Accounting for Value teaches investors and analysts how to handle accounting in evaluating equity investments. The book's novel approach shows that valuation and accounting are much the same: valuation is actually a matter of accounting for value.
Laying aside many of the tools of modern finance—the cost-of-capital, the CAPM, and discounted cash flow analysis—Stephen Penman returns to the common-sense principles that have long guided fundamental investing: price is what you pay but value is what you get; the risk in investing is the risk of paying too much; anchor on what you know rather than speculation; and beware of paying too much for speculative growth. Penman puts these ideas in touch with the quantification supplied by accounting, producing practical tools for the intelligent investor.
Accounting for value provides protection from paying too much for a stock and clues the investor in to the likely return from buying growth. Strikingly, the analysis finesses the need to calculate a "cost-of-capital," which often frustrates the application of modern valuation techniques. Accounting for value recasts "value" versus "growth" investing and explains such curiosities as why earnings-to-price and book-to-price ratios predict stock returns. By the end of the book, Penman has the intelligent investor thinking like an intelligent accountant, better equipped to handle the bubbles and crashes of our time. For accounting regulators, Penman also prescribes a formula for intelligent accounting reform, engaging with such controversial issues as fair value accounting.
East Asian Studies
China's increasing role in global economic affairs has placed the country at a crossroads: how many and what types of international capital-market transactions will China permit? How will China's financial system change internally? What kind of relationships will the Chinese government develop with foreign financial institutions, especially with those based in the United States? Can China broker a sustainable partnership with America that will avoid sending economic shock waves throughout the world?
Drawing on the contemporary research of prominent international scholars, the experts in this volume outline the trajectory of China's financial markets since the advent of reform and anticipate their uncertain future. Chapter authors and commentators include Geert Bekaert, Loren Brandt, Lee Branstetter, Mary Wadsworth Darby, Michael DeStefano, Barry Eichengreen, Campbell Harvey, Fred Hu, Xiaobo Lu, Christian Lundblad, Ailsa Roell, Daniel Rosen, Shang-Jin Wei, Jialin Yu, and Xiaodong Zhu.
The book begins with an overview of the history of financial-sector development, regulation, and performance and then focuses on the banking sector, discussing the progress, challenges, and prospects of current sector reform. Subsequent chapters describe the role of foreign capital in China's development and analyze the changes in capital flows and controls over time; explore various explanations for China's composition of foreign-capital and foreign-exchange policies, particularly the factors shaping China's reliance on foreign direct investment; and provide an international, comparative perspective on the remarkable growth experience of China and the contribution of its institutional environment to that experience.
Contributors dispute the belief that stock market listing has done little to reform state-owned enterprises and take a hard look at the exchange rate regime choice for China, considering the potential long-run desirability of flexibility and the appropriate sequencing of reforms in foreign-exchange policy, domestic banking reform, and capital-market openness. The book concludes with a roundtable discussion in which prominent economists, including Peter Garber, Robert Hodrick, John Makin, David Malpass, Frederic Mishkin, and Eswar Prasad, debate the pace of the appreciation of China's currency and the likely consequences of that policy within and outside of China.
More than 30 leading scholars and finance practitioners discuss the theory and practice of using enterprise-risk management (ERM) to increase corporate values. ERM is the corporate-wide effort to manage the right-hand side of the balance sheet—a firm's total liability structure-in ways that enable management to make the most of the firm's assets. While typically working to stabilize cash flows, the primary aim of a well-designed risk management program is not to smooth corporate earnings, but to limit the possibility that surprise outcomes can threaten a company's ability to fund its major investments and carry out its strategic plan. Contributors summarize the development and use of risk management products and their practical applications. Case studies involve Merck, British Petroleum, the American airline industry, and United Grain Growers, and the conclusion addresses a variety of topics that include the pricing and use of certain derivative securities, hybrid debt, and catastrophe bonds.
