Among the crop of new books on business and economics, some titles about behavioral economics and reform of US government institutions caught my eye.
Fed Up: An Insider’s Take on Why the Federal Reserve is Bad for America, by Danielle DiMartino Booth. Booth’s book is a first-hand critique of the policies of the Federal Reserve. Working at the Dallas Fed right around the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis, she has sharp words for what she terms “out of touch academics in ivory towers.” The policy of quantitative easing, she believes, has resulted in a sluggish recovery and marginalized the vast majority of American workers. Booth’s solution is to both simplify the Fed’s role via Congress and to hire fewer academics and more hands-on professionals.
A Fine Mess: A Global Quest for a Simpler, Fairer, and More Efficient Tax System, by T.R. Reid. The US tax code is notoriously complex and full of loopholes and special interest provisions, features only accountants tend to enjoy. Journalist T.R. Reid believes our tax code can be reformed in favor of a simpler system and he researches tax codes across the world to bring ideas home to the US. All the more pressing now that Trump has introduced his own attempt at tax code reform, Reid believes that cutting taxes and increasing revenues are not mutually exclusive.
Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought, by Andrew Lo. Andrew Lo of MIT has based his career upon behavioral economics in the markets. Lo’s new book discusses his adaptive markets hypothesis: financial “evolution” shapes behavior and markets rapidly, vacillating between stability and crisis. As Lo says: “ Economic expansions and contractions are the consequences…of adapting to changing financial environments, and bubbles and crashes are the result when the change occurs too quickly.” He applies his theory to hedge funds and the 2008 crisis and explores the concept of market efficiency and its failures.
There are quite a few interesting books publishing just in time for summer. I’ll share more recommendations in a future blog post. If you read any of these books, share your thoughts and opinions via the comments below.