Library Journal )

Ninety percent of everything : inside shipping, the invisible industry that puts clothes on your back, gas in your car, and food on your plate / Rose George

Call number: HE571 .G465 2013

On ship-tracking websites, the waters are black with dots. Each dot is a ship; each ship is laden with boxes; each box is laden with goods. In postindustrial economies, we no longer produce but buy. We buy, so we must ship. Without shipping there would be no clothes, food, paper, or fuel. Without all those dots, the world would not work.
Freight shipping has been no less revolutionary than the printing press or the Internet, yet it is all but invisible. Away from public scrutiny, shipping revels in suspect practices, dubious operators, and a shady system of “flags of convenience.” Infesting our waters, poisoning our air, and a prime culprit of acoustic pollution, shipping is environmentally indefensible. And then there are the pirates.
Rose George, acclaimed chronicler of what we would rather ignore, sails from Rotterdam to Suez to Singapore on ships the length of football fields and the height of Niagara Falls; she patrols the Indian Ocean with an anti-piracy task force; she joins seafaring chaplains, and investigates the harm that ships inflict on endangered whales.
Sharply informative and entertaining, Ninety Percent of Everything reveals the workings and perils of an unseen world that holds the key to our economy, our environment, and our very civilization. (From Google Books)
 

Act of Congress : how America’s essential institution works, and how it doesn’t / Robert G. Kaiser

Call number: HG181 .K35 2013

This is an account of how Congress today really works, and doesn’t, that follows the dramatic journey of the sweeping financial reform bill enacted in response to the Great Crash of 2008. The founding fathers expected Congress to be the most important branch of government and gave it the most power. When Congress is broken, as its justifiably dismal approval ratings suggest, so is our democracy. Here, the author, whose career at The Washington Post has made him a keen and knowledgeable observer of Congress, takes us behind the sound bites to expose the protocols, players, and politics of the House and Senate, revealing both the triumphs of the system and (more often) its fundamental flaws. This book tells the story of the Dodd-Frank Act, named for the two men who made it possible: Congressman Barney Frank, brilliant and sometimes abrasive, who mastered the details of financial reform, and Senator Chris Dodd, who worked patiently for months to fulfill his vision of a Senate that could still work on a bipartisan basis.
Both Frank and Dodd collaborated with the author throughout their legislative efforts and allowed their staffs to share every step of the drafting and deal making that produced the 1,500-page law that transformed America’s financial sector. The author explains how lobbying affects a bill, or fails to. We follow staff members more influential than most senators and congressmen. We see how Congress members protect their own turf, often without regard for what might best serve the country, more eager to court television cameras than legislate on complicated issues about which many of them remain ignorant. In this book the author shows how ferocious partisanship regularly overwhelms all other considerations, though occasionally individual integrity prevails.

So rich, so poor : why it’s so hard to end poverty in America

Call number: HC110.P6 E34 2012

If the nation’s gross national income?over $14 trillion?were divided evenly across the entire U.S. population, every household could call itself middle class. Yet the income-level disparity in this country is now wider than at any point since the Great Depression. In 2010 the average salary for CEOs on the S&P 500 was over $1 million?climbing to over $11 million when all forms of compensation are accounted for?while the current median household income for African Americans is just over $32,000. How can some be so rich, while others are so poor?

In this provocative book, Peter Edelman, a former top aide to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and a lifelong antipoverty advocate, offers an informed analysis of how this country can be so wealthy yet have a steadily growing number of unemployed and working poor. According to Edelman, we have taken important positive steps without which 25 to 30 million more people would be poor, but poverty fluctuates with the business cycle. The structure of today’s economy has stultified wage growth for half of America’s workers?with even worse results at the bottom and for people of color?while bestowing billions on those at the top.

So Rich, So Poor delves into what is happening to the people behind the statistics and takes a particular look at the continuing crisis of young people of color, whose possibility of a productive life too often is lost on their way to adulthood. This is crucial reading for anyone who wants to understand the most critical American dilemma of the twenty-first century. (From Google Books)

Fire in the ashes : twenty-five years among the poorest children in America / Jonathan Kozol

Call number: HV741 .K674 2012

In this powerful and culminating work about a group of inner-city children he has known for many years, Jonathan Kozol returns to the scene of his prize-winning books Rachel and Her Children and Amazing Grace, and to the children he has vividly portrayed, to share with us their fascinating journeys and unexpected victories as they grow into adulthood. For nearly fifty years Jonathan has pricked the conscience of his readers by laying bare the savage inequalities inflicted upon children for no reason but the accident of being born to poverty within a wealthy nation. A winner of the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and countless other honors, he has persistently crossed the lines of class and race, first as a teacher, then as the author of tender and heart-breaking books about the children he has called “the outcasts of our nation’s ingenuity.” But Jonathan is not a distant and detached reporter. His own life has been radically transformed by the children who have trusted and befriended him.


