"Essential reading." —New York Review of Books
In the spirit of Evicted, Bait and Switch, and The Big Short, a shocking, heart-wrenching investigation into America’s housing crisis and the modern-day robber barons who are making a fortune off the backs of the disenfranchised working and middle class—among them, Donald Trump and his inner circle.
Two years before the housing market collapsed in 2008, Donald Trump looked forward to a crash: “I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy,” he said. But our future president wasn’t alone. While millions of Americans suffered financial loss, tycoons pounced to heartlessly seize thousands of homes—their profiteering made even easier because, as prize-winning investigative reporter Aaron Glantz reveals in Homewreckers, they often used taxpayer money—and the Obama administration’s promise to cover their losses.
In Homewreckers, Glantz recounts the transformation of straightforward lending into a morass of slivered and combined mortgage “products” that could be bought and sold, accompanied by a shift in priorities and a loosening of regulations and laws that made it good business to lend money to those who wouldn’t be able to repay. Among the men who laughed their way to the bank: Trump cabinet members Steve Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross, Trump pal and confidant Tom Barrack, and billionaire Republican cash cow Steve Schwarzman. Homewreckers also brilliantly weaves together the stories of those most ravaged by the housing crisis. The result is an eye-opening expose of the greed that decimated millions and enriched a gluttonous few.
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe thepublic with the public’s money.”–Alexis de TocquevillePast performance is no guarantee of future performance, but it is an indicator of where we are heading. In The Logic of the Rational Mind, Al Bienenfeld compares past economic and political events with the present to determine America’s future:How the Great Depression and Great Recession—79 years later—prove experts still aren’t getting it right.How FDR—“Franklin the First”—our first constitutional monarch—and “Barack the First”—our second—are similar.How the new fascists are threatening to take advantage of our weaknesses, just like Germany in the 1930s. And you know what happened less than a decade later.Nothing is going to happen tomorrow that didn’t happen yesterday. Maybe it’s time we learned.
What is a rule, if it appears to become confused with life? And what is a human life, if, in every one of its gestures, of its words, and of its silences, it cannot be distinguished from the rule?
It is to these questions that Agamben's new book turns by means of an impassioned reading of the fascinating and massive phenomenon of Western monasticism from Pachomius to St. Francis. The book reconstructs in detail the life of the monks with their obsessive attention to temporal articulation and to the Rule, to ascetic techniques and to liturgy. But Agamben's thesis is that the true novelty of monasticism lies not in the confusion between life and norm, but in the discovery of a new dimension, in which "life" as such, perhaps for the first time, is affirmed in its autonomy, and in which the claim of the "highest poverty" and "use" challenges the law in ways that we must still grapple with today.
How can we think a form-of-life, that is, a human life released from the grip of law, and a use of bodies and of the world that never becomes an appropriation? How can we think life as something not subject to ownership but only for common use?
When science adopts the logic of the market
American universities today serve as economic engines, performing the scientific research that will create new industries, drive economic growth, and keep the United States globally competitive. But only a few decades ago, these same universities self-consciously held themselves apart from the world of commerce. Creating the Market University is the first book to systematically examine why academic science made such a dramatic move toward the market. Drawing on extensive historical research, Elizabeth Popp Berman shows how the government—influenced by the argument that innovation drives the economy—brought about this transformation.
Americans have a long tradition of making heroes out of their inventors. But before the 1960s and '70s neither policymakers nor economists paid much attention to the critical economic role played by innovation. However, during the late 1970s, a confluence of events—industry concern with the perceived deterioration of innovation in the United States, a growing body of economic research on innovation's importance, and the stagnation of the larger economy—led to a broad political interest in fostering invention. The policy decisions shaped by this change were diverse, influencing arenas from patents and taxes to pensions and science policy, and encouraged practices that would focus specifically on the economic value of academic science. By the early 1980s, universities were nurturing the rapid growth of areas such as biotech entrepreneurship, patenting, and university-industry research centers.
Contributing to debates about the relationship between universities, government, and industry, Creating the Market University sheds light on how knowledge and politics intersect to structure the economy.
In Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Now? Angela Dillard offers the first comparative analysis of a conservatism which today cuts across the boundaries of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. To be an African-American and a conservative, or a Latino who is also a conservative and a homosexual, is to occupy an awkward and contested political position. Dillard explores the philosophies, politics, and motivation of minority conservatives such as Ward Connerly, Glenn Loury, Linda Chavez, Clarence Thomas, and Bruce Bawer, as well as their tepid reception by both the Left and Right. Welcomed cautiously by the conservative movement, they have also frequently been excoriated by those African Americans, Latinos, women, and homosexuals who view their conservatism as betrayal. Dillard's comprehensive study, among the first to take the history and political implications of multicultural conservatism seriously, is a vital source for understanding contemporary American conservatism in all its forms.
How the optimism gap between rich and poor is creating an increasingly divided societyThe Declaration of Independence states that all people are endowed with certain unalienable rights, and that among these is the pursuit of happiness. But is happiness available equally to everyone in America today? How about elsewhere in the world? Carol Graham draws on cutting-edge research linking income inequality with well-being to show how the widening prosperity gap has led to rising inequality in people's beliefs, hopes, and aspirations.For the United States and other developed countries, the high costs of being poor are most evident not in material deprivation but rather in stress, insecurity, and lack of hope. The result is an optimism gap between rich and poor that, if left unchecked, could lead to an increasingly divided society. Graham reveals how people who do not believe in their own futures are unlikely to invest in them, and how the consequences can range from job instability and poor education to greater mortality rates, failed marriages, and higher rates of incarceration. She describes how the optimism gap is reflected in the very words people use—the wealthy use words that reflect knowledge acquisition and healthy behaviors, while the words of the poor reflect desperation, short-term outlooks, and patchwork solutions. She also explains why the least optimistic people in America are poor whites, not poor blacks or Hispanics.Happiness for All? highlights the importance of well-being measures in identifying and monitoring trends in life satisfaction and optimism—and misery and despair—and demonstrates how hope and happiness can lead to improved economic outcomes.
What was the role of historians and historical societies in the public life of imperial Russia? Focusing on the Society of Zealots of Russian Historical Education (1895–1918), Vera Kaplan analyzes the network of voluntary associations that existed in imperial Russia, showing how they interacted with state, public, and private bodies. Unlike most Russian voluntary associations of the late imperial period, the Zealots were conservative in their view of the world. Yet, like other history associations, the group conceived their educational mission broadly, engaging academic and amateur historians, supporting free public libraries, and widely disseminating the historical narrative embraced by the Society through periodicals. The Zealots were champions of voluntary association and admitted members without regard to social status, occupation, or gender. Kaplan's study affirms the existence of a more substantial civil society in late imperial Russia and one that could endorse a modernist program without an oppositional liberal agenda.
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