The Cyberflâneur #3: Adam Tooze

Here at The Syllabus, we are keen practitioners of ostranenie (or defamiliarization). Sharing links and comments is now ubiquitous but what if we are all doing it wrong? What if, instead of following the Skinnerian trajectories of Twitter and Facebook, we were to ask smart and interesting people to do their link selections with care and attention – and without having to worry about popularity or social capital or which of their friends have already shared them? And what if they actually vetted their every link? What would that kind of social media look like? That’s the question we are hoping to answer with our Cyberflâneur section.

This week, our resident practitioner of “cyberflânerie” is Adam Tooze – a prominent historian and the author of, most recently, Crashed. Our editorial process has been the same as with our previous guests (Brian Eno and Hito Steyerl). First, we worked with Adam to identify the themes that interest him at the moment. Then, we trawled our Syllabus stacks to produce a shortlist of relevant pieces. Finally, Adam made his selections (11!) and gave us a comment about each.


Urban Heat: Rising Temperatures as Critique in India’s Air‐Conditioned City | City & Society

Adam Tooze’s comment: “India is in the crosshairs of global warming. This is a fascinating anthropological study of discourses of excessive heat in tech hub Bangalore.”

All That Is Solid Melts into the Bay: Anticipatory Ruination and Climate Change Adaptation | Antipode

Adam Tooze’s comment : “Bangladesh is the most climate-vulnerable country on the planet. Shrimp farming is both a form of adaptation and, as this study argues, a form of “anticipatory ruination.”

China Inc. Goes Global. Transnational and National Networks of China’s Globalizing Business Elite | Review of International Political Economy

Adam Tooze’s comment : “An innovative study of China’s transnational business elite and their relationship both to Western business elites and the Chinese party-state apparatus. Subverts simplistic images of the “rise of China” and the threat to the West.”

Green New Deal Politics: From Grassroots to Mainstream | Common Wealth

Adam Tooze’s comment : “An unusually thought-provoking collection of essays from the left on the global green new deal.”

Populism and Central Bank Independence | Open Economies Review

Adam Tooze’s comment : “Charles Goodhart and Rosa Lastra examine the new political pressures on independent central banks, the ultimate guardians of the neoliberal order. They suggest new mechanisms for guarding the guardians. “

Capital Flows, Asset Prices, and the Real Economy: a “China Shock” in the US Real Estate Market | UC Berkeley Finance Workshop

Adam Tooze’s comment: “The impact of the ‘China shock’ on American labour markets has been closely examined. In this fascinating essay the authors analyze the impact of the twentyfold increase in the share of purchases by foreign Chinese in the California real estate market between 2007-2013.”

Would a “Wealth Tax” Help Combat Inequality? | The Peterson Institute for International Economics

Adam Tooze’s comment : “Extraordinary video of the clash between Emmanuel Saez and Larry Summers at the Peterson Institute seminar on Inequality. If you have ever wondered about Larry Summers’s stifling impact on debate within the Obama administration, watch this video.”

Taxing Wealth – How to Triumph Over Injustice | The Taxcast by the Tax Justice Network

Adam Tooze’s comment : “Gabriel Zucman podcast in defense of wealth taxation. THE debate of the Democratic primaries. “

Central Banks’ Changing Views on Green Finance | Asia’s Developing Future

Adam Tooze’s comment : “Ulrich Volz is one of the world’s leading campaigners on green finance, on the changing position of central banks in the debate.”

Why China’s Renewable Energy Transition Is Losing Momentum | Yale Environment 360

Adam Tooze’s comment : “An interesting investigation of the forces slowing China’s green energy transition.”

From Pollution to Solution: Will China Save the Planet? | Oxford Martin School

Adam Tooze’s comment : “China is crucial to the global green energy transition. Regardless of American backsliding, it has made remarkable progress. But as Barbara Finamore explains in her essential new book, Will China Save the Planet? the green energy transition also faces significant obstacles.”

More about The Cyberflâneur.


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