Contributors: Tom Aabo (Aarhus School of Business); Albéric Braas and Charles N. Bralver (Oliver, Wyman & Company); Keith C. Brown (University of Texas at Austin); David A. Carter (Oklahoma State University); Christopher L. Culp (University of Chicago); Neil A. Doherty (University of Pennsylvania); John R. S. Fraser (Hyrdo One, Inc.); Kenneth R. French (University of Chicago); Gerald D. Gay (Georgia State University); Jeremy Gold (Jeremy Gold Pensions); Scott E. Harrington (University of South Carolina); J. B. Heaton (Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP); Joel Houston (University of Florida); Nick Hudson (Stern Stewart & Co.); Christopher James (University of Florida); A. John Kearney and Judy C. Lewent (Merck & Co., Inc.); Robert C. Merton and Lisa K. Meulbroek (Harvard Business School); Merton H. Miller (University of Chicago); Jouahn Nam (Pace University); Andrea M. P. Neves (CP Risk Management LLC); Brian W. Nocco (Nationwide Insurance); André F. Perold (Harvard Business School); S. Waite Rawls III (Continental Bank); Kenneth J. Risko (Willis Risk Solutions); Angelika Schöchlin (University of St. Gallen); Betty J. Simkins (Oklahoma State University); Donald J. Smith (Boston University); Clifford W. Smith Jr. (University of Rochester); Charles W. Smithson (Continental Bank); René M. Stulz (Ohio State University);
All the articles that comprise this book were first published in the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance. Morgan Stanley's ownership of the journal is a reflection of its commitment to identifying outstanding academic research and promoting its application in the practicing corporate and investment communities.
Humphreys, Macartan, Jeffrey D. Sachs, and Joseph E. Stiglitz, eds.
The wealth derived from natural resources can have a tremendous impact on the economics and politics of producing countries. In the last quarter century, we have seen the surprising and sobering consequences of this wealth, producing what is now known as the "resource curse." Countries with large endowments of natural resources, such as oil and gas, often do worse than their poorer neighbors. Their resource wealth frequently leads to lower growth rates, greater volatility, more corruption, and, in extreme cases, devastating civil wars.
In this volume, leading economists, lawyers, and political scientists address the fundamental channels generated by this wealth and examine the major decisions a country must make when faced with an abundance of a natural resource. They identify such problems as asymmetric bargaining power, limited access to information, the failure to engage in long-term planning, weak institutional structures, and missing mechanisms of accountability. They also provide a series of solutions, including recommendations for contracting with oil companies and allocating revenue; guidelines for negotiators; models for optimal auctions; and strategies to strengthen state-society linkages and public accountability.
The contributors show that solutions to the resource curse do exist; yet, institutional innovations are necessary to align the incentives of key domestic and international actors, and this requires fundamental political changes and much greater levels of transparency than currently exist. It is becoming increasingly clear that past policies have not provided the benefits they promised. Escaping the Resource Curse lays out a path for radically improving the management of the world's natural resources.
Ocampo, Jose Antonio, Codrina Rada, and Lance Taylor
Economic structuralists use a broad, systemwide approach to understanding development, and this textbook assumes a structuralist perspective in its investigation of why a host of developing countries have failed to grow at 2 percent or more since 1960. Sensitive to the wide range of factors that affect an economy's strength and stability, the authors identify the problems that have long frustrated growth in many parts of the developing world while suggesting new strategies and policies to help improve standards of living.
After a survey of structuralist methods and post-World War II trends of global economic growth, the authors discuss the role that patterns in productivity, production structures, and capital accumulation play in the growth dynamics of developing countries. Next, it outlines the evolution of trade patterns and the effect of the terms of trade on economic performance, especially for countries that depend on commodity exports.
The authors acknowledge the structural limits of macroeconomic policy, highlighting the negative effects of financial volatility and certain financial structures while recommending policies to better manage external shocks. These policies are then further developed through a discussion of growth and structural improvements, and are evaluated according to which policy options-macro, industrial, or commercial—best fit within different kinds of developing economies.
Since its first publication, Michael J. Mauboussin's popular guide to wise investing has been translated into eight languages and has been named best business book by BusinessWeek and best economics book by Strategy+Business. Now updated to reflect current research and expanded to include new chapters on investment philosophy, psychology, and strategy and science as they pertain to money management, this volume is more than ever the best chance to know more than the average investor.
