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Political Economy

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Private Investment without Public Commitment

Volatility in commodity prices has been accompanied by perpetual renegotiation of contracts between private investors in natural resource production and the governments of states with mineral and energy wealth. When prices skyrocket, governments want a larger share of revenues, sometimes to the point of nationalization or expropriation; when prices fall, larger state participation becomes a burden and the private sector is called back in.

There is nothing wrong with economics, Dean Baker contends, but economists routinely ignore their own principles when it comes to economic policy. What would policy look like if we took basic principles of mainstream economics seriously and applied them consistently? In the debate over regulation, for example, Baker--one of the few economists who predicted the meltdown of fall 2008--points out that ideological blinders have obscured the fact there is no “free market” to protect.

This book offers a rigorous, concise, and nontechnical introduction to some of the fundamental insights of rational choice theory. It draws on formal theories of microeconomics, decision making, games, and social choice, and on ideas developed in philosophy, psychology, and sociology. Itzhak Gilboa argues that economic theory has provided a set of powerful models and broad insights that have changed the way we think about everyday life.

East Asian countries were notably uninterested in regional monetary integration until the late 1990s, when the Asian financial crisis revealed the fragility of the region's exchange rate arrangements and highlighted the need for a stronger regional financial architecture. Since then, the countries of East Asia have begun taking steps to explore monetary and financial cooperation, establishing such initiatives as regular consultations among finance ministers and central bank governors and the pooling of foreign exchange reserves.

Financial Markets, Social Struggles, and New Political Scenarios

Crisis in the Global Economy is the latest and most innovative collective reflection on the state of global capitalism, developed in the mobile "multiversity" of the UniNomade network of international researchers and activists during the months immediately following the first signals of the current financial and economic crisis. It constitutes the first organic and interdisciplinary attempt to analyze a crisis that is not merely financial in nature but implicates globalization and neoliberal capitalism.

The Economic Causes and Consequences of Conflict
Edited by Gregory D. Hess

Guns and Butter examines the causes and consequences of war from a political economy perspective, taking as its premise that a consideration of the incentives and constraints faced by individuals and groups is paramount in understanding conflict decision making. The chapter authors—leading economists and political scientists—believe that this perspective offers deeper insights into war and peace choices than the standard state-centric approach. Their contributions offer both theoretical and empirical support for the political economy perspective on conflict.

From the New Economy to the War Economy

The Swiss-Italian economist Christian Marazzi is one of the core theorists of the Italian postfordist movement, along with Antonio Negri, Paolo Virno, and Bifo (Franco Berardi). But although his work is often cited by scholars (particularly by those in the field of "Cognitive Capitalism"), his writing has never appeared in English. This translation of his most recent work, Capital and Language (published in Italian in 2002), finally makes Marazzi's work available to an English-speaking audience.

A Revolution in Economics

Revolutionary developments in economics are rare. The conservative bias of the field and its enshrined knowledge make it difficult to introduce new ideas not in line with received theory. Happiness research, however, has the potential to change economics substantially in the future.

The rapidly aging populations of many developed countries—most notably Japan and member countries of the European Union—present obvious problems for the public pension plans of these countries. Not only will there be disproportionately fewer workers making pension contributions than there are retirees drawing pension benefits, but the youth-to-age imbalance would significantly affect the total contributive capacity of future generations and hence their total income growth.

The Malaise of the World's First Welfare State

What has happened to the German economic miracle? Rebuilding from the rubble and ruin of two world wars, Germany in the second half of the twentieth century recaptured its economic strength. High-quality German-made products ranging from precision tools to automobiles again conquered world markets, and the country experienced stratospheric growth and virtually full employment. Germany (or West Germany, until 1989) returned to its position as the economic powerhouse of Europe and became the world's third-largest economy after the United States and Japan.

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