Project Syndicate: “Europe’s Inevitable Haircut” by Barry Eichengreen

What once could be dismissed as simply a Greek crisis, or simply a Greek and Irish crisis, is now clearly a eurozone crisis. Resolving that crisis is both easier and more difficult than is commonly supposed.

The economics is really quite simple. Greece has a budget problem. Ireland has a banking problem. Portugal has a private-debt problem. Spain has a combination of all three. But, while the specifics differ, the implications are the same: all must now endure excruciatingly painful spending cuts.

The standard way to buffer the effects of austerity is to marry domestic cuts to devaluation of the currency. Devaluation renders exports more competitive, thus substituting external demand for the domestic demand that is being compressed.

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Barry Eichengreen is George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939, and two Princeton books: The European Economy since 1945: Coordinated Capitalism and Beyond and Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System.

Project Syndicate: “Doing Poorly by Doing Good” by Raghuram Rajan

The new catchphrase in business seems to be “do well by doing good.” In other words, undertaking socially responsible activities boosts profits. For example, Pepsi bolsters its bottom line by shifting to more nutritious, healthier food.

Yet, in much of the world, doing well still implies that you must be up to no good, especially if you are dealing with the poor. A recent case in point is the imbroglio in Andhra Pradesh in India, where the administration has moved to curb microfinance.

Microfinance has become the darling of development enthusiasts. After all, who could be against an activity that produces uplifting stories like the cell phone ladies of Bangladesh, who lift themselves out of poverty by obtaining loans to buy phones and then selling minutes to others in the village.

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Raghuram Rajan is Professor of Finance at the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, and author of Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy (Princeton), which was recently awarded The Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.

Five Princeton best sellers in Politics/Law, from LJ

Five Princeton books were listed as best sellers in Politics/Law since February 2010 in Library Journal! At number three was Derek Bok’s The Politics of Happiness: What Government Can Learn from the New Research on Well-Being. Number nine was Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents by Ian Buruma, and seventeen was How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace by Charles A. Kupchan. Closely following was W.G. Runciman’s Great Books, Bad Arguments at nineteen and Norman M. Naimark’s Stalin’s Genocides at twenty.

You can see the full list here.

Congratulations, all!

Project Syndicate: “The Last Line of Decency” by Ian Buruma

Every Friday afternoon for more than a year, hundreds of Israeli Jews have gathered on a dusty little square in the middle of Arab East Jerusalem. There are some Palestinians there, too, including a couple of boys selling fresh orange juice. The people gather there, in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, to protest the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes to make way for Israeli settlers.

These evictions are humiliating, sometimes violent, and frightening to other Palestinian families – who are in danger of losing their homes as well. Israeli students were the first to organize a protest, known as the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement. They were followed by distinguished professors, famous novelists, and a former attorney general, among others.

At first, the Israeli police used force against the protesters, even though such demonstrations are perfectly legal in Israel. This provoked such bad publicity that the police backed off, while still blocking the road to the new settlements. All the demonstrators can do is hold up signs, bang drums, chant slogans, and show solidarity just by turning up.

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Ian Buruma is the Henry R. Luce Professor of Democracy, Human Rights, and Journalism at Bard College. His latest book is Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents (Princeton). He is a regular contributor to many publications, including the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, the Guardian, and the Financial Times.

Another from Project Syndicate: “The Euro at Mid-Crisis” by Kenneth Rogoff

Now that the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have committed €67.5 billion to rescue Ireland’s troubled banks, is the eurozone’s debt crisis finally nearing a conclusion?

Unfortunately, no. In fact, we are probably only at the mid-point of the crisis. To be sure, a huge, sustained burst of growth could still cure all of Europe’s debt problems – as it would anyone’s. But that halcyon scenario looks increasingly improbable. The endgame is far more likely to entail a wave of debt write-downs, similar to the one that finally wound up the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980’s.