Offering invaluable tools to better understand the concepts of choice and risk, More Than You Know is a unique blend of practical advice and sound theory, sampling from a wide variety of sources and disciplines. Mauboussin builds on the ideas of visionaries, including Warren Buffett and E. O. Wilson, but also finds wisdom in a broad and deep range of fields, such as casino gambling, horse racing, psychology, and evolutionary biology. He analyzes the strategies of poker experts David Sklansky and Puggy Pearson and pinpoints parallels between mate selection in guppies and stock market booms. For this edition, Mauboussin includes fresh thoughts on human cognition, management assessment, game theory, the role of intuition, and the mechanisms driving the market's mood swings, and explains what these topics tell us about smart investing.
More Than You Know is written with the professional investor in mind but extends far beyond the world of economics and finance. Mauboussin groups his essays into four parts-Investment Philosophy, Psychology of Investing, Innovation and Competitive Strategy, and Science and Complexity Theory-and he includes substantial references for further reading. A true eye-opener, More Than You Know shows how a multidisciplinary approach that pays close attention to process and the psychology of decision making offers the best chance for long-term financial results.
Author of the acclaimed work Iceberg Risk: An Adventure in Portfolio Theory, Kent Osband argues that uncertainty is central rather than marginal to finance. Markets don't trade mainly on changes in risk. They trade on changes in beliefs about risk. In the process, markets unite, stretch, and occasionally defy beliefs.
Recognizing this would make a world of difference in investing. Belittling uncertainty has driven a rift between financial theory and practice and within finance theory itself. It has misguided regulation. It has stoked the greatest financial imbalances in world history.
Hoping to spark a revolution in the mindset of the investment professional, Osband recasts the market as a learning machine rather than a knowledge machine. The market continually errs, corrects itself, and makes new errors. Respecting that process without idolizing it will lead to wiser investment, trading, and regulation. With uncertainty embedded at its core, Osband's rational approach points to a finance theory worthy of twenty-first-century investing.
The privatization of large state-owned enterprises is one of the most radical policy developments of the last quarter century. Right-wing governments have privatized in an effort to decrease the size of government, while left-wing governments have privatized either to compensate for the failures of state-owned firms or to generate revenues. In this way, privatization has spread from Europe to Latin America, from Asia to Africa, reaching its zenith with Central and Eastern Europe's transition from socialism to capitalism.
In many countries state ownership has been an important tool in bringing cheap water, energy, and transport to poorer segments of the population. In other instances, it has sponsored aggressive cutbacks, corruption, and cronyism. Privatization: Successes and Failures evaluates the practices and results of privatization in Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Featuring the world's leading economists and experts on privatization, this volume offers a broad and balanced analysis of specific privatization projects and uncovers some surprising trends. Partial privatization, for example, tends to be more widespread than one might think, and the effects of privatization on efficiency are generally mixed but rarely negative. Also, while privatization appears uncontroversial in competitive sectors, it becomes increasingly complex in more monopolistic sectors where good regulation is crucial. Privatization concludes with alternative frameworks for countries in Africa and other regions that seek to develop privatization policy and programs.
The 1944 Bretton Woods conference created new institutions for international economic governance. Though flawed, the system led to a golden age in postwar reconstruction, sustained economic growth, job creation, and postcolonial development. Yet financial liberalization since the 1970s has involved deregulation and globalization, which have exacerbated instability, rather than sustained growth. In addition, the failure of Bretton Woods to provide a reserve currency enabled the dollar to fill the void, which has contributed to periodic, massive U.S. trade deficits.
Our latest global financial crisis, in which all these weaknesses played a part, underscores how urgently we must reform the international financial system. Prepared for the G24 research program, a consortium of developing countries focused on financial issues, this volume argues that such reforms must be developmental. Chapters review historical trends in global liquidity, financial flows to emerging markets, and the food crisis, identifying the systemic flaws that contributed to the recent downturn. They challenge the effectiveness of recent policy and suggest criteria for regulatory reform, keeping in mind the different circumstances, capacities, and capabilities of various economies. Essays follow ongoing revisions in international banking standards, the improved management of international capital flows, the critical role of the World Trade Organization in liberalizing and globalizing financial services, and the need for international tax cooperation. They also propose new global banking and reserve currency arrangements.
Wall Street believes that all public companies should grow smoothly and continuously, as evidenced by ever-increasing quarterly earnings, and that all companies either "grow or die." Introducing a research-based growth model called "Smart Growth," Edward D. Hess challenges this ethos and its dangerous mentality, which often deters real growth and pressures businesses to create, manufacture, and purchase noncore earnings just to appease Wall Street.
