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The Library will be closed Monday September 1 for Labor Day

Economy/Politics/Consumerism

*All summaries from Amazon.com unless otherwise stated.

The End of Growth by Richard Heinberg
Economists insist that recovery is at hand, yet unemployment remains high, real estate values continue to sink, and governments stagger under record deficits. The End of Growth proposes a startling diagnosis: humanity has reached a fundamental turning point in its economic history. The expansionary trajectory of industrial civilization is colliding with non-negotiable natural limits. The End of Growth describes what policy makers, communities, and families can do to build a new economy that operates within Earth’s budget of energy and resources. We can thrive during the transition if we set goals that promote human and environmental well-being, rather than continuing to pursue the now-unattainable prize of ever-expanding GDP.

The Chinese Century by Oded Shenkar
By 2015, China may well have the world's largest economy. In The Chinese Century, Oded Shenkar shows how China is restoring its imperial glory by infusing modern technology and market economics into a non-democratic system controlled by the Communist party and bureaucracy. Shenkar shows why China's quest for global success differs radically from predecessors such as Japan, India, and Mexico... why it represents a fundamental restructuring of the global business system... and why it will transform the roles of participants in the global economy. He previews tomorrow's new competitive ground rules, terms of employment, and consumption patterns, and shows how Chinese ascendancy is redrawing political, economic, and social battle lines. Learn why the U.S. is most vulnerable to China's ascent... how China's disregard for intellectual property creates sustainable competitive advantage... how China's growth impacts global businesses and individual purchasing decisions. Above all, Shenkar shows what you must do to survive and prosper in "The Chinese Century."

Learning to Count What Really Counts by Tom Bender
Values and the sacred may seem to be strange bed-fellows with economics. This book shows that they are not only compatible, but essential elements of achieving immense economic productivity gains that can create a secure, abundant and caring future for all. Advocates for community well-being, ecological health, and wiser patterns of living have long shied away from root issues of economics, because it seemed their ideas were insupportable by rigorous economic analysis. No more. Bender provides clear documentation that economics based on values, ecology, and the sacred out-performs conventional economics by an order of magnitude. In the process, our conventional economic tools such as "future discounting" and "present value accounting" are shown to be what they really are - ways to conceal the real costs of policies that benefit special interests.

Eco-Economy by Lester R. Brown
In 1543, Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus challenged the view that the Sun revolved around the Earth, arguing instead that the Earth revolved around the Sun. His paper led to a revolution in thinking—to a new worldview. Eco-Economy discusses the need today for a similar shift in our worldview. The issue now is whether the environment is part of the economy or the economy is part of the environment. Lester R. Brown argues the latter, pointing out that treating the environment as part of the economy has produced an economy that is destroying its natural support systems.

Imperial Ambitions by Noam Chomsky
Timely, urgent, and powerfully elucidating, this important volume of previously unpublished interviews conducted by award-winning radio journalist David Barsamian features Noam Chomsky discussing America’s policies in an increasingly unstable world. With his famous insight, lucidity, and redoubtable grasp of history, Chomsky offers his views on the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the doctrine of “preemptive” strikes against so-called rogue states, and the prospects of the second Bush administration, warning of the growing threat to international peace posed by the U.S. drive for domination. In his inimitable style, Chomsky also dissects the propaganda system that fabricates a mythic past and airbrushes inconvenient facts out of history. Barsamian, recipient of the ACLU’s Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism, has conducted more interviews and radio broadcasts with Chomsky than has any other journalist. Enriched by their unique rapport, Imperial Ambitions explores topics Chomsky has never before discussed, among them the 2004 presidential campaign and election, the future of Social Security, and the increasing threat, including devastating weather patterns, of global warming. The result is an illuminating dialogue with one of the leading thinkers of our time—and a startling picture of the turbulent times in which we live.

The Tyranny of Oil by Antonia Juhasz
Who's really driving oil and gas prices? How much oil is left? How far will Big Oil go to get it, and at what cost to the environment, human rights, the economy, worker safety, public health, and democracy? Here, at last, are the answers we've been looking for—and the inside story on Big Oil. In The Tyranny of Oil, Antonia Juhasz investigates the true state of the companies collectively known as "Big Oil," uncovering their unparalleled global financial power, their political dominance, and their increasingly destructive plans for the future. And she tells us what we can do about it.

What’s the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank
What's the Matter with Kansas? unravels the great political mystery of our day: Why do so many Americans vote against their economic and social interests? With his acclaimed wit and acuity, Thomas Frank answers the riddle by examining his home state, Kansas-a place once famous for its radicalism that now ranks among the nation's most eager participants in the culture wars. Charting what he calls the "thirty-year backlash"-the popular revolt against a supposedly liberal establishment-Frank reveals how conservatism, once a marker of class privilege, became the creed of millions of ordinary Americans.

Global Spin by Sharon Beder
Global Spin reveals the sophisticated techniques being used around the world by powerful conservative forces to try to change the way the public and politicians think about the environment. Large corporations are using their influence to reshape public opinion, to weaken gains made by environmentalists, and to turn politicians against increased environmental regulation.

Global Capitalism by Jeffry A. Frieden
In 1900 international trade reached unprecedented levels and the world's economies were more open to one another than ever before. Then as now, many people considered globalization to be inevitable and irreversible. Yet the entire edifice collapsed in a few months in 1914. Globalization is a choice, not a fact. It is a result of policy decisions and the politics that shape them. Jeffry A. Frieden's insightful history explores the golden age of globalization during the early years of the century, its swift collapse in the crises of 1914-45, the divisions of the Cold War world, and the turn again toward global integration at the end of the century. His history is full of character and event, as entertaining as it is enlightening.

Been Brown so Long, It Looked Like Green to Me by Jeffrey St. Clair
Covering everything from toxics to electric power plays, St. Clair gives you a shocking view of how money and power determine the state of our environment. St. Clair names the culprits and exposes the deeds. The book opens with Oregon as a metaphor for the nation. Now becoming "Californicated," Oregon’s mythological beauty is transforming into just that: more myth every day.

Made to Break by Giles Slade
Made to Break is a history of twentieth-century technology as seen through the prism of obsolescence. America invented everything that is now disposable, Giles Slade tells us, and he explains how disposability was in fact a necessary condition for America's rejection of tradition and our acceptance of change and impermanence. His book shows us the ideas behind obsolescence at work in such American milestones as the inventions of branding, packaging, and advertising; the contest for market dominance between GM and Ford; the struggle for a national communications network, the development of electronic technologies--and with it the avalanche of electronic consumer waste that will overwhelm America's landfills and poison its water within the coming decade.

Cheap by David Bosshart
Manufactured goods have been getting cheaper, both in absolute terms and relative to services. Since the Consumer Prices Index was first launched in 1996, the prices of "goods" have fallen an average 2%; while the prices of services have risen 35%. The most talked about example has been in textiles: since 1996, the average price of clothes has fallen 36%. But it is not just clothes that have been falling in price: new cars are 1.5% cheaper than they were in 1996; household appliances are 24% cheaper; toys are 30% cheaper, and of course, in the audio-visual category, you'll find things are on average now 56% cheaper than they were nine years ago.