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In 1800 a Belfast linen merchant named Alexander Brown emigrated with his wife and eldest son to Baltimore. Today his family’s name lives on in the investment firm Brown Brothers Harriman, a company that has long played an outsized role in American history. As Zachary Karabell details in his book Inside Money: Brown Brothers Harriman and the Americ…
 
Why do many startups fail? Tom Eisenmann, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School realised that even he didn’t really know the answer, despite a lifetime teaching entrepreneurship, and decided to write a book to answer exactly that question. You can hear him go into detail on the NBN Entrepreneurship and Leadership Channel intervie…
 
In spite of Karl Marx's proclamation that money would become obsolete under Communism, the ruble remained a key feature of Soviet life. In fact, although Western economists typically concluded that money ultimately played a limited role in the Soviet Union, Kristy Ironside argues that money was both more important and more powerful than most histor…
 
A War on Global Poverty: The Lost Promise of Redistribution and the Rise of Microcredit (Princeton UP, 2021) provides a fresh account of US involvement in campaigns to end global poverty in the 1970s and 1980s. From the decline of modernization programs to the rise of microcredit, Joanne Meyerowitz looks beyond familiar histories of development and…
 
Can classical economics help figure out climate change and support policies that slow global warming? Yale Sterling Professor of Economics William Nordhaus thinks so. In his new book, The Spirit of Green: The Economics of Collisions and Contagions in a Crowded World (Princeton UP, 2021), Nordhaus tackles the "externality" that is pollution and carb…
 
I spoke with Bobby Lee about his book 'The promise of Bitcoin: The Future of Money and How It Can Work for You' (McGraw-Hill, 2021). Bobby Lee is a very interesting character, among the leading figures in the field of cryptocurrency. He is the founder and CEO of Ballet, a cryptocurrency startup. He is the cofounder of BTCC, the longest-running bitc…
 
The inside story of the world's most famous board game-a buried piece of American history with an epic scandal that continues today. The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game (Bloomsbury, 2015) reveals the unknown story of how Monopoly came into existence, the reinvention of its history by Parker Broth…
 
I spoke with Prof. Tim Jackson about his latest book: Post Growth, Life after Capitalism, published by Polity Books in 2021. The book starts with a reflection on the event of the past few months. The success in 2019 of the school strikes for climate, the attention that Greta Thunberg received even in Davos, and the arrival of the pandemic that chan…
 
For years, American Jewish philanthropy has been celebrated as the proudest product of Jewish endeavors in the United States, its virtues extending from the local to the global, the Jewish to the non-Jewish, and modest donations to vast endowments. Yet, as Lila Corwin Berman illuminates in The American Jewish Philanthropic Complex: The History of a…
 
In The Other Side of the Coin: Public Opinion toward Social Tax Expenditures (Russell Sage Foundation, 2021), political scientists Christopher Ellis and Christopher Faricy examine public opinion towards social tax expenditures—the other side of the American social welfare state—and their potential to expand support for such social investment. Tax e…
 
In this podcast Michael Blakey describes how as a strongly dyslexic child his relationship with schooling and formal education was very challenging. He credits his parents with putting him in environments where he developed a lot of resilience - going to boarding schools from the age of seven, and only later in life realising that this was unusual.…
 
The emergence of individual and commercial insurance in Early Modern Europe required an understanding of probability. In Probable Justice: Rethinking the Politics of Risk (U Chicago Press, 2020), Rachel Friedman highlights the political thinking that developed side by side with the advances in statistical methods. By the 20th century, small scale, …
 
Following the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy placed much greater focus on stabilizing the market than on helping struggling Americans. As a result, the richest Americans got a lot richer while the middle class shrank and economic and wealth inequality skyrocketed. In Engine of Inequality, Karen Petrou offers pragmatic …
 
Mungo Keulemans talks about growing up in South Africa, working in the family business, his army experiences, his move to Europe, Japan and back to Europe. We hear about his entrepreneurial journey in the family business in Poland, and after its sale to one of the world’s leading companies, his time in the larger corporation and his return to entre…
 
Today I talked to Pedro Gustavo Teixeira about his new book The Legal History of the European Banking Union: How European Law Led to the Supranational Integration of the Single Financial Market (Hart, 2020) Since 1950, the political and economic integration of Europe has tended to accelerate through functional mini-unions: coal and steel, nuclear p…
 
Today I talked to Adam Bryant about his new book (co-authored with Kevin Sharer), The CEO Test: Master the Challenges That Make or Break All Leaders (Harvard Business Press, 2021). Adam Bryant is managing director of Merryck & Co, a leadership development and mentoring firm. Before then, Adam was a journalist for 30 years, including at the New York…
 