Smart Growth accounts for the complexity of growth from the perspective of organization, process, change, leadership, cognition, risk management, employee engagement, and human dynamics. Authentic growth is much more than a strategy or a desired result. It is a process characterized by complex change, entrepreneurial action, experimental learning, and the management of risk. Hess draws on extensive public and private company research, incorporating case studies of Best Buy, Sysco, UPS, Costco, Starbucks, McDonalds, Coca Cola, Room & Board, Home Depot, Tiffany & Company, P&G, and Jet Blue. With conceptual innovations such as an Authentic Earnings and Growth System framework, a seven-step growth funnel pipeline, a Growth Decision Template, and a Growth Risks Audit, Hess provides a blueprint for an enduring business that strives to be better, rather than simply bigger.
Kenneth A. Posner spent close to two decades as a Wall Street analyst, tracking the so-called "specialty finance" sector, which included controversial companies such as Countrywide, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, CIT, and MasterCard—many of which were caught in the subprime mortgage and capital markets crisis of 2007. While extreme volatility is nothing new in finance, the recent downturn caught many off guard, indicating that the traditional approach to decision making had let them down. Introducing a new framework for handling and evaluating extreme risk, Posner draws on years of experience to show how decision makers can best cope with the "Black Swans" of our time.
Posner's shrewd assessment combines the classic fundamental research approach of Benjamin Graham and David Dodd with more recent developments in cognitive science, computational theory, and quantitative finance. He outlines a probabilistic approach to decision making that involves forecasting across a range of scenarios, and he explains how to balance confidence, react accurately to fast-breaking information, overcome information overload, zero in on the critical issues, penetrate the information asymmetry shielding corporate executives, and integrate the power of human intuition with sophisticated analytics. Emphasizing the computational resources we already have at our disposal—our computers and our minds—Posner offers a new track to decision making for analysts, investors, traders, corporate executives, risk managers, regulators, policymakers, journalists, and anyone who faces a world of extreme volatility.
When do you get your best ideas? You probably answer "At night," or "In the shower," or "Stuck in traffic." You get a flash of insight. Things come together in your mind. You connect the dots. You say to yourself, "Aha! I see what to do." Brain science now reveals how these flashes of insight happen. It's a special form of intuition. We call it strategic intuition, because it gives you an idea for action-a strategy.
Brain science tells us there are three kinds of intuition: ordinary, expert, and strategic. Ordinary intuition is just a feeling, a gut instinct. Expert intuition is snap judgments, when you instantly recognize something familiar, the way a tennis pro knows where the ball will go from the arc and speed of the opponent's racket. (Malcolm Gladwell wrote about this kind of intuition in Blink.) The third kind, strategic intuition, is not a vague feeling, like ordinary intuition. Strategic intuition is a clear thought. And it's not fast, like expert intuition. It's slow. That flash of insight you had last night might solve a problem that's been on your mind for a month. And it doesn't happen in familiar situations, like a tennis match. Strategic intuition works in new situations. That's when you need it most.
Everyone knows you need creative thinking, or entrepreneurial thinking, or innovative thinking, or strategic thinking to succeed in the modern world. All these kinds of thinking happen through flashes of insight—strategic intuition. And now that we know how it works, you can learn to do it better. That's what this book is about.
Over the past ten years, William Duggan has conducted pioneering research on strategic intuition and for the past three years has taught a popular course at Columbia Business School on the subject. He now gives us this eye-opening book that shows how strategic intuition lies at the heart of great achievements throughout human history: the scientific and computer revolutions, women's suffrage, the civil rights movement, modern art, microfinance in poor countries, and more. Considering the achievements of people and organizations, from Bill Gates to Google, Copernicus to Martin Luther King, Picasso to Patton, you'll never think the same way about strategy again.
Three kinds of strategic ideas apply to human achievement: * Strategic analysis, where you study the situation you face. * Strategic intuition, where you get a creative idea for what to do. * Strategic planning, where you work out the details of how to do it.
There is no shortage of books about strategic analysis and strategic planning. This new book by William Duggan is the first full treatment of strategic intuition. It's the missing piece of the strategy puzzle that makes essential reading for anyone interested in achieving more in any field of human endeavor.
