I’ve been trying to keep my pandemic era reading on the lighter side, but I couldn’t help myself and I picked up Midwest Futures after seeing it plugged in a James Fallows blog. I can highly recommend this interesting and idiosyncratic book. It’s a combination of history, memoir, and critique of the Midwest region, along with some ideas on future trends and regional prospects. I enjoyed learning about the initial development of the region with a heavy emphasis on the development of the railroads and mass-scale agriculture. It’s not a pretty story, with massive displacement of Native peoples and a general disregard for the plight of the poor and dispossessed. The author, Phil Christman, is highly critical, but also shows his love of his home region, warts and all. His thoughts on the region’s future directions, in the face of climate change (and now COVID 19) are also worth considering.
Let me also add another early plug for new E-book from the folks at VOX EU and the Centre for Economic and Policy Research: Mitigating the COVID 19 Economic Crisis: Act Fast and Do Whatever It Takes. This book offers a very early but useful assessment on what will be needed to recover from our current economic mess. It includes chapters from around the world and from renowned economists like Paul Krugman. The title says it all. We need to keep investing and as the title says, “do whatever it takes.” All of the chapters are early takes on what we’ll need to do, but they offer some excellent ideas from around the globe.