It’s August and the traditional time of things slowing down a little bit in local government. Many councillors and officers take a bit of time off from the increasingly grim reality of local government finance.
Whether travelling abroad, visiting the wonderful treasures in these Isles or enjoying a staycation close to home, many people enjoy reading a good book or two on a break from work. Sometimes the books don’t seem like a complete break – sometimes they are related to the very issues that we deal with at work, but seeking inspiration
At LGiU, we’re no different. Our summer reading list is a mix of business and pleasure.
Ingrid: I’m reading A Tale of Two Cities – which sounds like it could be a book about local government. When I finish that I’ll be reading Hillbilly Elegy – it’s a book about what’s happening socially and politically in the American rural south and rust belt. I’ve heard good things about this book, and it’s written by J.D. Vance, someone who like me has roots in the area.
Jen: I’m reading The Globalisation Paradox by Dani Rodrik, which argues that there is an unavoidable tension between globalisation, national self-determination and democracy. Pushing back against the prevailing economic ideology that deregulation is necessary to ease global trade, he demonstrates that a solid regulatory regime and a healthy social safety net are essential to reduce the ‘transaction costs’ of trading in other countries. We are already seeing these tensions play out as people across the world lose their jobs to AI and machines, and in the increasingly protectionist outlook among people in the developed world.
Andrew: I’m writing up my thesis now, so apart from the books I need for that I’m reading A Confederacy of Dunces, the posthumously published picaresque novel by John Kennedy Toole set in New Orleans.
Jonathan: For work How Democracy Ends by David Runciman, How Democracies Die by Levitsky and Ziblatt and The People vs Democracy by Yascha Mounk We discussed these book on the recent podcast in more detail, but since LGiU is all about the strengthening of democracy, we need to understand the way in which it is under strain. For pleasure I’m reading The Lost Child by Elena Ferrante and Borges’ short stories
Tell us what you’re reading
This summer – tell us what you’re reading. Better yet send us a picture of the book, and you reading it, maybe even in front of a gorgeous town hall in an exotic locale. Leave a comment here, tweet to us on @LGiU with the hashtag #LocalGovReads or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org At the end of the summer we’ll share a list of the best of what local government is reading.