roundup//economy

November 23, 2008|By Geeta Sharma-Jensen | Geeta Sharma-Jensen,McClatchy-Tribune

Obamanomics: How Bottom-Up Economic Prosperity Will Replace Trickle-Down Economics

By John Talbott

Seven Stories Press / 256 pages / $16.95

A former investment banker, John Talbott prescribes the president-elect's primary work in the first months of office. Trickle-down economics of the Bush years did not work, he says. The solution, he writes, is to reform lobbying and campaign contributions so that government can regulate major industries such as banking, insurance, airlines and pharmaceuticals as it should.

The Ascent of Money

By Niall Ferguson

Penguin Press / 432 pages / $29.95

Niall Ferguson gives a historic perspective of economic catastrophe. He details how since ancient Babylon, "money is the root of most progress" and that "the ascent of money has been essential to the ascent of man." He discusses the origins of the world's first stock market in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and explains why a market bubble set in motion by a Scots murderer (who went on to head the treasury in France) later gave rise to the French Revolution. The bond market played starring roles in the Seven Years' War and the American Civil War, he notes.

The Return of Depression Economics

By Paul Krugman

W.W. Norton / 191 pages / $24.95

In this revised edition of his 2000 work, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman gives examples of government help during financial crises (President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933; Sweden in the early 1990s; Japan in 1998), and writes that the government may need to put more capital into the banking system and make sure the money reaches the proper places to thaw credit. The effort should be global, with other countries involved, because developing countries also need to be rescued, he says, adding that non-bank institutions (which helped create the current crisis) should be subject to regulation. To be released Dec. 1.

The Subprime Solution: How Today's Global Financial Crisis Happened, and What to Do About It

By Robert J. Shiller

Princeton University Press / 208 pages / $16.95

Yale University economist Robert J. Shiller focuses on the stock market bubble of the 1990s and the housing market bubble of the past seven years, which led lenders to loosen requirements for loans and resell these questionable loans in the subprime market. He shows how the bubble, when overheated housing prices cooled and asset values fell, burst and led directly to the subprime mortgage crisis that torpedoed the credit markets and, with them, stock markets worldwide.

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