Here you will find a list of our most recent book reviews:
Ethical Machines (published 2022) considers the moral questions associated with the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. It is aimed at the business community and seeks to dispel myths and scepticism relating to ethics in the context of AI, encouraging businesses integrate ethical questions into their consideration of AI issues and suggesting how they might do so. It offers plenty of food for thought.”
The Power of Creative Destruction by P. Aghion et al.
The target audience of The Power of Creative Destruction (published 2021) is less clear but anyone who is interested in the economics of innovation and is not put off by innumerable graphs will find it valuable. The authors draw attention to a number of studies that should challenge those from all parts of the political spectrum and challenge policy makes to accompany the process of creative destruction without obstructing it.
The Wealth of Religions by R. M. McCleary and R. J. Barro
The Wealth of Religions (published 2019) is an unusual book. It explores both the interplay between religion and economic growth and issues associated with the connection between religion and the political economy. There is an element of miscellany about it but it addresses interesting and thought provoking questions and the diversity of its material should ensure that a wide range of readers will be interested in at least some parts of it.
Democratic Capitalism at a Crossroads By Charles Boix
Democratic Capitalism at a Crossroads (published 2021) is a further book that considers the impact of technological change on society. It does so by exploring 19th Century Manchester capitalism, 20th Century Detroit capitalism and 21st Century Silicon Valley capitalism. It is well written, comprehensively researched and undogmatic, presenting arguments both for and against its various proposals.
Humans as a Service by Jeremias Prassl
In Humans as a Service, Prassl re-evaluates the merits and pitfalls of the “gig economy” and seeks to discover ways that society might benefit from it without falling into extreme forms of labour force commodification. The book focusses on regulatory solutions and lacks a discussion of broader considerations but it is nonetheless a good and informative read.
Management as a Calling by Andrew J. Hoffman
Management as a Calling (published 2021) is not written overtly from a religious perspective although the author speaks with evangelistic fervour, challenging business students and those involved in business to embrace fundamental values and thus address the challenges of modern business, including especially climate change. The book is brief and at times superficial and utopian but it contains much that is thought provoking.
Putting Purpose into Practice eds. by Colin Mayer & Bruno Roche
Putting Purpose into Practice (published 2021) is the product of an extensive research programme undertaken between Mars Catalyst, which is the internal think-tank of the Mars company, and the Saïd Business School. It seeks to achieve far too much and would have been more coherent if it had contained and been shaped by a clear definition of what it calls the “economics of mutuality”. However, it contains some significant insights, offering areas for further research and useful debates on important topics.”
Money and the Rule of Law by Peter J. Boettke, Alexander William Salter and Daniel J. Smith
Money and the Rule of Law (published 2021) is more specialist than most of the books that we have reviewed: it deals with the question, whether discretionary central banking is a good or a bad thing. It nonetheless deserves to be widely read since it raises issues of societal importance that deserve to be debated far more widely than they are. The authors argue that there are practical reasons for rejecting discretionary central banking and, more fundamentally, that it is inconsistent with the rule of law and thus incompatible with liberal democracy. The book is US centric but the issues are of general applicability and, despite being technical in part, is not a difficult read.
Reimagining Capitalism: How business can save the world by Rebecca Henderson
Reimagining Capitalism: How business can save the world (published 2020) covers some of the same group as Mayer’s work. Rebecca Henderson is a staunch believer in the positive power of Capitalism but she argues that its defects are such that it is necessary to “reimagine” it. She then sets out a five foundation blocks for this reimagination, including abandoning the concept of shareholder value in favour of the creation of shared value and the adoption by enterprises of an authentic purpose. Whilst these ideas are not new, Henderson has provided a readable and passionate discussion of them.
The World Made Otherwise by Timothy J. Gorringe
Timothy Gorringe’s more recent book, The World Made Otherwise (published 2018) repeats his call for radical, political, economic and social change and environmental issues have added to the imperative tone of his appeals for this. Unfortunately, his proposals are Utopian and the book is unlikely to prove persuasive to those who do not share his liberal Christian and Marxist views.