What We Are Reading Today: Empires of the Sky

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Updated 30 May 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Empires of the Sky

Author: Alexander Rose

Alexander Rose’s new book, Empires of the Sky,  is a well written work on the history of commercial aviation.
Rose chronicles the early 20th century rivalry between airships and airplanes for the future of commercial air travel in this exhaustive account.
“Though it seems obvious now that we would get on a jet to cross the Atlantic, that wasn’t the situation in the early periods of aviation. When Lindberg crossed the Atlantic in 1927, it was one man in an airplane that had been stripped down to the lowest weight possible. By comparison, Zepplins, a rigid frame airship, had been capable of carrying over 50 crew members since about 1912,” said a review in goodreads.com.
The book looks at the origins of the Zepplin — first envisioned by a German, Ferdinand von Zepplin.
The company was later helmed by Hugo Eckener. It also looks at technical innovation, political and social topics.
Historian Rose delivers a multi-dimensional story of bold entrepreneurial and engineer exploits, as well as the political machinations and the military value of dirigibles and aeroplanes.


What We Are Reading Today: Rated Agency: Investee Politics in a Speculative Age

Updated 03 August 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Rated Agency: Investee Politics in a Speculative Age

Author: Michel Feher

The hegemony of finance compels a new orientation for everyone and everything: Companies care more about the moods of their shareholders than about longstanding commercial success; governments subordinate citizen welfare to appeasing creditors; and individuals are concerned less with immediate income from labor than appreciation of their capital goods, skills, connections, and reputations.
That firms, states, and people depend more on their ratings than on the product of their activities also changes how capitalism is resisted.
For activists, the focus of grievances shifts from the extraction of profit to the conditions under which financial institutions allocate credit.
In clear and compelling prose, Michel Feher explains the extraordinary shift in conduct and orientation generated by financialization. Above all, he articulates the new political resistances and aspirations that investees draw from their rated agency.