856 episodes

Interviews with Economists about their New Books
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New Books in Economics Marshall Poe

    • Science

Interviews with Economists about their New Books
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    Tim Walker and Lucian Morris, "The Handbook of Banking Technology" (John Wiley & Sons, 2021)

    Tim Walker and Lucian Morris, "The Handbook of Banking Technology" (John Wiley & Sons, 2021)

    In The Handbook of Banking Technology (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), Walker and Morris provide a first comprehensive view of the systems that support a bank. During the interview, they bring out the interactions of these components and how the themes they touch on in the book come together. Years of first-hand experience combined with detailed research come together to explain the intricacies of the technological architecture of modern banking. Quite often the authors provide a long-term perspective of how these applications develop in order to provide a better understanding of how we got to where we are. 
    The other podcast mentioned in this interview is James Bessen "The New Goliaths". 
    Bernardo Batiz-Lazo is currently straddling between Newcastle and Mexico City. You can find him on twitter on issues related to business history of banking, fintech, payments and other musings. Not always in that order. @BatizLazo
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    • 1 hr 22 min
    Jennifer Mittelstadt and Mark R. Wilson, "The Military and the Market" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2022)

    Jennifer Mittelstadt and Mark R. Wilson, "The Military and the Market" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2022)

    Throughout its history, the U.S. military has worked in close connection to market-based institutions and structures. It has run systems of free and unfree labor, taken over private sector firms, and both spurred and snuffed out economic development. It has created new markets―for consumer products, for sex work, and for new technologies. It has operated as a regulator of industries and firms and an arbitrator of labor practices. And in recent decades it has gone so far as to refashion itself from the inside, so as to become more similar to a for-profit corporation.
    The Military and the Market (U Pennsylvania Press, 2022) covers two centuries of history of the U.S. military’s vast and varied economic operations, including its often tense relationships with capitalist markets. Collecting new scholarship at the intersection of the fields of military history, business history, policy history, and the history of capitalism, the nine chapters feature important new research on subjects ranging from Civil War soldier-entrepreneurs, to the business of the construction of housing and overseas bases for the Cold War, to the U.S. military’s troubled relationships with markets for sex. The volume enriches scholars’ understandings of the depth and complexity of military-market relations in U.S. history and offers today’s military policymakers novel insights about the origins of current arrangements and how they might be reimagined.
    Jennifer Mittelstadt is Professor of History at Rutgers University and author of The Rise of the Military Welfare State.
    Mark R. Wilson is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and author of Destructive Creation: American Business and the Winning of World War II, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.
    Alex Beckstrand is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Connecticut, a lecturer at Central Connecticut State University, and an officer in the Marine Corps Reserves. He works in the aerospace industry.
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    • 53 min
    Kasia Paprocki, "Threatening Dystopias: The Global Politics of Climate Change Adaptation in Bangladesh" (Cornell UP, 2021)

    Kasia Paprocki, "Threatening Dystopias: The Global Politics of Climate Change Adaptation in Bangladesh" (Cornell UP, 2021)

    In Threatening Dystopias: The Global Politics of Climate Change Adaptation in Bangladesh (Cornell UP, 2021), Kasia Paprocki challenges two well-worn assumptions about climate change and its relationship with the political economy of development and agriculture, in Bangladesh, which helps shed light on how climate change becomes a politically contested category, in countries across the Global South. The first, is that climate change is simply a contemporary phenomenon without a longer history embedded in the ecology, economics, politics, and social relations in the region. Second, that climate change is the driver of the increased vulnerability of large swaths of the Bangladeshi population, like the community she closely follows in Khulna, in the southwestern part of the country.
    Through fine-grained ethnographic and archival detail, Paprocki engages with developers, policy makers, scientists, farmers, and rural migrants to show how Bangladeshi and global elites ignore the history of landscape transformation and its attendant conflicts in advancing certain ‘climate adaptation’ agendas, which have dire consequences for the most marginalized. 
    She looks at how groups craft economic narratives and strategies that redistribute power and resources away from peasant communities. Although these groups claim that increased production of export commodities will reframe the threat of climate change into an opportunity for economic development and growth, the reality is not so simple. For the country's rural poor, these promises ring hollow.
    As development dispossesses the poor from agrarian livelihoods, outmigration from peasant communities leads to precarious existences in urban centers. And a vision of development in which urbanization and export-led growth are both desirable and inevitable is not one the land and its people can sustain. Threatening Dystopias shows how a powerful rural movement, although hampered by an all-consuming climate emergency, is seeking climate justice in Bangladesh.
    Archit Guha is a PhD researcher at the Duke University History Department. 
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    • 1 hr 4 min
    Public Participation and Contested Hydropower Development in the Mekong River Basin

    Public Participation and Contested Hydropower Development in the Mekong River Basin

