Globalisation is a popular topic at Five Books, and we’ve proud to have reading lists on it from extremely eminent economists, such as Dani Rodrik and Larry Summers of Harvard. In this section, we explore both globalisation and some of the issues that go with it, like the economic effects of immigration. Inequality is another side-effect of globalisation, as some people are able to capitalize and make the most of the global market, and others lose their jobs and are left behind by the economic changes it wreaks. Our interviews with Daron Acemoglu of MIT on and Branko Milanovic on inequality have been some of the most popular reading lists to appear on the site.
What to do about inequality is a separate issue. Australian economist John Quiggin suggests it’s time for the left to come up with a new ‘utopia’, some vision of how we’d like the world to be that we can work towards. Former US labour secretary (turned academic and political commentator) Robert Reich recommends some books showing how previous generations dealt with inequality crises.
Distinguished economic historian, Peter Temin, talks us through some of his favourite books. His own latest book, The Vanishing Middle Class, charts America's regression towards a pre-industrial society: with many poor, a few rich, and not much in between.
The Race between Education and Technology
by Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F Katz
Top Incomes in the Long Run of History
by Anthony B Atkinson & Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez
Why Nations Fail
by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson
by Larry M Bartels
by Simon Johnson & Simon Johnson and James Kwak
The US, the UK and many other countries have become far less equal over the past 30 years. The MIT economics professor Daron Acemoglu recommends inequality books and reading because he says it’s important we understand how and why this happened, and what it means for our societies.
Globalization benefits mankind and we are learning how better to deal with the disruption it causes. But one thing is for sure, the laws of economics are no more escapable than the laws of physics. Harvard professor and former US Treasury secretary, Larry Summers, recommends the best books on globalization.
‘When it comes to human happiness the inequalities which matter most aren’t financial. They are in terms of health or education. When it really comes down to it, what matters most is that are you well, that you are going to live a long life, that your children are going to live a long life.’
It’s not the first period in history that American society has suffered from a crisis of inequality. Former labour secretary, Robert Reich, recommends books to help us understand the response of previous generations to the same kinds of challenges we now face.
World Bank economist and author of The Haves and the Have-Nots: A Short and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality discusses global economic inequality and says internal issues of inequality breed aggressive foreign policy
What is economic development? What does it take to make it happen? What can we learn from the days Britain was still a developing country? Eminent Indian economist, Pranab Bardhan, recommends the best books to better understand economic development.