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Progressive Book Reviews

An ode to muddling through

Exactly ten years after we entered office as members of the Barroso II Commission, and were immediately confronted with the Greek debt crisis, my former colleague, the then-European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn, comes forward with his memoire under the metaphoric title: Walking the Highwire. The existential crisis of the single currency,…

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Debunking the long-held myths that keep austerity alive

John Week’s The Debt Delusion: Living Within our Means and Other Fallacies is a thought provoking book for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the sheer impossibility of separating economics from the social and political context that shapes the policies we all have to live with. This not only undermines the idea…

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Trade wars are not people’s wars

Understanding the processes and causal mechanisms that determine our world is the first step towards making good policy. Matthew C. Klein and Michael Pettis’s book, ‘Trade wars are class wars’, is an important contribution to current debates about trade and globalisation. The main argument of the book is that “rising inequality within countries heightens trade…

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Automation: a boon or bane for workers?

The economic historian Carl Benedikt Frey is perhaps best known for his estimation back in 2013 that 47% of all jobs in the US were at risk of being substituted by computers. Last year, he followed suit with a book, in which he looks at the history of automation and its social and political consequences,…

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The slow extinction of the American working class

Popular predictions about the political extinction of the working class were gross overgeneralisations. However, workers face a more direct, biological threat: Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism. Anne Case and her Nobel-laurate husband, Angus Deaton, tackle in their latest book the loss of stable jobs, the rise of inequality, the stagnation of the…

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The Pandemic and Capitalism

Once in a long while a new book comes along that challenges prevailing patterns of progressive social and economic thought in a way that is both deep and far-reaching, yet still evidently originating from within the critical left, so as – potentially – to prove persuasive to thoughtful and open-minded progressives. Capitalism on Edge: How…

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Changing everything – and how to

With the battle of ideas in full swing on how to try to spend our way out of the Covid19-induced economic meltdown, the question arises what kind of economy we actually want, and how to get there. The British economist Ann Pettifor’s ‘The Case for the Green New Deal‘, even though published half a year…

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Res Publica Europae – a European Union of the citizens

In ‘Why Europea Should become a Republic!‘, Ulrike Guérot analyses the crisis of the European Union with profound criticism and shrewd observation. “The blueprint for Europe is missing,” she notes. The way to a Res Publica with transnational democracy is blocked by the nation states and their selfish interests. Therefore, Europe is not prepared for…

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Populism as a reflection on our democracies’ shortcomings

The past few years have been marked by an unprecedented increase in the weight of populist parties. In many countries, they are now setting the tone of the debate. Not only are they shaping these countries’ domestic politics, they also have disruptive effects on the international order. This process has come like an avalanche. The…

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EU Climate Diplomacy Politics, Law and Negotiations.jpg

EU Climate Diplomacy Politics, Law and Negotiations

Heightening diplomatic capabilities to address climate change is directly linked to the increasing threat it poses and is undoubtedly a defining new policy of our times. Significant developments regarding climate diplomacy have been established at EU level which take the substantial risk for our economic, social and environmental well-being into consideration. This timely book on…

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