“Economics is the long-run driver” in the history of Europe’s monetary union, writes Richard Pomfret in the first of a new Cambridge Elements series on the Economics of European Integration: The Road to Monetary Union (Cambridge University Press, 2021). “Politics often determined the timing of the next step ... but it has not determined the directi…
 
In this episode Florian Feas describes his route into setting up Slator: to solve problems he became aware of, as a result of working in the translation industry in senior positions. He outlines the importance of having a co-founder with complementary skills and how SaaS business tools enabled him to scale his business fast and cost effectively We …
 
Are we in the midst of a financial bubble? Do the current valuations of the electronic vehicle stocks or their SPACs make you raise an eyebrow? The trouble with bubbles is that they are hard to spot from within, and much easier to define and analyze after the fact. In their new book, Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles (Cambridge U…
 
In this episode we talk to Ashutosh about his upbringing and journey into corporate life, and the lessons that taught him. His route into entrepreneurship to build the “Boots of India”,which grew to be India’s largest retail pharmacy chain, and his life post-exit as an author and podcaster. The NBN Entrepreneurship and Leadership podcast aims to ed…
 
For decades, a secret army of tax attorneys, accountants and wealth managers has been developing into the shadowy Wealth Defense Industry. These ‘agents of inequality’ are paid millions to hide trillions for the richest 0.01%. In The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions (Polity, 2021), inequality expert Chuck Collins, wh…
 
Veronique Ozkaya shares her teenage experience working in the family business, why she wanted to get away from her hometown, her brief career as a diplomat, and rapid rise to a leading position in the translation industry. Veronique shares her insights into gender diversity (or its absence) in the industry, and her approach to leadership. The NBN E…
 
In this magnum opus, Paul Vallely guides the reader on a journey through the history and meaning of giving in religion and society. Vivid with anecdote and scholarly insight, this magisterial survey – from the ancient Greeks to today's high-tech geeks – provides an original take on the history of philanthropy. It shows how giving has, variously, be…
 
Few topics have as many myths, stereotypes, and misperceptions surrounding them as that of poverty in America. The poor have been badly misunderstood since the beginnings of the country, with the rhetoric only ratcheting up in recent times. Our current era of fake news, alternative facts, and media partisanship has led to a breeding ground for all …
 
In this episode Kimon and Richard explain why they are launching the NBN Entrepreneurship and Leadership podcast, the topics they are going to delve into with their guests and what aspects of their guests’ entrepreneurial journeys they are most interested in. What has been the role of background and upbringing, social and family pressures, educatio…
 
It’s hard to avoid innovation these days. Nearly every product gets marketed as being disruptive, whether it’s genuinely a new invention or just a new toothbrush. But in this manifesto on the state of American work, historians of technology Lee Vinsel and Andrew L. Russell argue that our way of thinking about and pursuing innovation has made us poo…
 
Fifteen years ago in Stockholm, Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon had a big idea. The music industry was playing a desperate game of whack-a-mole with piracy via file sharing but this was proving as hopeless as the War on Drugs. Why not, they thought, use the new torrenting technologies to bring piracy in from the cold and make themselves rich in the …
 
Even without the loss of the City of London from its jurisdiction, the EU has gone through a decade-long revolution in financial supervision and regulation since Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy in 2008. The directives and regulations introduced in the wake of the crisis took years to negotiate, implement and stress-test against political reality in the…
 
Covid-19 is the global threat that owns today’s headlines, but the threat of international and domestic terrorism is still very much with us. Specifically, the widespread upheaval, uncertainty and global anxiety occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic has been seen by terror organizations as a golden opportunity to tie their messaging to information ab…
 
George Orwell once said that “the word ‘fascism’ has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’”. The word ‘neoliberalism’ knows exactly how it feels. How did a term coined by a group of anti-authoritarian German economists in the 1930s to label a philosophy that stressed the role of the state in ensuring efficient co…
 
Financial inclusion has been one of the most prominent issues on the international development agenda in recent years, as access to payments, remittances, credit, savings and insurance services have been shown to improve economic resilience and livelihoods. While bank account access remains low in many developing countries, widespread access to mob…
 
Today the salary cap is an NBA institution, something fans take for granted as part of the fabric of the league or an obstacle to their favorite team’s chances to win a championship. In the early 1980s, however, a salary cap was not only novel but nonexistent. The Cap: How Larry Fleisher and David Stern Built the Modern NBA (University of Nebraska …
 
Twenty-eight years after Francis Fukuyama declared the “end of history” and pronounced Western-style liberalism as the culmination of a Hegelian narrative of progress, pundits and academics of all stripes find themselves struggling to explain the failed prediction that China’s increased activity in international markets would inevitably lead to inc…
 
The Idea of Development in Africa: A History (Cambridge UP, 2020) challenges prevailing international development discourses about the continent, by tracing the history of ideas, practices, and 'problems' of development used in Africa. In doing so, it offers an innovative approach to examining the history and culture of development through the lens…
 
