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review 2017-08-20 13:10
Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered - E.F. Schumacher

I don't know quite where to put my finger on this book, and the author perhaps shared the same sentiment. There's some eco-idealism, then it borders Luddism, then some insightful perspectives on scaling-down and decentralization.

For me at least, it failed to deliver. It's a poof of interesting dust with some golden speckles here and there.

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review 2017-05-20 00:00
50 Economics Ideas
50 Economics Ideas - Edmund Conway Q:
«Раньше я думал, что если есть такая штука, как реинкарна-
ция, в следующей жизни я хочу стать президентом, Папой
Римским или хиттером, отбивающим четыре мяча из деся-
ти, — говорил Джеймс Карвилл, отвечавший за кампанию экс-
президента США Билла Клинтона. — Но сейчас я хочу стать
рынком облигаций. Его боятся все на свете».
Кривая доходности. Лучше всего значимость рынка облигаций подчер-
кивает то, что «поведение» облигаций — это ключ к будущему данной
экономики. Кривая доходности показывает, как менялись ставки процента
по множеству разных типов облигаций во времени. При прочих равных
условиях ставки по облигациям, срок действия которых подходит к концу,
должны быть ниже ставок по облигациям, которые действительны еще
много лет, — при таком раскладе экономика в будущем станет расти, при
этом вырастет инфляция. Случается, что кривая доходности меняет форму,
и тогда ставки по облигациям, которые вот-вот будут погашены, оказывают-
ся выше, чем ставки по облигациям, срок которых наступит не скоро. Это
верный признак того, что экономика движется к рецессии: ставки процен-
та и инфляция в ближайшие годы упадут, то и другое связывается с эконо-
мическим спадом. Вот еще один пример того, что экономическая судьба
каждого из нас неразрывно связана с положением дел на рынке облигаций.
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review 2017-02-20 07:14
The End of Food: The Coming Crisis in the World Food Industry by Paul Roberts
The End Of Food - Paul Roberts

An interesting, and some-what worrying look at the emergence, ultimate costs and short-term benefits of large-scale food production over the world and the coming crisis in the world food industry.  A bit USA-centric.  This isn't a "fun' book to read, but it is informative and fairly well-written.






~  Food in History by Reay Tannahill

~  Against the Grain:  How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization by Richard Manning.~  Dirt:  The Erosion of Civilizations by David R. Montgomery.


~ Excitotoxins: The Tast that Kills by Russell L. Blaylock.

~ The Killers Within:  The Deadly Rise of Drug-Resistant Bacteria by Michael Shnayerson & Mark J. Plotkin.

~ Our Stolen Future:  Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence and Survival?  A Scientific Detective Story. by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski & John Peterson Myers.

~ Salt:  A World History by Mark Kurlansky.

~ Banana:  The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Koeppel.~  Tomatoland:  How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Out Most Alluring Fruit by Barry Estabrook.

~ The Untold History of the Potato by John Reader.


~  Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?:  The Epic Saga of the Bird that Powers Civilization by Andrew Lawler.

~ Domesticated:  Evolution in a Man-Made World by Richard C. Francis.


~  Papyrus:  The Plant that Changed the World:  From Ancient Egypt to Today's Water Wars by John Gaudet.

~  Water:  the Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization by Steven Solomon.


~  U.N. Agenda 21:  Environmental Piracy by Ileana Johnson Paugh



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review 2017-02-18 22:14
Class - Lucinda Rosenfeld
ISBN: 9780316265416
Publisher: Little Brown & Co. 
Publication Date: 1/10/2017 
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 Stars


Lucinda Rosenfeld's CLASS features New York, Karen Kipple as she struggles to balance the demands of motherhood and career, always convinced that she was shortchanging one or the other.

Married for ten years and for the last five Karen had been the director of development for a small non-profit devoted to tackling childhood hunger in the US. For the past two years, she had been trying to write an oped which she hoped one day to publish in a major newspaper, about the relationship between nutrition and school readiness.

Matt, her husband is also a career activist in the nonprofit sector and she is always worried about Ruby, her eight-year-old daughter’s education. She encourages her former lawyer husband to quit his job and work with low-income people to assist their housing needs.

Karen had enrolled her daughter at Betts, aware that it lacked the reputation for academic excellence of other schools nearby, but Ruby would be exposed to children who were less privileged than herself. Even though the white population of the school hovered around 25%. Being in the minority in what she had chosen. However, was he sacrificing her education? Diversity or inferior education?

She had always aspired to a life of making a difference and helping those less fortunate than herself. She tried to live in accordance with the politics and principals, which of course included the notion that public education was a force for good and that without racially and economically integrated school, an equal opportunity couldn’t exist.

Ruby was smart and a voracious reading and life should be good. Karen, an advocate for non-food additives and chemicals as well as diversity. She has a nice condo, hubby, and daughter, Karen’s life seemed to be good in New York; however, she is unhappy.