For starters, there are more bailouts to come, with Portugal at the top of the list. With an average growth rate of less than 1% over the past decade, and arguably the most sclerotic labor market in Europe, it is hard to see how Portugal can grow out of its massive debt burden.

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Kenneth S. Rogoff is the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and professor of economics at Harvard University, was formerly chief economist at the IMF. He is the coauthor of This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly (Princeton), Foundations of International Macroeconomics, and a frequent commentator for NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times.

Fault Lines & Chasing Stars on strategy+business’ Best Business Books 2010 list

Two Princeton books have recently been mentioned on strategy+business‘ online list of the “Best Business Books 2010.” Raghuram G. Rajan’s Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy made the cut for the category, “The Economy,” and was reviewed by David Warsh, while Boris Groysberg’s Chasing Stars: The Myth of Talent and the Portability of Performance appeared in the category, “Human Capital” and was reviewed by Sally Helgesen.

Click here and here to see the reviews. And if you would like to see a list of other recent award-winning books from PUP, please click here!

MIT Press introduces iPad app for NONOBJECT

Could this be a revolution in design publishing?

MIT Press has just released a new iPad app for its design title, NONOBJECT, by Branko Lukić and Barry Katz. The print version of this book was available in early November, but now you can buy it from the Apple Store and download it to your iPad for $19.95.

Inspired by Debussy’s notion of music’s existence in the “space between the notes,” NONOBJECT explores the designs made from the space between people and objects and produces a series of objects that can’t exist but perhaps should. The app complements and builds on the printed book, presenting flexible navigation based on touch controls, interactive 360º views, and videos that show what the objects would be like if they did exist. The new level of interactive engagement brings the book’s images to life.

“We get excited about those pairings of content and technology that genuinely benefit the reader,” said MIT Press Director, Ellen W. Faran. “How better to experience these unbounded nonobjects which open our minds than to explore them in new and infinitely varying ways in the NONOBJECT app?”

Fascinating! If you want to read more about NONOBJECT, check out its website here. You can also take a tour of the app’s features at http://www.nonobject.com/blind/ipad_demo_Short.mov.

Financial Times highlights FIVE Princeton books in 2010 Nonfiction Round-Up

Five Princeton books were recently featured in Financial Times‘ Nonfiction Round-Up for 2010! Here’s what FT had to say about them:

Business & Economics

Banking on the Future: The Fall and Rise of Central Banking, by Howard Davies and David Green

The best assessment yet of the role played by the leading western central banks – the US Federal Reserve, the ECB and the Bank of England – in the run-up to the financial crisis and beyond, from two former insiders at the top level of UK policymaking.

Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us, by John Quiggin

A critical look, from a left-leaning perspective, at some of the defining intellectual fashions of the past three decades. Quiggin is a writer of great verve who marshals some powerful evidence.

Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy, by Raghuram G Rajan

A high-powered yet accessible analysis of the financial crisis and its aftermath, Fault Lines was awarded the FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year. Rajan, a University of Chicago economist, was one of the few who warned that the crisis was coming and his book fizzes with striking and thought-provoking ideas.

Science & Environment

Honeybee Democracy, by Thomas D Seeley

The year’s most enchanting science book. Seeley, biology professor at Cornell University, distils the insights of 40 years studying and keeping bees. He focuses on the astonishing “democratic” process that takes place when a swarm of thousands of bees leaves an overcrowded hive to find a new home: how scouts evaluate potential sites and advertise their merits, how a final choice is made, and how the swarm navigates to its new nest.

Sport

Gaming the World: How Sports Are Reshaping Global Politics and Culture, by Andrei S Markovits and Lars Rensmann

A very readable guide to the recent globalisation of sport by academics who understand both US and European sports. Packed with examples, from David Beckham to Kobe Bryant, the book explores the tension between sport’s globalisation and the fact that most teams still arouse the greatest emotions in their local areas.

Definitely a great year of non-fiction books! Congratulations to all authors mentioned!