Reinventing Bankruptcy Law: A History of the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (University of Toronto Press, 2020) explodes conventional wisdom about the history of the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act and in its place offers the first historical account of Canada’s premier corporate restructuring statute. The book adopts a novel research ap…
 
Money Games: The Inside Story of How American Dealmakers Saved Korea’s Most Iconic Bank (Wiley, 2020) by Weijian Shan’s, is a riveting tale of one of the most successful buyout deals ever: the acquisition and turnaround of what used to be Korea’s largest bank by the American firm Newbridge Capital. Full of intrigue and suspense, this insider's acco…
 
In the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis, Adam Fergusson's When Money Dies: The Nightmare of the Weimar Hyperinflation became an unlikely publishing hit more than three decades after its release. Yet, even though few people knew the details of the 1923 crisis, stories and images from interbellum Germany are things of legend. The same cannot be s…
 
With the coronavirus pandemic, Modern Monetary Theory met its moment. A sudden and massive loss of output globally was met with an unprecedented response by governments and central banks and at least some official regret about excessive fiscal austerity after the 2008-09 crisis. Stephanie Kelton's The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Bi…
 
In International Aid and Democracy Promotion: Liberalization at the Margins (Routledge, 2020), Political Scientist Bann Seng Tan investigates the link between foreign aid and the promotion of democracy, using theory, statistical tests, and illustrative case studies. The book challenges the field of development to recognise that democracy promotion …
 
Paul Donovan's Profit and Prejudice: The Luddites of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Routledge, 2020) is a great example of what Robert Shiller has championed as narrative economics--pointing out the power and real-world economic import of stories, of narratives. In this case, Donovan highlights the cost of prejudice and how it will become even m…
 
Every day, TARGET - Europe's cross-border payments system - processes transactions worth €2.5 trillion. Under its decentralised model, TARGET generates balances between the national central banks. These were tiny at its creation but today – after a decade spanning the financial crisis, the sovereign-debt crisis and now the pandemic recession – Germ…
 
Consumers may love their products and services but, among politicians and activists, the big-technology companies are fast developing a reputation as the Robber Barons of the 21st century. Google recently joined Apple, Amazon and Microsoft as a so-called “tera-cap” – companies valued at more than a trillion dollars. Add Facebook and the five tech g…
 
“The key element shaping inequality is no longer the employment relationship but rather whether one is able to buy assets that appreciate at a faster rate than both inflation and wages”. So argue Lisa Adkins, Martijn Konings and Melinda Cooper in The Asset Economy (Polity Press, 2020), extending the argument in Thomas Piketty’s 2014 best-seller Cap…
 
Capitalisms: Towards a Global History (Oxford University Press, 2020), edited by Kaveh Yazdani and Dilip M. Menon, aims to decenter work on the history of capitalism by looking at the longue durée from the tenth century; at regions as diverse as Song China, South and South East Asia, Latin America and the Ottoman and Safavid Empires; and exploring …
 
In September 2008, Ewald Nowotny joined the governing council of the European Central Bank. Just two weeks later, Lehman Brothers filed the largest bankruptcy in US history - so triggering a global financial crisis and recession. In September 2019, he retired just before the coronavirus pandemic struck. This book charts the political and literary d…
 
Historians often portray the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) as a conservative force in debates over free enterprise, battles against unions and government regulation, and the rise of capitalism in the United States. In The Industrialists: How the National Association of Manufacturers Shaped American Capitalism (Princeton UP, 2020), Jen…
 
JC de Swaan does not shy from a challenge. In his new book, Seeking Virtue in Finance: Contributing to Society in a Conflicted Industry (Cambridge University Press, 2020), de Swaan, argues that it is possible to work in finance and not fall prey to the worst ethical ills of a profit maximizing industry. A lecturer at Princeton and partner in at Wal…
 
Today I spoke with Dr Margaret Heffernan about her latest book, Uncharted: How to Map and Navigate the Future Together (Simon and Schuster, 2020). Margaret produced programmes for the BBC for 13 years. She then moved to the US where she became a businesswomen. She is the author of six books and a successful TED Talk speaker. She is also a Professor…
 
For readers – including non-economists – who want to get to grips with the nature and scale of the last financial crisis, how it was managed and mismanaged, and its particular impact on a small, open economy, Patrick Honohan's book Currency, Credit and Crisis: Central Banking in Ireland and Europe (Cambridge UP, 2020) This is, in part, because it c…
 
Modern finance isn't really all that modern. Three centuries ago, Great Britain's need for money to fight its wars, the appearance of joint stock companies, and the emerging quantification of all aspects of life converged to create new notions and forms of money and investments. And then there was a spectacular bubble in 1720. The South Sea stock r…
 
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