Taxes are a crucial policy issue, especially in developing countries. Just recently, proposals to raise middle-class taxes toppled the Bolivian government, and plans to extend or increase the value-added tax caused political unrest in Ecuador and Mexico. Despite the impact of tax policy on developing countries, a comprehensive study has yet to be written. Treating Argentina, Brazil, India, Kenya, Korea, and Russia as key case studies, this volume outlines the major aspects of current tax codes and explores their economic and political implications.
Examples of both the poorest and wealthiest developing countries, Argentina, Brazil, India, Kenya, Korea, and Russia uniquely demonstrate the diverse fiscal problems of tax reform. Each economy relies heavily on indirect and corporate income taxes, though recently some have reduced their tariff rates and have switched from excise to value-added taxes. There is a large, informal economy in most of these countries, and tax evasion by firms is a significant concern. As a result, tax revenue remains low, even though rates are as high as those in developed economies. Also, unconventional methods to collect revenue have been implemented, including bank debit taxes, state ownership of firms, and implicit taxes on individuals in the informal sector.
Exploring these and other concerns, as well as changes in tax law, administration, and fiscal pressures, this comprehensive anthology clarifies the current landscape of tax administration and the economic future of the world's poorer economies.
Over the past twenty years more citizens in China and India have raised themselves out of poverty than anywhere else at any time in history. They accomplished this through the local business sector—the leading source of prosperity for all rich countries. In most of Africa and other poor regions the business sector is weak, but foreign aid continues to fund government and NGOs. Switching aid to the local business sector in order to cultivate a middle class is the oldest, surest, and only way to eliminate poverty in poor countries.
A bold fusion of ethics and smart business, The Aid Trap shows how the same energy, goodwill, and money that we devote to charity can help local business thrive. R. Glenn Hubbard and William Duggan, two leading scholars in business and finance, demonstrate that by diverting a major share of charitable aid into the local business sector of poor countries, citizens can take the lead in the growth of their own economies. Although the aid system supports noble goals, a local well-digging company cannot compete with a foreign charity that digs wells for free. By investing in that local company a sustainable system of development can take root.
In order to avoid another Enron, WorldCom, or Tyco, company directors have assumed a bold and independent role in the boardroom, monitoring the actions and day-to-day operations of the CEO. This dramatic shift has created a new dynamic, one that requires careful negotiation from both parties to get the job done. Giving directors, executives, investors, and stakeholders the tools to make this relationship work, William M. Klepper describes the best techniques for building a productive partnership and establishing a plan of action for a variety of businesses and settings.
Klepper, an executive educator, has worked with AT&T, Bausch & Lomb, Johnson & Johnson, Sony, Sun Microsystems, and a host of other corporations. He knows what makes a healthy partnership between a board and its CEO and the consequences of a bad fit. In this book, he details the eight practices of successful executives, such as facilitating innovation, motivating change, and developing leadership skills, and he explains what directors need to evaluate, such as working style, social behavior, and the handling of stress, before they commit to hiring a CEO.
The most critical element is the social contract, in which directors and their CEOs agree to be transparent, continually reassess their company's risk, maintain core company values, and make a commitment to their stakeholders. These include employees, shareholders, customers, and the community. In this essential volume, Klepper encourages directors to embrace their independence, and he teaches executives to value tough love.
Stiglitz, Joseph E., Aaron S. Edlin, and J. Bradford DeLong, eds.
In this valuable resource, more than thirty of the world's top economists offer innovative policy ideas and insightful commentary on our most pressing economic issues, such as global warming, the global economy, government spending, Social Security, tax reform, real estate, and political and social policy, including an extensive look at the economics of capital punishment, welfare reform, and the recent presidential elections.
Contributors are Nobel Prize winners, former presidential advisers, well-respected columnists, academics, and practitioners from across the political spectrum. Joseph E. Stiglitz takes a hard look at the high cost of the Iraq War; Nobel Laureates Kenneth Arrow, Thomas Schelling, and Stiglitz provide insight and advice on global warming; Paul Krugman demystifies Social Security; Bradford DeLong presents divergent views on the coming dollar crisis; Diana Farrell reconsiders the impact of U.S. offshoring; Michael J. Boskin distinguishes what is "sense" and what is "nonsense" in discussions of federal deficits and debt; and Ronald I. McKinnon points out the consequences of the deindustrialization of America.
