The paradoxes of the American presidency

The paradoxes of the American presidency / Thomas E. Cronin, Michael A. Genovese, Meena Bose
New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2018. 248 p.


The new edition of The Paradoxes of the American Presidency - now with three prize-winning presidential scholars: Thomas E. Cronin, Michael A. Genovese and Meena Bose - explores the complex institution of the American presidency by presenting a series of paradoxes that shape and define the office. Rewritten and updated to reflect recent political events including the presidency of Barack Obama, the 2012 and 2014 elections (with greater emphasis on the importance of the Presidential midterm election), and the primary and presidential election of 2016, this must-read fifth edition incorporates findings from the latest scholarship, recent elections and court cases, and essential survey research.


Saving capitalism: For the many, not the few

Saving capitalism: For the many, not the few / Robert B. Reich
London, GB: Icon Books, 2017. 279 p.

America was once celebrated for and defined by its large and prosperous middle class. Now, this middle class is shrinking, a new oligarchy is rising, and the country faces its greatest wealth disparity in eighty years. Why is the economic system that made America strong suddenly failing us, and how can it be fixed?
Leading political economist and bestselling author Robert B. Reich presents a paradigm-shifting, clear-eyed examination of a political and economic status quo that no longer serves the people, exposing one of the most pernicious obstructions to progress today: the enduring myth of the “free market” when, behind the curtain, it is the powerful alliances between Washington and Wall Street that control the invisible hand. Laying to rest the specious dichotomy between a free market and “big government,” Reich shows that the truly critical choice ahead is between a market organized for broad-based prosperity and one designed to deliver ever more gains to the top. Visionary and acute, Saving Capitalism illuminates the path toward restoring America’s fundamental promise of opportunity and advancement.



The art of revolt: Snowden, Assange, Manning

The art of revolt: Snowden, Assange, Manning / Geoffroy de Lagasnerie
Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 2017. 120 p.

Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Chelsea Manning are key figures in the struggles playing out in our democracies over internet use, state secrets, and mass surveillance in the age of terror. When not decried as traitors, they are seen as whistle-blowers whose crucial revelations are meant to denounce a problem or correct an injustice. Yet, for Geoffroy de Lagasnerie, they are much more than that. Snowden, Assange, and Manning are exemplars who have reinvented an art of revolt. Consciously or not, they have inaugurated a new form of political action and a new identity for the political subject. Anonymity as practiced by WikiLeaks and the flight and requests for asylum of Snowden and Assange break with traditional forms of democratic protest. Yet we can hardly dismiss them as acts of cowardice. Rather, as Lagasnerie suggests, such solitary choices challenge us to question classic modes of collective action, calling old conceptions of the state and citizenship into question and inviting us to reformulate the language of critical philosophy. In the process, he pays homage to the actions and lives of these three figures.


On the theory of Chinese ideology

The economic socialisation of young peopleOn the theory of Chinese ideology / Tony Kosuge
London: Focalpoint, 2012. 400 p.

Some have rightly argued that the origin of the current global economic crisis came from Japan where its deflationary economy, which started in the early 1990s, grew into a twenty-five year depression fuelled by rising public debt, endless quantitative easing and a shocking drop in the country’s birth rate.

Are we following the path of Japan, or the “Japanese disease”, in Europe or in America? If so, what should be the remedy for this contagion?

On the Theory of Chinese Ideology offers convincing answers to the most fundamental questions facing the global deflationary economy today.


The confidence trap: A history of democracy in crisis from World War I to the present

The economic socialisation of young peopleThe confidence trap: A history of democracy in crisis from World War I to the present / David Runciman

Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2013. 381 p.

Why do democracies keep lurching from success to failure? The current financial crisis is just the latest example of how things continue to go wrong, just when it looked like they were going right. In this wide-ranging, original, and compelling book, David Runciman tells the story of modern democracy through the history of moments of crisis, from the First World War to the economic crash of 2008.
A global history with a special focus on the United States, The Confidence Trap examines how democracy survived threats ranging from the Great Depression to the Cuban missile crisis, and from Watergate to the collapse of Lehman Brothers. It also looks at the confusion and uncertainty created by unexpected victories, from the defeat of German autocracy in 1918 to the defeat of communism in 1989. Throughout, the book pays close attention to the politicians and thinkers who grappled with these crises: from Woodrow Wilson, Nehru, and Adenauer to Fukuyama and Obama.
The Confidence Trap shows that democracies are good at recovering from emergencies but bad at avoiding them. The lesson democracies tend to learn from their mistakes is that they can survive them--and that no crisis is as bad as it seems. Breeding complacency rather than wisdom, crises lead to the dangerous belief that democracies can muddle through anything--a confidence trap that may lead to a crisis that is just too big to escape, if it hasn't already. The most serious challenges confronting democracy today are debt, the war on terror, the rise of China, and climate change. If democracy is to survive them, it must figure out a way to break the confidence trap.


The value of nothing: How to reshape market society and redefine democracy

The economic socialisation of young peopleThe value of nothing: How to reshape market society and redefine democracy / Raj Patel
New York: Picador, 2009. 250 p.

Opening with Oscar Wilde's observation that "nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing," Patel shows how our faith in prices as a way of valuing the world is misplaced.  He reveals the hidden ecological and social costs of a hamburger (as much as $200), and asks how we came to have markets in the first place.  Both the corporate capture of government and our current financial crisis, Patel argues, are a result of our democratically bankrupt political system.
If part one asks how we can rebalance society and limit markets, part two answers by showing how social organizations, in America and around the globe, are finding new ways to describe the world's worth.  If we don't want the market to price every aspect of our lives, we need to learn how such organizations have discovered democratic ways in which people, and not simply governments, can play a crucial role in deciding how we might share our world and its resources in common.
This short, timely and inspiring book reveals that our current crisis is not simply the result of too much of the wrong kind of economics.  While we need to rethink our economic model, Patel argues that the larger failure beneath the food, climate and economic crises is a political one.  If economics is about choices, Patel writes, it isn't often said who gets to make them.  The Value of Nothing offers a fresh and accessible way to think about economics and the choices we will all need to make in order to create a sustainable economy and society.


From perestroika to rainbow revolutions

From perestroikaFrom perestroika to rainbow revolutions: Reform and revolution after socialism / Vicken Cheterian
London: Hurst, 2013. 249 p.

Twenty-five years after Gorbachev came to power and two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the questions that were behind the reform efforts at the start of Perestroika are still relevant: how to modernise the economy, and how to recreate a basis for political legitimacy? The wave of 'Colour Revolutions' that precipitated regime change in Eastern Europe, starting in Serbia, and later in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, were carried out in the name of democratic legitimacy, and in order to fight corruption. The current debate in Moscow under the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev revolves around the same idea: what is the way forward for Russia's modernisation, economically and politically? This volume brings together six experts on East Europe and the former Soviet Union to compare and evaluate the evolution of ideas behind Gorbachev's reforms, Yeltsin's transition, and the more recent wave of the Colour Revolutions. It does not propose a coherent regard to these historic events, but rather dispersed discussion from various perspectives tracing the contradictory development of ideas of reform, the transformation of the notion of revolution, on the role of civil society, and individual chapters from the four cases of Colour Revolutions. Contributors: Catherine Samary, Jean-Arnault Derens, Ghia Nodia, Dominique Arel, Anara Tabyshalieva.