Never has this intimate acquaintance with his subjects been more apparent, or more stirring, than in Fire in the Ashes, as Jonathan tells the stories of young men and women who have come of age in one of the most destitute communities of the United States. Some of them never do recover from the battering they undergo in their early years, but many more battle back with fierce and, often, jubilant determination to overcome the formidable obstacles they face. As we watch these glorious children grow into the fullness of a healthy and contributive maturity, they ignite a flame of hope, not only for themselves, but for our society. (From Google Books)

The accordion family : boomerang kids, anxious parents, and the private toll of global competition / Katherine S. Newman

Call Number: HQ755.86 .N4888 2012

Why are adults in their twenties and thirties stuck in their parents’ homes in the world’s wealthiest countries?

There’s no question that globalization has drastically changed the cultural landscape across the world. The cost of living is rising, and high unemployment rates have created an untenable economic climate that has severely compromised the path to adulthood for young people in their twenties and thirties. And there’s no end in sight. Families are hunkering down, expanding the reach of their households to envelop economically vulnerable young adults. Acclaimed sociologist Katherine Newman explores the trend toward a rising number of “accordion families” composed of adult children who will be living off their parents’ retirement savings with little means of their own when the older generation is gone.

While the trend crosses the developed world, the cultural and political responses to accordion families differ dramatically. In Japan, there is a sense of horror and fear associated with “parasite singles,” whereas in Italy, the “cult of mammismo,” or mamma’s boys, is common and widely accepted, though the government is rallying against it. Meanwhile, in Spain, frustrated parents and millenials angrily blame politicians and big business for the growing number of youth forced to live at home.

Newman’s investigation, conducted in six countries, transports the reader into the homes of accordion families and uncovers fascinating links between globalization and the failure-to-launch trend. Drawing from over three hundred interviews, Newman concludes that nations with weak welfare states have the highest frequency of accordion families while the trend is virtually unknown in the Nordic countries. The United States is caught in between. But globalization is reshaping the landscape of adulthood everywhere, and the consequences are far-reaching in our private lives. In this gripping and urgent book, Newman urges Americans not to simply dismiss the boomerang generation but, rather, to strategize how we can help the younger generation make its own place in the world.

(From Google Books)

Land grabbers : the new fight over who owns the Earth / Fred Pearce

Call Number: HD111 .P36 2012

An unprecedented land grab is taking place around the world. Fearing future food shortages or eager to profit from them, the world’s wealthiest and most acquisitive countries, corporations, and individuals have been buying and leasing vast tracts of land around the world. The scale is astounding: parcels the size of small countries are being gobbled up across the plains of Africa, the paddy fields of Southeast Asia, the jungles of South America, and the prairies of Eastern Europe. Veteran science writer Fred Pearce spent a year circling the globe to find out who was doing the buying, whose land was being taken over, and what the effect of these massive land deals seems to be.
The Land Grabbers is a first-of-its-kind exposé that reveals the scale and the human costs of the land grab, one of the most profound ethical, environmental, and economic issues facing the globalized world in the twenty-first century. The corporations, speculators, and governments scooping up land cheap in the developing world claim that industrial-scale farming will help local economies. But Pearce’s research reveals a far more troubling reality. While some mega-farms are ethically run, all too often poor farmers and cattle herders are evicted from ancestral lands or cut off from water sources. The good jobs promised by foreign capitalists and home governments alike fail to materialize. Hungry nations are being forced to export their food to the wealthy, and corporate potentates run fiefdoms oblivious to the country beyond their fences.

Pearce’s story is populated with larger-than-life characters, from financier George Soros and industry tycoon Richard Branson, to Gulf state sheikhs, Russian oligarchs, British barons, and Burmese generals. We discover why Goldman Sachs is buying up the Chinese poultry industry, what Lord Rothschild and a legendary 1970s asset-stripper are doing in the backwoods of Brazil, and what plans a Saudi oil billionaire has for Ethiopia. Along the way, Pearce introduces us to the people who actually live on, and live off of, the supposedly “empty” land that is being grabbed, from Cambodian peasants, victimized first by the Khmer Rouge and now by crony capitalism, to African pastoralists confined to ever-smaller tracts.

Over the next few decades, land grabbing may matter more, to more of the planet’s people, than even climate change. It will affect who eats and who does not, who gets richer and who gets poorer, and whether agrarian societies can exist outside corporate control. It is the new battle over who owns the planet.

(From Google Books)