Private ratings, public regulation: credit rating agencies and global financial governance (EBOOK)

By Andreas Kruck

Credit rating agencies play a powerful and highly contentious role in the governance of global financial markets. In the decades before the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-10, market actors as well as public regulators came to increasingly rely on the credit risk assessments provided by private rating agencies. States and international bodies made use of credit ratings for a range of regulatory purposes, thus transferring (quasi- )regulatory authority to the agencies. This book introduces an original neoinstitutionalist framework to explain common trends and cross-country differences in the transfer of (quasi- )regulatory authority to rating agencies and to analyze regulatory reforms after the Financial Crisis. The proposed framework helps to account for state-sanctioned and bolstered modes of private governance far beyond the case of ratings-dependent regulation. It therefore contributes to a better understanding of the changing role of the state and the causes and conditions of the transfer of political authority to private actors.


Why religion is natural and science is not

By Robert N. McCauley

The battle between religion and science, competing methods of knowing ourselves and our world, has been raging for many centuries. Now scientists themselves are looking at cognitive foundations of religion–and arriving at some surprising conclusions.

Over the course of the past two decades, scholars have employed insights gleaned from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and related disciplines to illuminate the study of religion. In Why Religion is Natural and Science Is Not, Robert N. McCauley, one of the founding fathers of the cognitive science of religion, argues that our minds are better suited to religious belief than to scientific inquiry. Drawing on the latest research and illustrating his argument with commonsense examples, McCauley argues that religion has existed for many thousands of years in every society because the kinds of explanations it provides are precisely the kinds that come naturally to human minds. Science, on the other hand, is a much more recent and rare development because it reaches radical conclusions and requires a kind of abstract thinking that only arises consistently under very specific social conditions. Religion makes intuitive sense to us, while science requires a lot of work. McCauley then draws out the larger implications of these findings. The naturalness of religion, he suggests, means that science poses no real threat to it, while the unnaturalness of science puts it in a surprisingly precarious position.

Rigorously argued and elegantly written, this provocative book will appeal to anyone interested in the ongoing debate between religion and science, and in the nature and workings of the human mind.


Brian Cox on Acting in Tragedy (DVD)

In this terrific 60-minute master class, Brian Cox covers the fine points of tragic acting. The London Times calls this video, “Full of common sense … In the end, it is we actors who are on the spot … Scenes that start rehearsal as straightforward Shakespeare babble assume dramatic shape …” “Tragedy. A rollicking good time he has with it too – menacing whispers, daggers and blood obviously have their funny side, at least with his fascinated young audience. Among the young thespians taking note are Cathy Tyson and the late Lord Olivier’s youngest daughter, Tamsin.” -The London Daily Mail


The new science of retailing: how analytics are transforming the supply chain and improving performance

By Marshall L. Fisher and Ananth Raman

Retailers today are drowning in data but lacking in insight: They have huge volumes of information at their disposal. But they’re unsure of how to sort through it and use it to make smart decisions. The result? They’re struggling with profit-sapping supply chain problems including stock-outs, overstock, and discounting.

It doesn’t have to be that way. In The New Science of Retailing, supply chain experts Marshall Fisher and Ananth Raman explain how to use analytics to better manage your inventory for faster turns, fewer discounted offerings, and fatter profit margins.

Featuring case studies of retailing exemplars from around the world, this practical new book shows you how to:

· Mine your sales data to identify “homerun” products you’re missing

· Reinvent your forecasting and pricing strategies

· Build end-to-end agility into your supply chain

· Establish incentives that align your supply chain partners behind shared objectives

· Extract maximum value from technologies such as point-of-sale scanners and customer loyalty cards

Highly readable and compelling, The New Science of Retailing is your playbook for turning all that data into a wellspring for new profits and unprecedented efficiency.


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