May 1, 2008
New Law & Public Policy Titles from MIT Press
Details below the fold. [JH]
- Handbook of Antitrust Economics, edited by Paolo Buccirossi
- The Road to Democracy in Iran, by Akbar Ganji
- Why Nuclear Disarmament Matters, by Hans Blix
- The Epicenter of Crisis: The New Middle East, edited by Alexander T. J. Lennon
- American Environmental Policy, 1990-2006: Beyond Gridlock, by Christopher McGrory Klyza and David Sousa
- Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics: Reclaiming the Environmental Agenda, by Nicholas A. Ashford and Charles C. Caldart
- Fundamental Tax Reform: Issues, Choices, and Implications, edited by John W. Diamond and George R. Zodrow
- Taxing Ourselves: A Citizen's Guide to the Debate over Taxes, 4th ed., by Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija
- Digital Media and Democracy: Tactics in Hard Times, edited by Megan Boler
- The Privacy Advocates: Resisting the Spread of Surveillance, by Colin J. Bennett (forthcoming, October 2008)
Handbook of Antitrust Economics
Edited by Paolo Buccirossi
MIT Press, April 2008
Book Description: Over the past twenty years, economic theory has begun to play a central role in antitrust matters. In earlier days, the application of antitrust rules was viewed almost entirely in formal terms; now it is widely accepted that the proper interpretation of these rules requires an understanding of how markets work and how firms can alter their efficient functioning. The Handbook of Antitrust Economics offers scholars, students, administrators, courts, companies, and lawyers the economist’s view of the subject, describing the application of newly developed theoretical models and improved empirical methods to antitrust and competition law in both the United States and the European Union. (The book uses the U.S. term "antitrust law" and the European "competition law" interchangeably, emphasizing the commonalities between the two jurisdictions.)
After a general discussion of the use of empirical methods in antitrust cases, the Handbook covers mergers, agreements, abuses of dominance (or unilateral conducts), and market features that affect the way firms compete. Chapters examine such topics as analyzing the competitive effects of both horizontal and vertical mergers, detecting and preventing cartels, theoretical and empirical analysis of vertical restraints, state aids, the relationship of competition law to the defense of intellectual property, and the application of antitrust law to "bidding markets," network industries, and two-sided markets.
The Road to Democracy in Iran
MIT Press, April 2008
Book Description: Akbar Ganji, called by some "Iran's most famous dissident," was a commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. But, troubled by the regime's repressive nature, he became an investigative journalist in the 1990s, writing for Iran's pro-democracy newspapers. Most notably, he traced the murders of dissident intellectuals to Iran's secret service. In 2000 Ganji was arrested, sentenced to six years in prison, and banned from working as a journalist. His eighty-day hunger strike during his last year in prison mobilized the international human rights community.
The Road to Democracy in Iran, Ganji's first book in English, demonstrates his lifelong commitment to human rights and democracy. A passionate call for universal human rights and the right to democracy from a Muslim perspective, it lays out the goals and means of Iran's democracy movement, why women's rights trump some interpretations of Islamic law, and how the West can help promote democracy in Iran (he strongly opposes U.S. intervention) and other Islamic countries.
Throughout the book Ganji argues consistently for universal rights based on our common humanity (and he believes the world's religions support that idea). But his arguments never veer into abstraction; they are rooted deeply in the realities of life in Islamic countries, and offer a clear picture of the possibilities for and obstacles to improving human rights and promoting democracy in the Muslim world.
About the Author: Since his release from prison in March 2006, Akbar Ganji has been traveling outside Iran, meeting with intellectuals and activists in the international human rights community. He is currently living in the United States.
Why Nuclear Disarmament Matters
MIT Press, April 2008
Book Description: In 2002 Dr. Hans Blix, then chief United Nations weapons inspector, lead his team on a search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Before the United States went to war with Iraq the next March, he maintained there were no WMD in Iraq. History proved him right.
For more than forty years Dr. Blix has worked on global disarmament, and with this new book he renews the call for nuclear nonproliferation. His interests, though, go beyond stemming the threat of nuclear attack from rogue states and terrorists. It is not, he argues, a recipe for success for nuclear states to tell the rest of the world that it must stay away from the very weapons that nuclear states claim are indispensable. We will never be able to convince rogue states to halt the pursuit of nuclear weapons programs unless we take the lead in a new nonproliferation and disarmament movement.
Looking back at the UN post-World War II efforts against the use of nuclear weapons, Blix documents the retreat from early commitments by nuclear powers, most alarmingly from pledges against first use and toward programs to develop new types of nuclear weapons. He urges us to revive these efforts, and that the world's powers also look at issues of global disarmament and security as pieces of the same puzzle. Why Nuclear Disarmament Matters includes specific suggestions--how the UN can set the stage for a credible multilateral disarmament and nonproliferation process; what kind of treaties would be most helpful--and recommendations for regional policy, including providing the Middle East with enriched uranium for civilian nuclear power production but not allowing uranium enrichment there.
