Educators may join this group by contacting Michele Delattre at ORIAS.
LOCATION: Mercy High School in San Francisco.
TIME: 5:00-7:00 pm from October to December, 2011. Note: We will switch to the 3rd Wednesday beginning in January.
This year's topic will focus on one of the most important topics to both world history and contemporary political economy: the relationship of regional trading networks to the global economy. We will begin with a work of historical fiction: A Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss, set in London in the period leading up to the bursting of the South Sea Bubble in 1720.
Our non-fiction selections will begin with a romp through some classical political economy (i.e. Adam Smith), the group then plans to study how different world trading regions became integrated, or refused to be integrated, into an emerging global political economy. Though each region approached its local and regional economy differently, every region eventually had to deal with neighboring regions as they engaged in commerce with each other. As usual, a mix of history and historical fiction (along with a smattering of social sciences) will be selected by the group's participants.
|READINGS AND RESOURCES||
Other selected online resources:
Wealth of Nations:
|OTHER BOOK SUGGESTIONS||
Marginal Gains: Monetary Transactions in Atlantic Africa (Lewis Henry Morgan Lecture Series) by Jane I. Guyer (recommended by Martha Saavedra, Center for African Studies, UCB)
Chinese Circulations: Capital, Commodities, and Networks in Southeast Asia. Editor(s): Eric Tagliacozzo , Wen-chin Chang (recommended by Sarah Maxim, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, UCB)
Suggestions from Eva Mo:
The first two books, Free Fall and Flat Broke are just books I ran across and thought were interesting. The reviews are just what I found first, and not any kind of research (although the first review is from the Guardian). All the other books listed are from a colleague who graduated from the London School of Economics. I had given her our theme and asked her what classic economic pieces she would recommend to our group. --Eva
Stiglitz, Joseph. Free Fall: Free markets and the Sinking of the Global Economy, 2011 (This might be a little too U.S.-focused to fit with the global theme for the working group.)
o one can say they weren't warned. A decade ago, newly sacked from his job as chief economist at the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz laid bare how the free-market ideologues at the US Treasury and the International Monetary Fund had botched the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. It was a full-on attack from a Washington insider and it hurt, especially when Stiglitz said many of those responsible for forcing countries such as Thailand and Indonesia into deeper, longer recessions were "third-rate graduates from first-rate universities".
He concluded his essay in the New Republic by warning the IMF and the US Treasury that unless they began a dialogue with their critics "things will continue to go very, very wrong".Now they have. The Asian crisis of 1997-98 was merely the warm-up act for the events of the past two and a half years. Problems that first surfaced on the periphery of the global economy gradually worked their way to its core – the United States. The warnings of Stiglitz and a handful of other dissident voices were ignored, as a naïve belief in the self-correcting nature of markets allowed the conditions to develop for the biggest financial and economic shock since the great depression in the 1930s.In the circumstances, it is hardly surprising that Freefall reeks of "I told you so". Stiglitz has waited a long time for his views to be vindicated and was not going to spurn the opportunity to settle some scores. Some of the targets are obvious enough – corporate welfare for Wall Street, George Bush's tax breaks for the rich, the failed nostrums from the Chicago school of free-market economists. But he also finds time for some personal revenge.
Larry Summers, formerly Bill Clinton's treasury secretary and now chief economic adviser to Barack Obama, is a particular hate figure. Stiglitz says Summers was too accommodating to the demands of Wall Street in the 90s and is making the same mistake now. It was Summers, incensed by the constant criticism of the Washington consensus, who orchestrated Stiglitz's departure from the World Bank.
There is more, though, to Freefall than sheer gloating – however justified. Stiglitz's argument is simple; the period of unchallenged American economic hegemony lasted a mere 19 years, from the demolition of the Berlin wall in the autumn of 1989 to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Swift action by governments – forced to abandon a hands-off approach to economic management by the scale of the crisis – has prevented a great recession from turning into a second great depression. Lessons need to be learned from this near-death experience; if they are not, if the warnings go unheeded as they did a decade ago, the future will be punctuated by systemic crises.