Additional essays question whether welfare reform was successful and explore the economic consequences of global warming and the rebuilding of New Orleans. They describe how a simple switch in auto insurance policy could benefit the environment; unravel the dangers of an unchecked housing bubble; and investigate the mishandling of the lending institutions Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Balancing empirical data with economic theory, The Economists' Voice proves that the unique perspective of the economist is a vital one for understanding today's world.
“This is that rarity, a useful book.”--Warren Buffett
Howard Marks, the chairman and cofounder of Oaktree Capital Management, is renowned for his insightful assessments of market opportunity and risk. After four decades spent ascending to the top of the investment management profession, he is today sought out by the world's leading value investors, and his client memos brim with insightful commentary and a time-tested, fundamental philosophy. Now for the first time, all readers can benefit from Marks's wisdom, concentrated into a single volume that speaks to both the amateur and seasoned investor.
Informed by a lifetime of experience and study, The Most Important Thing explains the keys to successful investment and the pitfalls that can destroy capital or ruin a career. Utilizing passages from his memos to illustrate his ideas, Marks teaches by example, detailing the development of an investment philosophy that fully acknowledges the complexities of investing and the perils of the financial world. Brilliantly applying insight to today's volatile markets, Marks offers a volume that is part memoir, part creed, with a number of broad takeaways.
Marks expounds on such concepts as "second-level thinking," the price/value relationship, patient opportunism, and defensive investing. Frankly and honestly assessing his own decisions—and occasional missteps—he provides valuable lessons for critical thinking, risk assessment, and investment strategy. Encouraging investors to be "contrarian," Marks wisely judges market cycles and achieves returns through aggressive yet measured action. Which element is the most essential? Successful investing requires thoughtful attention to many separate aspects, and each of Marks's subjects proves to be the most important thing.
Mutual funds form the bedrock of retirement savings in the United States, and, considering their rapid growth, are sure to be more critical in the future. Because the size of fees paid by investors to mutual fund advisers can strongly affect the return on investment, these fees have become a contentious issue in Congress and the courts, with many arguing that investment advisers grow rich at the expense of investors.
This ground-breaking book not only conceptualizes a new economic model of the mutual fund industry, but also uses this model to test for price competition between investment advisers, evaluating the assertion that market forces fail to protect investors' returns from excessive fees. Highly experienced authors track the growth of the industry over the past twenty-five years and present arguments and evidence both for and against theories of adviser malfeasance. The authors review the regulatory history of mutual fund fees and summarize leading case decisions addressing excessive fees
Revealing the extent to which the governance structure of mutual funds truly impacts fund performance, this book provides the best understanding of today's mutual fund industry and is a vital tool for investors, money managers, fund directors, securities lawyers, economists, and anyone concerned with the regulation of mutual funds.
Understanding the origins of business is fundamental to grasping modern life, yet most historians look only to the nineteenth century to build their narratives. While the industrial revolution profoundly remade business practice and established much of the corporate organization we recognize today, the sweep of business history actually begins much earlier, with the initial cities of Mesopotamia. Traveling back to this society of ancient traders and consumers, Keith Roberts recasts the rise of modern business, exposing the flaws inherent in dominant histories and the parallels between early and modern business practice.
Roberts's fascinating narrative begins five thousand years ago in the Middle East. Explaining why prehistoric tribes had no "business," he describes the lack of material conditions and conceptual framework that made such an interchange impossible. Roberts then locates the origins of business in the long distance trade of ancient Mesopotamia, especially through slave trading, retailing, and financing, and maps the rise of modern models of currency, markets, and business in Greece, along with the emergence of banking, mercenaries, and reliable small coinage. The conquests of Alexander the Great brought these advances to the Mediterranean world and the Middle East. Agribusiness took root, and the Romans developed public contracting, corporations, and even shopping malls. Roberts concludes with the mysterious, virtual disappearance of business in the third century A.D. Each of his chapters vividly portrays the major types of business that thrived in a certain era and the status, wealth, and treatment of business owners, managers, and workers. The narrative throughout sustains a focus on issues of business morality, the nature of wealth, the role of finance, and the development of public institutions shaping business possibilities. In extent and content, Roberts's research is unparalleled, forming an absorbing account of a long neglected history.