About the Author: From March 2000 to June 2003 Hans Blix was Executive Chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). Dr. Blix, author of Disarming Iraq, is Chair of the Swedish government's Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The Epicenter of Crisis
The New Middle East
Edited by Alexander T. J. Lennon
MIT Press, March 2008
Book Description: The Epicenter of Crisis argues that six contiguous states epitomize the security challenges of a post-9/11, globalized world: Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Characterized by a dramatically transforming Islam, ethnic conflict, civil war, failed states, and terrorism, this "new Middle East" is the epicenter of what some call an arc of crisis, stretching from the Balkans into Southeast Asia. The Epicenter of Crisis examines this geopolitically dynamic region, analyzing the changing role of Islam in these six critical countries, the dangers posed by potential failed states, and the evolving terrorist threat
The contributors, all specialists in Middle East or foreign policy, address such crucial issues as the relationship between the Saudi royal family and Al Quaeda, Syria's waning influence over Hizbollah, media coverage of the war in Iraq, a new U.S. strategy for dealing with Iran, Afghanistan's opium industry, and the effectiveness of U.S. multi-billion-dollar assistance to Pakistan. The Epicenter of Crisis challenges readers to reconceptualize the boundaries of the Middle East in a changed world.
American Environmental Policy, 1990-2006
Christopher McGrory Klyza and David Sousa
MIT Press, January 2008
Book Description: The "golden era" of American environmental lawmaking, between 1964 and 1980, saw twenty-two pieces of major environmental legislation (including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act) passed by bipartisan majorities in Congress and signed into law by presidents of both parties. But since then environmental issues have divided the parties and engendered bitter interest-group politics, with most new proposals blocked by legislative gridlock. In this book, Christopher McGrory Klyza and David Sousa argue that this longstanding legislative stalemate at the national level has forced environmental policymaking onto other pathways, both inside and outside government. Despite the congressional impasse, they write, environmental policymaking today is vibrant and complex--although the results fall short of what is needed in the years ahead.
Klyza and Sousa identify and analyze five alternative policy paths, which they illustrate with case studies: "appropriations politics" in Congress; executive authority, including the rulemaking process; the role of the courts, whose role in environmental policymaking has grown in the era of legislative gridlock; “next-generation” collaborative experiments (which, the authors argue, should be seen as an important approach but not a panacea); and policymaking at the state level. Their comprehensive analysis of the state of environmental policymaking since 1990 shows that although legislative gridlock is unlikely to dissipate anytime soon, the nation continues to move in the direction favored by environmentalists, largely because of the policy legacies of the 1960s and 1970s that have created an enduring 'green state" rooted in statutes, bureaucratic routines, and public expectations.
About the Authors: Christopher McGrory Klyza is Robert '35 and Helen '38 Stafford Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College. David Sousa is Professor in the Department of Politics and Government at the University of Puget Sound.
Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics
Reclaiming the Environmental Agenda
Nicholas A. Ashford and Charles C. Caldart
MIT Press, May 2008
Book Description: The past twenty-five years have seen a significant evolution in environmental policy, with new environmental legislation and substantive amendments to earlier laws, significant advances in environmental science, and changes in the treatment of science (and scientific uncertainty) by the courts. This book offers a detailed discussion of the important issues in environmental law, policy, and economics, tracing their development over the past few decades through an examination of environmental law cases and commentaries by leading scholars. The authors focus on pollution, addressing both pollution control and prevention, but also emphasize the evaluation, design, and use of the law to stimulate technical change and industrial transformation, arguing that there is a need to address broader issues of sustainable development.
Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics, which grew out of courses taught by the authors at MIT, treats the traditional topics covered in most classes in environmental law and policy, including common law and administrative law concepts and the primary federal legislation. But it goes beyond these to address topics not often found in a single volume: the information-based obligations of industry, enforcement of environmental law, market-based and voluntary alternatives to traditional regulation, risk assessment, environmental economics, and technological innovation and diffusion. Countering arguments found in other texts that government should play a reduced role in environmental protection, this book argues that clear, stringent legal requirements--coupled with flexible means for meeting them--and meaningful stakeholder participation are necessary for bringing about environmental improvements and technological transformations.
About the Authors: Nicholas A. Ashford is Professor of Technology and Director of the Technology and Law Program at MIT. Charles C. Caldart is Director of Litigation of the National Environmental Law Center and a Lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT.
