Adam Tooze is the Director of the European Institute at Columbia. He is the author of Crashed: How a Decade of ­Financial Crises Changed the World and is currently working on an economic history of the climate emergency.
 (February 2020)

IN THE REVIEW

How ‘Big Law’ Makes Big Money

The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality

by Katharina Pistor
Lawyers are creative, and contracts are incomplete. They always fail to capture some unexpected feature of reality. So there is plenty of room both for innovation and for confusion and dispute. But that by itself is not enough to explain the recurrence of capitalist crises. For that we need to add a further dimension: how law facilitates the gigantic speculative dynamic of modern finance.

Democracy and Its Discontents

A protest against the G20 summit, Hamburg, Germany, July 2017

The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It

by Yascha Mounk

How Democracies Die

by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
For the American right, Donald Trump’s inauguration as the forty-fifth president of the United States was a moment of political rebirth. Elements of American conservatism had long fostered a reactionary counterculture, which defined the push for civil rights as oppression, resisted the equality of women and the transgression of conventional heterosexual norms, pilloried the hegemony of the liberal media, and was suspicious of globalism and its corporate liberal institutions, including the UN and the WTO. Already in the 1950s this reactionary politics had secured a niche on the right wing of the GOP. It was reenergized by the Goldwater campaign and the conservative backlash against the social revolutions of the 1960s. Reintegrated into the mainstream GOP by Ronald Reagan, it then flared into the open in the ferocious hostility to the Clintons in the 1990s. With Trump it finally claimed center stage.

A Modern Greek Tragedy

Yanis Varoufakis

Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment

by Yanis Varoufakis
Did Greece have any way of breaking out of Germany’s grip? The common criticism of Yanis Varoufakis’s period in office is that he was an intellectual who took the knife of logic to a political gunfight. He was ill equipped from the start. His memoir, Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment, is at pains to show that this interpretation is mistaken.

When We Loved Mussolini

Benito Mussolini and US Secretary of State Henry Stimson, Rome, July 1931

The United States and Fascist Italy: The Rise of American Finance in Europe

by Gian Giacomo Migone, translated from the Italian and with a preface by Molly Tambor
America’s new power in the 1920s was based on its economy, and in the projection of an American vision of international order beyond the League of Nations, it was US bankers who led the way. The crucial issues of Italian–American diplomacy were not questions of democracy, but of finance.