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Economic History

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Lawyers, Accountants, and the Tax Shelter Industry

For ten boom-powered years at the turn of the twenty-first century, some of America’s most prominent law and accounting firms created and marketed products that enabled the very rich—including newly minted dot-com millionaires—to avoid paying their fair share of taxes by claiming benefits not recognized by law. These abusive domestic tax shelters bore such exotic names as BOSS, BLIPS, and COBRA and were developed by such prestigious firms as KPMG and Ernst & Young. They brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in fees from clients and bilked the U.S.

A Long View

It is not so easy to take the long view of socioeconomic history when you are participating in a revolution. For that reason, Russian economist Yegor Gaidar put aside an early version of this work to take up a series of government positions--as Minister of Finance and as Boris Yeltsin’s acting Prime Minister--in the early 1990s. In government, Gaidar shepherded Russia through its transition to a market economy after years of socialism. Once out of government, Gaidar turned again to his consideration of Russia’s economic history and long-term economic and political challenges.

A Worried View of Economics

What happened yesterday in the West is today being repeated on a global scale. Industrial society is replacing rural society: millions of peasants in China, India, and elsewhere are leaving the countryside and going to the city. New powers are emerging and rivalries are exacerbated as competition increases for control of raw materials. Contrary to what believers in the “clash of civilizations” maintain, the great risk of the twenty-first century is not a confrontation between cultures but a repetition of history.

The U.S. Treasury Securities Market from the Great War to the Great Depression

The market for U.S. Treasury securities is a marvel of modern finance. In 2009 the Treasury auctioned $8.2 trillion of new securities, ranging from 4-day bills to 30-year bonds, in 283 offerings on 171 different days. By contrast, in the decade before World War I, there was only about $1 billion of interest-bearing Treasury debt outstanding, spread out over just six issues. New offerings were rare, and the debt was narrowly held, most of it owned by national banks.

Lessons from the 1930s

The recent economic crisis--with the plunge in the stock market, numerous bank failures and widespread financial distress, declining output and rising unemployment--has been reminiscent of the Great Depression. The Depression of the 1930s was marked by the spread of protectionist trade policies, which contributed to a collapse in world trade. Although policymakers today claim that they will resist the protectionist temptation, recessions are breeding grounds for economic nationalism, and countries may yet consider imposing higher trade barriers.

Diseases and Economic Development

In Parasites, Pathogens, and Progress, Robert McGuire and Philip Coelho integrate biological and economic perspectives into an explanation of the historical development of humanity and the economy, paying particular attention to the American experience, its history and development. In their path-breaking examination of the impact of population growth and parasitic diseases, they contend that interpretations of history that minimize or ignore the physical environment are incomplete or wrong.

Monetary Policy and Its Management, Martin through Greenspan to Bernanke

Stephen Axilrod is the ultimate Federal Reserve insider. He worked at the Fed’s Board of Governors for more than thirty years and after that in private markets and as a consultant on monetary policy.With Inside the Fed, he offers his unique perspective on the inner workings of the Federal Reserve System during the last fifty years—writing about personalities as much as policy—based on his knowledge and observations of every Fed chairman since 1951.

"It is a measure of Professor Samuelson’s preeminence that the sheer scale of his work should be so much taken for granted," a reviewer for the Economist once observed, marking both Paul Samuelson’s influence and his astonishing prolificacy. Volumes 6 and 7 gather the Nobel Laureate’s final writings.

"It is a measure of Professor Samuelson’s preeminence that the sheer scale of his work should be so much taken for granted," a reviewer for the Economist once observed, marking both Paul Samuelson’s influence and his astonishing prolificacy. Volumes 6 and 7 gather the Nobel Laureate’s final writings.

When the Third World Fell Behind

Today's wide economic gap between the postindustrial countries of the West and the poorer countries of the third world is not new. Fifty years ago, the world economic order--two hundred years in the making--was already characterized by a vast difference in per capita income between rich and poor countries and by the fact that poor countries exported commodities (agricultural or mineral products) while rich countries exported manufactured products. In Trade and Poverty, leading economic historian Jeffrey G.

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