“Karen’s complex and contradictory relationship to eating had also grown more in the last few years, along with weight, teeth, and marriage—somehow become a dividing line between the social classes with the Earth Day — esque ideals of the 1960s having acquired snob appeal, and the well-off and well-educated increasingly buying “natural” and “fresh” and casting aspersions on those who didn’t.”

Then when a classmate of Ruby’s transfers out of Betts to a more privileged school of white students, all of Karen’s earlier thoughts and commitments, quickly vanished. Her husband wants a divorce because she enrolled Ruby in a new school without telling him.

Following the lead, she moves Ruby and then begins an affair with a rich guy, Clay, among other things. More lies. Her emotions are all over the board. Karen is torn between social classes, seeing the poor living in shelters and the rich and their superficial ways. Hypocrisy. Guilt.

She was capable of paying hundreds of dollars for an espresso machine from Italy, Karen had a deeply ingrained cheap streak as well, which caused her to do things like go to the library and photocopy the crossword puzzle from the Sunday paper rather than pay for a subscription.

Rosenfeld kicks butt and puts it all out there. With keen insights, raw honesty, a brutal portrayal ---the truth of our unequal society in urban America. With humor and highly-charged topics, the author hits the bull's eye, with CLASS.

I especially enjoyed the wide range of topics from privilege, class, identity, entitlement, education, politics, domestic, marriage, social economics, philanthropy—to ethical dilemmas, the author does not miss a beat in this delightful satire.

A tale of one woman’s struggle between the madness of liberal and reality. The lesson liberals need to learn is that despite their arrogance, they do not have the power to alter reality. From liberals to progressive—is equality among human race the exception, and inequality the norm?

Much to like here whether you are a modern-day urban parent, grandparent, or single. Smart, witty, engaging, absorbing, and thought-provoking! The hardcover was stunning with a perfect fitting cover. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions.

A special thank you to Little Brown & Co., Goodreads Giveaway, and NetGalley for a complimentary reading copy, in exchange for an honest review.


Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/12/01/Class
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review 2017-01-28 19:44
White Heat: A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties (v. 2) - Dominic Sandbrook

'The stock exchange will be pulled down, the horse plough will give way to the tractor, the country houses will be turned into children's holiday camps, the Eton and Harrow match will be forgotten, but England will still be England, an everlasting animal stretching into the future and the past, and, like all living things, having the power to change out of all recognition and yet remain the same.'


This history ends with the above quote from George Orwell, after 794 pages of fantastically written social and political history. The main premise of Sandbrook's volume is that despite the 1960s being billed as an age of social and cultural revolution, much of British society, its values and behaviours remained consistent with previous decades. He argues that the counter culture of the late 60s was a small milieu of upper-middle class youths that, for the most part, were able to rebel because they had a financial safety net to fall back on and a path back into regular society. The introduction of the birth control pill that, it has been claimed, brought on the sexual revolution and the age of free love is often highly overstated. Sandbrook argues that British sexual practices remained largely conservative and the majority sought monogamy.


Now Sandbrook it would seem, is a conservative and the argument can be made that he went into this work with a preconceived notion of what he wanted to find about the 60s and wrote his book around that. I'm sure there is an element of truth to that, nevertheless I felt that for the most part he was fair with, for example, the Labour party and Harold Wilson's government. He was sympathetic to the economic position the previous Conservative government had left behind and the challenges that Wilson's government then faced. Even though the over riding conclusions were ones that promoted a political narrative, I'm not so sure it's a false one.


I could tell after around a hundred and fifty pages that the author is passionate about modern British history, his writing was engaged, witty and in depth. There are a lot of gems. One of the things I took away that I hadn't known, was that the Labour party managed to get the bill outlawing the death penalty passed against the tide of popular opinion. In 1964 popular support for abolishing hanging sat at just 23 percent, yet the abolition passed through parliament at votes of 343 to 185. The 60s was also the decade that abortion, homosexuality and suicide were decriminalised and in that sense it represented tangible, progressive change in law in the UK. Sandbrook argues that this was a culmination of decades of campaigning rather than a sudden break in traditions coming from youth culture and I suspect here he is correct. 


The political commentary was broken up with chapters on the formation and success of acts like The Beatles. I'll admit, perhaps controversially, that I'm not particularly a fan of The Beatles. Despite this I thoroughly enjoyed Sandbrook's version of their story. He seemed to wish to exonerate McCartney, who in his view, is often billed as the less talented song writer when put up against Lennon. One draw back of the sections on the band is that Sandbrook often portrays the darker sides of Lennon's character and again, this may be in part down to politics and the idea that Lennon is often seen as the hippy in the band and the one who was most in tune with the counter cultural excesses of the late 60s. However this in my opinion doesn't take away from highly informative, interesting chapters.


If you can accept the possible political overtones of the author what lies beneath is a riveting history of Britain in the 60s, an accomplished body of work and one that I highly recommend to anyone with an interest in history.  

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