What We Are Reading Today: Why Trust Science? by Naomi Oreskes

Updated 23 October 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Why Trust Science? by Naomi Oreskes

Do doctors really know what they are talking about when they tell us vaccines are safe? 

Should we take climate experts at their word when they warn us about the perils of global warming? Why should we trust science when our own politicians don’t? 

In this landmark book, Naomi Oreskes offers a bold and compelling defense of science, revealing why the social character of scientific knowledge is its greatest strength — and the greatest reason we can trust it, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

Tracing the history and philosophy of science from the late 19th century to today, Oreskes explains that, contrary to popular belief, there is no single scientific method. 

Rather, the trustworthiness of scientific claims derives from the social process by which they are rigorously vetted. This process is not perfect, but she draws vital lessons from cases where scientists got it wrong. Oreskes shows how consensus is a crucial indicator of when a scientific matter has been settled, and when the knowledge produced is likely to be trustworthy.

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What We Are Reading Today: The Political Economy of the Special Relationship by Jeremy Green

Updated 29 July 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Political Economy of the Special Relationship by Jeremy Green

The rise of global finance in the latter half of the 20th century has long been understood as one chapter in a larger story about the postwar growth of the US. The Political Economy of the Special Relationship challenges this popular narrative. Revealing the Anglo-American origins of financial globalization, Jeremy Green sheds new light on Britain’s hugely significant, but often overlooked, role in remaking international capitalism alongside America.

Drawing from new archival research, Green questions the conventional view of international economic history as a series of cyclical transitions among hegemonic powers. Instead, he explores the longstanding interactive role of private and public financial institutions in Britain and the US — most notably the close links between their financial markets, central banks, and monetary and fiscal policies. He shows that America’s unparalleled post-WWII financial power was facilitated, and in important ways constrained, by British capitalism, as the US often had to work with and through British politicians, officials, and bankers to achieve its vision of a liberal economic order.

Transatlantic integration and competition spurred the rise of the financial sector, an increased reliance on debt, a global easing of regulation, the ascendance of monetarism, and the transition to neoliberalism.