The Right to Know is a timely and compelling consideration of a vital question: What information should governments and other powerful organizations disclose? Excessive secrecy corrodes democracy, facilitates corruption, and undermines good public policymaking, but keeping a lid on military strategies, personal data, and trade secrets is crucial to the protection of the public interest.
Over the past several years, transparency has swept the world. India and South Africa have adopted groundbreaking national freedom of information laws. China is on the verge of promulgating new openness regulations that build on the successful experiments of such major municipalities as Shanghai. From Asia to Africa to Europe to Latin America, countries are struggling to overcome entrenched secrecy and establish effective disclosure policies. More than seventy now have or are developing major disclosure policies or laws. But most of the world's nearly 200 nations do not have coherent disclosure laws; implementation of existing rules often proves difficult; and there is no consensus about what disclosure standards should apply to the increasingly powerful private sector.
As governments and corporations battle with citizens and one another over the growing demand to submit their secrets to public scrutiny, they need new insights into whether, how, and when greater openness can serve the public interest, and how to bring about beneficial forms of greater disclosure. The Right to Know distills the lessons of many nations' often bitter experience and provides careful analysis of transparency's impact on governance, business regulation, environmental protection, and national security. Its powerful lessons make it a critical companion for policymakers, executives, and activists, as well as students and scholars seeking a better understanding of how to make information policy serve the public interest.
Grzegorz W. Kolodko, one of the world's leading authorities on economics and development policy and a key architect of Poland's successful economic reforms, applies his far-reaching knowledge to the past and future of the world economy, introducing a framework for understanding our global situation that transcends any single discipline or paradigm.
Deploying a novel mix of scientific evaluation and personal observation, Kolodko begins with a brief discussion of misinformation and its perpetuation in economics and politics. He criticizes the simplification of complex economic and social issues and investigates the link between developments in the global economy and cultural change, scientific discoveries, and political fluctuations. Underscoring the necessity of conceptual and theoretical innovation in understanding our global economic situation, Kolodko offers a provocative study of globalization and the possibility of coming out ahead in an era of worldwide interdependence. Deeply critical of neoliberalism, which sought to transfer economic control exclusively to the private sector, Kolodko explores the virtues of social-economic development and the new rules of the economic game. He concludes with a look at our near and distant future, questioning whether we have a say in its making.
Stories of predatory lending practices and the reckless destruction of the environment by greedy corporations dominate the news, suggesting that, in business, ethics and profit are incompatible pursuits. Yet some of the worst lenders are now bankrupt, and Toyota has enjoyed phenomenal success by positioning itself as the green car company par excellence. These trends suggest that antisocial corporate behavior has its costs, especially in terms of the stock market, which penalizes companies that have poor environmental track records and rewards more socially conscious brands.
The political context of our economy is rapidly changing, particularly in regard to incentives that operate outside the marketplace in a strict and narrow sense and involve interactions between corporations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), activist groups, regulatory bodies, consumers, and civil society. These interactions can significantly color a corporation's alternatives, making socially or environmentally harmful behavior much less attractive. British Petroleum, for example, has voluntarily reduced its greenhouse gas emissions over the past ten years, Starbucks, has changed the environmental impact of its coffee production, and Nike and other footwear and textile makers now monitor the labor conditions of their subcontractors.
When Principles Pay jumps headfirst into this engaging and vital issue, asking whether profit maximization and the generation of value for shareholders is compatible with policies that support social and environmental goals. Geoffrey Heal presents a comprehensive examination of how social and environmental performance affects a corporation's profitability and how the stock market reacts to a firm's social and environmental behavior. He looks at socially responsible investment (SRI), reviewing the evolution of the SRI industry and the quality of its returns. He also draws on studies conducted in a wide range of industries, from financials and pharmaceuticals to Wal-Mart and Monsanto, and focuses on the actions of corporations in poor countries. In conclusion, Heal analyzes how social and environmental performance fits into accounting and corporate strategy, presenting an executive perspective on the best way to develop and implement these aspects of a corporation's behavior.