Book Reviews

Credit: Columbia University Press

Columbia University Press is pleased to announce the publication of Industrial Policy and Economic Transformation in Africa, edited by Akbar Noman and Joseph E. Stiglitz.

•       Makes the case that governments should expand their thinking about industrial policy to include learning, technology, supervision, climate change, global trade, and other aspects.
•       Highlights successful African countries that have improved their economic performance and the lessons to be learned.
•       Shows how Africa’s recent economic revival is built on a fragile foundation and gives solutions to strengthen the continents growth going forward.

“This impressive book is about how to generate decent jobs, reduce poverty, and achieve inclusive and sustainable structural transformation through industrialization in Africa. It should be read by anyone who hopes to transform or help transform Africa from a land of poverty to a land of prosperity.”
—Justin Yifu Lin, Peking University and former chief economist of the World Bank

The revival of economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is all the more welcome for having followed one of the worst economic disasters—a quarter century of economic malaise for most of the region—since the industrial revolution. Six of the world’s fastest-growing economies in the first decade of this century were African. Yet only in Ethiopia and Rwanda was growth not based on resources and the rising price of oil. Deindustrialization has yet to be reversed, and progress toward creating a modern economy remains limited.

This book explores the vital role that active government policies can play in transforming African economies. Such policies pertain not just to industry. They traverse all economic sectors, including finance, information technology, and agriculture. These packages of learning, industrial, and technology (LIT) policies aim to bring vigorous and lasting growth to the region. This collection features case studies of LIT policies in action in many parts of the world, examining their risks and rewards and what they mean for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Akbar Noman teaches at Columbia University, where he is a senior fellow at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, co-chair of its Africa Task Force, and adjunct associate professor at the School of International and Public Affairs.

Joseph E. Stiglitz is University Professor at Columbia University, former chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank, and former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton. In 2001, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics.

To find out more about this book, see here.

Credit: Goodreads

Fifty Five Shades of Political Economy….
“Economists are not all evil, few might have had good intentions. Most of recent economists’ bibles don’t bring anything new to the table other than beautiful tables. Instead of reviving the neglected debate around socio-economic inequality, their misfires add to the cacophony that already existed and their childish solutions to socio-economic injustice, either Robin Hood or Give a dog a bone approaches, make their books as useful as a paperweight.
Do we need an Economic Jihad? What can you say about the boring cock-fights between Capitalism deities of our time? You should be as disgusted as I am of these clown shows that chip away the substance of economic disparity dialogues. I have left to the class of economist sloppy cerebral sloths, to tiptoeing around of serious issues. Instead, you, the reader, and I will be swimming against the torrent current. Chapter one through six are exhibits of the case against the current status quo, Capitalism. And if I see you on the other side of chapter seven, please hold my hand tightly from chapter eight through ten. Take your time to digest chapter eleven and get yourself prepared for a big slap to your face. On the closing argument, chapter twelve follows through James Tobin’s recommendation: “Good papers in economics contain surprises and stimulate further work.” Jo Sekimonyo

See the book here and here.

I will be reviewing these two books in due course.

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