Thomas P. Ogden

Book Notes, July to September 2016

  1. Capitalism by James Fulcher — A brief review of capitalism’s history, its emergence in Europe and current global reach. The most interesting chapter for me is the comparison between different models taken in the United States, Japan and Sweden. On the latter:

    The labour movement’s leadership recognized that welfare depended not just on the strength of socialist ideas and working class organization but also on the operation of a dynamic capitalist economy that could compete internationally and increase the size of the national economic cake. It was one of the central principles of Swedish economic policy that unprofitable companies should be allowed to go bankrupt, so that their resources could be transferred to profitable sectors of the economy. Swedish workers were in this respect rather less protected than British workers by government interventions to bail out failing companies. Furthermore, the union-controlled labour market policy did not protect jobs but assisted workers to become mobile and retrain.

  2. The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy — The second book in the Border Trilogy is a story of three crossings of the Texas border by the teenaged Billy Parham. The first is a dreamlike journey to return a wild, pregnant wolf to its Mexican mountain home, the second and third follow in fate and circumstance.

    The horse raising its head above the skyline to listen among the constellations and then bending to graze again. He studied those worlds sprawled in their pale ignitions upon the nameless night.

    I can never get enough of McCarthy’s runaway sentences and the made-up words that sound right as soon as you read them: ‘the godmade sun’, ‘the mute and footsore dog’, ‘the needlethin sweepsecond hand sectoring the dial’. The best are often saved for his keen-eyed attention to the animals.

  3. The Secret History by Donna Tartt — Pretty sure if I’d read this novel before 2012 I would not have spent the next three years living with classicists.