The chances of that happening are quite high. Already, there is a whiff of business as usual as a receding sense of danger blunts the appetite for radical reform. Obama soft-pedalled on reform of Wall Street until goaded into action this month by the loss of the Senate seat in Massachusetts; in Britain the imminent election will be dominated not by which party has the right policies to cut the City down to size but which can be trusted to cut the budget deficit. Revisionist versions of the crisis, suggesting the problem was too much government rather than too little, are doing the rounds.
In that respect, Freefall is the wrong title for this book. It was clearly commissioned and conceived about a year ago, when the charts showed industrial production and trade collapsing at the same pace as they had in the early 30s. But conditions have improved since the panic of late 2008 and early 2009; by pursuing policies that were diametrically opposite to those foisted on struggling Asian countries by the IMF and the US Treasury in the late 90s, growth has returned far more quickly than expected. China is booming, while Europe, Japan and the United States all started growing again by the third quarter of 2009.
He concludes the book by asking: "Will we seize the opportunity to restore our sense of balance between the market and the state, between individualism and the community, between man and nature, between means and ends?" Faced with a similar set of circumstances in the 30s, the New Deal generation of Roosevelt proved ready to meet the challenge. Stiglitz clearly doubts whether Obama is made of the same stern stuff.
Jeter, Jon. Flat broke 2011
Led by the United States, nations around the world stopped making things and starting buying them, imbibing a risky cocktail of deindustrialization, privatization, and anti-inflationary monetary policy. Jeter gives the consequences of abstract economic policies a human face, and shows how our chickens are coming home to roost in the form of the subprime mortgage scandal, the food crisis, and the fraying of traditional social bonds (marriage). From Rio de Janeiro to Shanghai to Soweto to Chicago's South Side and Washington, DC, Jeter shows us how the economic prescriptions of "the Washington Consensus" have only deepened poverty-while countries like Chile and Venezuela have flouted the conventional wisdom and prospered.
Storper, Michael and Richard Walker. Territory, Technology and Industrial Growth, 1989.
Storper, Michael. The Regional World; Territorial Development in a Global Economy, 1997.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. The Modern World System, 1987.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. Capitalist World Economy Essays, 1979. 305 pages
Braudel, Ferdinan. Civilization and Capitalism, 1992.
Originally published in the early 1980s, Civilization traces the social and economic history of the world from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution, although his primary focus is Europe. Braudel skims over politics, wars, etc., in favor of examining life at the grass roots: food, drink, clothing, housing, town markets, money, credit, technology, the growth of towns and cities, and more. The history is fascinating and made even more interesting by period prints and drawings.
Some other late thoughts from Michele
Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium (Princeton Economic History of the Western World). Ronald Findlay, Kevin H. O'Rourke.The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy. Kenneth Pomeranz.
|MIDDLE EAST / ARAB WORLD||
Recommendations from Emily Gottrich at Center for Middle Eastern Studies:
Janet L. Abu Lughod. Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350.
Roger Owen. Middle East and World Economy.
The World History book study group meets monthly from fall to spring in San Francisco. The group chooses six to seven books per school year dealing with an annual theme; the book discussions are facilitated by Alan Karras, author and professor in the International and Area Studies department at University of California, Berkeley. Meetings are open to all advanced pre-collegiate and community college faculty. Space is limited to 20 teachers.
Topics explored in past study groups have included Transnational Transgressions; Africa as an Atlantic culture; the nature and origins of nationalism; the Middle East; Power, Poverty and Politics; and the Caribbean and Central America.
Participants are reimbursed for the cost of the books if they attend at least 5 meetings.
The study group goals are to:
The group began meeting in 1999 and topics explored in past study groups have included the nature and origins of nationalism; the Middle East; Power, Poverty and Politics; Africa as an Atlantic culture; the Caribbean and Central America; Transnational Transgressions; and the Indian Ocean.
This study group is sponsored by ORIAS , the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, the Institute of East Asian Studies, International and Area Studies Teaching Program, U. C. Berkeley. Co-sponsored by World Savvy.