    Regional demand for renewable hydropower from the Mekong River and its tributaries in Laos is on the rise. In June 2022, Laos exported one hundred megawatts of hydropower to Singapore via Thailand and Malaysia – a historic milestone that further establishes Laos as the battery of Asia. However, these developments take place amid rising concerns for the ecological future of the transboundary Mekong River and the millions of people who depend on it.
    Joining Dr Natali Pearson on SSEAC Stories, Dr Ming Li Yong exposes how further hydropower development on the Mekong River could negatively affect ecosystems, resulting in decreased food security and jeopardising livelihoods in the river basin. She also discusses processes of public consultation and how they fail to consider local communities’ opinions on these contested projects.
    About Ming Li Yong:
    Ming Li is a Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawai’i. She researches transboundary water governance and hydropower development in the Mekong River Basin. Her research focuses on community-based natural resource management, civil society movements, public participation, and the institutional arrangements that influence the politics of water resources development in the Mekong region. She received her Ph.D. from The University of Sydney and has previously taught courses on environmental ethics, sustainability, and food at the School for Field Studies and Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia, and at the National Institute of Education in Singapore.
    For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website: www.sydney.edu.au/sseac.
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    • 23 min
    Rebecca Giblin and Cory Doctorow, "Chokepoint Capitalism: How Big Tech and Big Content Captured Creative Labor Markets and How We'll Win Them Back" (Beacon Press, 2022)

    Rebecca Giblin and Cory Doctorow, "Chokepoint Capitalism: How Big Tech and Big Content Captured Creative Labor Markets and How We'll Win Them Back" (Beacon Press, 2022)

    Corporate concentration has breached the stratosphere, as have corporate profits. An ever-expanding constellation of industries are now monopolies (where sellers have excessive power over buyers) or monopsonies (where buyers hold the whip hand over sellers)—or both.
    In Chokepoint Capitalism: How Big Tech and Big Content Captured Creative Labor Markets and How We'll Win Them Back (Beacon, 2022), scholar Dr. Rebecca Giblin and writer and activist Cory Doctorow argue we’re in a new era of “chokepoint capitalism,” with exploitative businesses creating insurmountable barriers to competition that enable them to capture value that should rightfully go to others. All workers are weakened by this, but the problem is especially well-illustrated by the plight of creative workers. From Amazon’s use of digital rights management and bundling to radically change the economics of book publishing, to Google and Facebook’s siphoning away of ad revenues from news media, and the Big Three record labels’ use of inordinately long contracts to up their own margins at the cost of artists, chokepoints are everywhere.
    By analyzing book publishing and news, live music and music streaming, screenwriting, radio and more, Giblin and Doctorow deftly show how powerful corporations construct “anti-competitive flywheels” designed to lock in users and suppliers, make their markets hostile to new entrants, and then force workers and suppliers to accept unfairly low prices.
    In the book’s second half, Giblin and Doctorow then explain how to batter through those chokepoints, with tools ranging from transparency rights to collective action and ownership, radical interoperability, contract terminations, job guarantees, and minimum wages for creative work.
    Chokepoint Capitalism is a call to workers of all sectors to unite to help smash these chokepoints and take back the power and profit that’s being heisted away—before it’s too late.
    This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.
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    • 46 min
    Aynne Kokas, "Trafficking Data: How China Is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty" (Oxford UP, 2022)

    Aynne Kokas, "Trafficking Data: How China Is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty" (Oxford UP, 2022)

    On August 6, 2020, the Trump Administration issued a ban on TikTok in the United States, requiring that the owner, Beijing-based Bytedance, sell the company to American investors or shut it down. Legions of TikTokers were devastated at the possible loss of their beloved platform, and for what: a political grudge with China? American suitors like Walmart and Oracle tried to make a deal with Bytedance to keep the platform operating in the US. But then something curious happened. The Chinese government refused to let Bytedance sell TikTok on national security grounds. As it turns out, the pandemic era platform for dance challenges is a Chinese government asset.
    As digital technologies and social media have evolved into organizing forces for the way in which we conduct our work and social lives, the business logic that undergirds these digital platforms has become clear: we are their product. We give these businesses information about everything--from where we live and work to what we like to do for entertainment, what we consume, where we travel, what we think politically, and with whom we are friends and acquaintances. We do this willingly, but often without a full understanding of how this information is stored or used, or what happens to it when it crosses international boundaries. As Aynne Kokas argues, both corporations and governments traffic much of this data without our consent--and sometimes illegally--for political and financial gain.
    In Trafficking Data: How China Is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty (Oxford UP, 2022), Aynne Kokas looks at how technology firms in the two largest economies in the world, the United States and China, have exploited government policy (and the lack thereof) to gather information on citizens, putting US national security at risk. Kokas argues that US government leadership failures, Silicon Valley's disruption fetish, and Wall Street's addiction to growth have fuelled China's technological goldrush. In turn, American complacency yields an unprecedented opportunity for Chinese firms to gather data in the United States and quietly send it back to China, and by extension, to the Chinese government. Drawing on years of fieldwork in the US and China and a large trove of corporate and policy documents, Trafficking Data explains how China is fast becoming the global leader in internet governance and policy, and thus of the data that defines our public and private lives.
    Peter Lorentzen is economics professor at the University of San Francisco. He heads USF's Applied Economics Master's program, which focuses on the digital economy. His research is mainly on China's political economy.
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    • 54 min

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