Mumbai Fables‘ cover featured on The Huffington Post

If you’ve been wondering about Mumbai Fables‘ evocative cover, it was recently featured in The Huffington Post‘s “25 Outstanding Book Covers of 2010.” Carmina Alvarez-Gaffin, one of the designers at Princeton University Press, was quoted in the article describing how she and author Gyan Prakash worked in tandem to create a design for the book’s jacket:

The image that we ultimately used for the cover of Mumbai Fables is a painting titled “Bombay Buccaneer” by Atul Dodiya, and was brought to us by the author, Gyan Prakash. He loved the image and felt that the image truly captured the essence of his book. Though the book is nonfiction, it is very novelistic in feel, and conjures up the images of Bollywood cinema and the graphic novels of Bombay . Gyan Prakash felt strongly about using a fresh and modern image — not an image traditionally associated with Bombay–but something that would capture the Mumbai of today.

To view the rest of the article, click here. For more information and news related to Mumbai Fables, check out the Facebook page – if you “like” the page, you’ll receive notice of updates!

Duina’s Winning in 90 seconds on Academic Minute

Dr. Francesco Duina of Bates College recently provided a brief 90-second explanation of his book, Winning: Reflections on an American Obsession on WAMC’s Academic Minute. During the segment, Duina explains the argument and relevance of Winning and explores why the U.S. is consistently outranked on lists of the world’s happiest countries.  Whew – that’s a lot for just 90 seconds!

Click here to listen, and here to learn more about the book!

From Project Syndicate: “Europe’s Time to Learn” by Harold James

Crises are a chance to learn. For the past 200 years, with the exception of the Great Depression, major financial crises originated in poor and unstable countries, which then needed major policy adjustments. Today’s crisis started in rich industrial countries – not only with sub-prime mortgages in the United States, but also with mismanagement of banks and public debt in Europe. So what will Europe learn, and what relevance will those lessons have for the rest of the world?

Europe’s contemporary problems offer striking parallels with previous problems on the periphery of the world economy. In successive waves of painful crisis – in Latin America in the 1980’s, and in East Asia after 1997 – countries learned a better approach to economic policy and developed a more sustainable framework for managing public-sector debt. Today it is Europe’s turn.

The European crisis is coming full circle. Initially a financial crisis, it morphed into a classic public-debt crisis after governments stepped in to guarantee banks obligations. That, in turn, has created a new set of worries for banks that are over-exposed to supposedly secure government debt. Sovereign debt no longer looks stable.

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Harold James is Professor of History and International Affairs at Princeton University and Marie Curie Professor of History at the European University Institute, Florence. His books include The Roman Predicament: How the Rules of International Order Create the Politics of Empire (Princeton), A German Identity, International Monetary Cooperation since Bretton Woods, and The End of Globalization: Lessons from the Great Depression.

Inventing Futurism awarded MLA’s Howard R. Marraro Prize

In addition to Anton Kaes, the Modern Language Association (MLA) has also awarded Christine Poggi a prize for her Princeton book. Inventing Futurism: The Art and Politics of Artificial Optimism has been declared one of two winners of the MLA’s 21st Howard R. Marraro Prize, for outstanding books in the field of Italian literature or comparative literature involving Italian.

The selection committee’s citation for Poggi’s book reads:
Published on the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the movement, Inventing Futurism: The Art and Politics of Artificial Optimism offers a cultural studies analysis that thoroughly revises our perception of futurism and of its most widely held tenets. Christine Poggi ably explores traditional modernist tropes associated with futurism-speed, machines, urbanization, war-to reveal that the movement’s most important figures were much more conflicted about modernity than has been thought thus far. By diachronically juxtaposing the artistic production and official pronouncements of futurist artists with coeval theories such as those advanced by social theorists like Gabriel Tarde, Gustave Le Bon, and Cesare Lombroso, as well as with recent developments in the field of chronophotography and war technology, Poggi’s work makes a case for a radical reappraisal of futurism that revolutionizes its understanding within the context of Italian modernism.

To read the rest of the press release, click here. To see other recent prize-winning books from PUP, click here.