Will Big Business Destroy Our Planet? by Peter Dauvergne

The Blurb On The Back:

Walmart, Coca-Cola, BP, Toyota.  The world economy runs on the profits of transnational corporations.  Politicians need their backing.  Non-profit organizations rely on their philanthropy.  People look to their brands for meaning.  And their power continues to rise.

Can these companies, as so many are now hoping, provide the solutions to end the mounting global environmental crisis? Absolutely, the CEOs of big business are telling us: the commitment to corporate social responsibility will ensure it happens voluntarily.

Peter Dauvergne challenges this claim, arguing instead that corporations are still doing far more to destroy than protect our planet.  Trusting big business to lead sustainability is, he cautions, unwise – perhaps even catastrophic.  Planetary sustainability will require reining in the power of big business, starting now. 

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The Case For A Maximum Wage by Sam Pizzigati

The Blurb On The Back:

Modern societies set limits, on everything from how fast motorists can drive to how much waste factory owners can dump in our rivers. But incomes in our deeply unequal world have no limits. Could capping top incomes tackle rising inequality more effectively than conventional approaches?

In this engaging book, leading analyst Sam Pizzigati details how egalitarians worldwide are demonstrating that a “maximum wage” could be both economically viable and politically practical. He shows how, building on local initiatives, governments could use their tax systems to enforce fair income ratios across the board.

The ultimate goal? That ought to be, Pizzigati argues, a world without a super rich. He explains why we need to create that world – and how we could speed its creation. 

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Can We Solve The Migration Crisis? by Jacqueline Bhabha

The Blurb On The Back:

Every minute 24 people are forced to leave their homes; currently, more than 65 million are displaced worldwide.  Small wonder that tackling the refugee and migration crisis has become a global political priority.

Can this crisis be resolved and, if so, how?  In this compelling essay, Jacqueline Bhabha explains why forced migration demands compassion, generosity, and a vigorous acknowledgement of our shared dependence on human mobility as a key element of global collaboration.  Unless we develop humane “win-win” strategies for tackling the inequalities and conflicts driving migration and for addressing the fears fuelling xenophobia, innocent lives and cardinal human rights principles will be squandered in the service of futile nationalism and oppressive border control.  

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Refuge: Transforming A Broken Refugee System by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier

The Blurb On The Back:

Europe is facing its greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War, yet the institutions responding to it remain virtually unchanged from those created in the post-war era.  As neighbouring countries continue to bear the brunt of the Syrian catastrophe, European governments have enacted a series of ill-considered and damaging gestures.  With a deepening crisis and a xenophobic backlash around the world, it is time for a new vision of refuge.

Going beyond the scenes of desperation that have become all too familiar in the past few years renowned development experts Alexander Betters and Paul Collier break new ground by showing how international policymakers can deliver humane, sustainable results that are better for refugees and host countries.  Drawing upon years of research in the field and original solutions that have already been successfully trialled, they outline a compelling vision that can empower refugees to help themselves, contribute to their host countries and even rebuild their countries of origin.

Refuge reveals how, despite the media focus on the minority of refugees trying to making it to Europe’s shores, 90 per cent of the world’s refugees live in developing countries, mostly in camps or in urban poverty.  In light of this, their eye-opening book situates Europe’s refugee crisis in a global framework, offering a concrete diagnosis for a system that has, for too long, been institutionally broken.

An urgent and essential work, Refuge shows how we can act for both moral and practical purposes in order to deal with the defining challenge of our time.  

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Bioinformation by Bronwyn Parry and Beth Greenhough

The Blurb On The Back:

From DNA sequences stored on computer databases to archived forensic samples and biomedical records, bioinformation comes in many forms.  Its unique provenance – the fact that it is ‘mined’ from the very fabric of the human body – makes it a mercurial resource; one that no one seemingly owns, but in which many have deeply vested interests.

In this groundbreaking book, authors Bronwyn Parry and Beth Greenhough explore the complex economic, social and political questions arising from the creation and use of bioinformation.  Drawing on a range of highly topical cases – including the commercialisation of human sequence data, the forensic use of retained bioinformation, biobanking and genealogical research – they show how dramatically demand for this resource has grown, driving a burgeoning but often highly controversial global economy in bioinformation.  But, they argue, change is afoot as new models emerge that challenge the ethos of privatisation by creating instead a dynamic open source ‘bioinformation commons’ available for all future generations.  

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Why Democracies Need Science by Harry Collins & Robert Evans

The Blurb On The Back:

We live in times of increasing public distrust of the main institutions of modern society.  Experts, including scientists, are suspected of working to hidden agendas or serving vested interests.  The solution is usually seen as more public scrutiny and more control by democratic institutions – experts must be subservient to social and political life.

In this book, Harry Collins and Robert Evans take a radically different view.  They argue that, rather than democracies needing to be protected from science, democratic societies need to learn how to value science in this new age of uncertainty.  By emphasising that science is a moral enterprise, guided by values that should matter to all, they show how science can support democracy without destroying it and propose a new institution – The Owls – that can mediate between science and society and improve technological decision-making for the benefit of all.

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Will Robots Take Your Job? by Nigel M. de S. Cameron

The Blurb On The Back:

The trend that began with ATMs and do-it-yourself checkouts is moving at lightning speed.  Everything from driving to teaching to the care of the elderly and, indeed, code-writing can now be done by smart machines.  Conventional wisdom says there will be new jobs to replace those we lose – but is it so simple?  And are we ready?

Technology writer and think-tank director Nigel Cameron argues it’s naïve to believe we face a smooth transition.  Whether or not there are “new” jobs, we face massive disruption as the jobs millions of us are doing gets outsourced to machines.  A twenty-first century “rust belt” will rapidly corrode the labour market and affect literally hundreds of different kinds of jobs simultaneously.

Robots won’t design our future – we will.  Yet, shockingly, political leaders and policymakers don’t seem to have this in their line of sight.  So how should we assess and prepare for the risks of this unknown future?

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From Prejudice To Pride: A History Of The LGBTQ+ Movement by Amy Lamé

The Blurb On The Back:

FROM PREJUDICE TO PRIDE looks at the rise and achievements of the LGBTQ+ movement for equal rights and the different communities, pioneers and stories of heartbreak and courage that have marched alongside it.

Follow LGBTQ+ history from ancient civilisations to the present-day, and learn about key events including the trial of Oscar Wilde, the Stonewall riots, the AIDS crisis and same sex-sex marriage.

Gain insight into the shifting attitudes that have challenged lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and the experiences that help us understand what it means to be LGBTQ+ today.

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Big Capital: Who’s London For? by Anna Minton

The Blurb On The Back:

Revealing exactly what is causing London’s housing crisis – and what can be done.

London is facing the worst housing crisis in modern times, with knock-on effects for the rest of the UK.  Despite the desperate shortage of housing, tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of affordable homes are being pulled down, replaced by luxury apartments aimed at foreign investors.  In this ideological war, only market solutions to housing – which is a public good – are considered, which paradoxically makes the situation worse, because the market responds to the needs of global capital rather than ordinary people needing homes to live in.  In politically uncertain times, the housing crisis has become a key driver creating and fuelling the inequalities of a divided nation.  Anna Minto cuts through the complexities, jargon and spin to give a clear-sighted account of how we got into this mess and how we can get out of it.

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