Fundamental Tax Reform
Issues, Choices, and Implications
Edited by John W. Diamond and George R. Zodrow
MIT Press, April 2008
Book Description: Reform of the federal income tax system has become a perennial item on the domestic policy agenda of the United States, although there is considerable uncertainty over specifics. Indeed the recent report of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform recommended not one but two divergent policy directions (and included extensive discussion of a third). In Fundamental Tax Reform, top experts in tax policy discuss a wide range of issues raised by the prospect of significant tax reform, identifying the most critical questions and considering whether the answers are known, unknown--or unknowable.
The debates over tax reform usually concern the advantages and disadvantages of income-based taxation as opposed to any of the several alternative forms of consumption-based taxation. The book opens with chapters that discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and political feasibility of these options. Other chapters consider the effects of tax reforms on businesses, especially their investment behavior, and include a discussion of possible problems in any transition to a consumption-based tax; international taxation issues arising in an era of globalization; and individual behavioral response to tax reform, including a view of the topic from the perspective of the relatively new field of behavioral economics.
Taxing Ourselves, 4th Edition
A Citizen's Guide to the Debate over Taxes
Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija
MIT Press, April 2008
Book Description: As Albert Einstein may or may not have said, "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax." Indeed, to follow the debate over tax reform, the interested citizen is forced to choose between misleading sound bites and academic treatises. Taxing Ourselves bridges the gap between the two by discussing the key issues clearly and without a political agenda: Should the federal income tax be replaced with a flat tax or sales tax? Should it be left in place and reformed? Can tax cuts stimulate the economy, or will higher deficits undermine any economic benefit? Tax policy experts Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija lay out in accessible language what is known and not known about how taxes affect the economy, offer guidelines for evaluating tax systems, and provide enough information to assess both the current income tax system and the leading proposals to reform or replace it (including the flat tax and the consumption tax).
The fourth edition of this popular guide has been extensively revised to incorporate the latest information, covering such recent developments as the Bush administration's tax cuts (which expire in 2011) and the alternatives proposed by the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. Slemrod and Bakija provide us with the knowledge and the tools--including an invaluable voter's guide to the tax policy debate--to make our own informed choices about how we should tax ourselves.
About the Authors: Joel Slemrod is Paul W. McCracken Collegiate Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy and Director of the Office of Tax Policy Research at the University of Michigan. Jon Bakija is Associate Professor of Economics at Williams College and Visiting Associate Professor of Law at Cornell University Law School, 2007-2008.
Digital Media and Democracy
Tactics in Hard Times
Edited by Megan Boler
MIT Press, May 2008
Book Description: In an age of proliferating media and news sources, who has the power to define reality? When the dominant media declared the existence of WMDs in Iraq, did that make it a fact? Today, the "Social web" (sometimes known as Web 2.0, groupware, or the participatory Web)--epitomized by blogs, viral videos, and YouTube--creates new pathways for truths to emerge and makes possible new tactics for media activism. In Digital Media and Democracy, leading scholars in media and communication studies, media activists, journalists, and artists explore the contradiction at the heart of the relationship between truth and power today: the fact that the radical democratization of knowledge and multiplication of sources and voices made possible by digital media coexists with the blatant falsification of information by political and corporate powers.
The book maps a new digital media landscape that features citizen journalism, The Daily Show, blogging, and alternative media. The contributors discuss broad questions of media and politics, offer nuanced analyses of change in journalism, and undertake detailed examinations of the use of Web-based media in shaping political and social movements. The chapters include not only essays by noted media scholars but also interviews with such journalists and media activists as Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, Media Matters host Robert McChesney, and Hassan Ibrahim of Al Jazeera.
The Privacy Advocates
Resisting the Spread of Surveillance
Colin J. Bennett
MIT Press, October 2008
A number of high-profile conflicts in recent years have brought this international advocacy movement more sharply into focus. Bennett is the first to examine privacy and surveillance not from a legal, political, or technical perspective but from the viewpoint of these independent activists who have found creative ways to affect policy and practice. Drawing on extensive interviews with key informants in the movement, he examines how they frame the issue and how they organize, who they are and what strategies they use. He also presents a series of case studies that illustrate how effective their efforts have been, including conflicts over key-escrow encryption (which allows the government to read encrypted messages), online advertising through third-party cookies that track users across different Web sites, and online authentication mechanisms such as the short-lived Microsoft Passport. Finally, Bennett considers how the loose coalitions of the privacy network could develop into a more cohesive international social movement.
About the Author: Colin Bennett is Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. He is the coauthor (with Charles Raab) of The Governance of Privacy: Policy Instruments in Global Perspective (updated paperback edition, MIT Press, 2006).
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I really enjoy these book reviews and current awareness/acquisitions posts.
Posted by: pcharles | May 1, 2008 9:27:45 AM