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    GLOBAL CAPITALISM: its fall and rise in the twentieth century

    By Jeffry A. Frieden (Wiley, 2006, 574pp, $39.95)

    Reviews by Jodie O’Keeffe


    Global Capitalism:
    its fall and rise in the
    twentieth century

    The tagline provides a telling clue: for the global economy to fall and rise, it must have been thriving in the past. Frieden, Professor of International Peace at Harvard University, tells the turbulent social, political and economic tale of global capitalism in the past century.

    The twentieth century was ushered in with a buoyant global economy based on the gold standard and innovation in manufacturing, communications and transport. A free world market for goods, capital and labour was becoming firmly established.

    Frieden goes on to describe the fall, beginning in 1914, and the corresponding rise of the global economy in clear, uncomplicated language, accessible even to those who missed Economics 101.

    Economically, Frieden suggests, the twentieth century ended as it began. Again, capital and goods move freely around the globe, supported by (and supporting) technological innovation, especially in the ICT, biotechnology and manufacturing sectors.

    However, as a famous poet once said, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Global Capitalism infers that the dis surrounding global economic policies (financial instability, sweatshop labour, low-wage imports, social policy erosion) will precipitate another fall.

    Two main conclusions are reached: “economies work best when they are open to the world”; and “open economies work best when their governments address the sources of dissatisfaction with global capitalism”.

    Global Capitalism provides a solid educational read for most, but is especially pertinent for today’s entrepreneur: the forces shaping the global economy throughout the last century are still at play. Frieden’s historical account puts the current global market into context and provides insight into its potential weaknesses.

    Switched on: conversations with influential women in the Australian media

    By Catherine Hanger (Wiley, 2006, 255pp, $29.95)

    Switched on: conversations with
    influential women in the Australian media

    Sandra Sully managed fitness centres, Lisa Wilkinson was a Girl Friday and Margaret Pomeranz didn’t feel particularly talented at anything. Far from the corporate ladder, in Switched On, the media is a place you fall into and take it from there.

    That’s what makes this book such a compelling read. Author Catherine Hanger has compiled a long list of big names in Australian media, from television, radio, newspapers, magazines and PR. Some you’ll know and some you won’t, but each woman has forged a unique career path and tells her story intimately and candidly.

    While the media is fond of stereotypes, this book knocks them down. In retelling the professional and private experiences that have shaped their thinking, the interviewees reveal the person behind the persona. They share pivotal moments and difficult decisions, opinions and advice. Many women featured juggled work and family commitments, often creating their own opportunities and shaping their careers to suit.

    By cosying up to the powerful women in a powerful industry, Switched On also leaks some inside stories of the Australian media and how it operates. An absorbing read for players and spectators alike.