11 Best Books About Capitalism Update 05/2022

What do you know about the economy that has such a big impact on the way people live and work in the United States, as well as many other countries around the world?

Even if you’ve been studying capitalism for years or are just getting started, these 10 books on capitalism will give you a better understanding of how and why capitalism works and how it affects some parts of your life that you might not have thought about.

Nothing Is Too Big to Fail By Kerry Killinger and Linda Killinger

Two bankers use their inside knowledge and expertise to look back at the financial crisis of 2008 and think about what caused it and what might cause the next one.

Portrait of an economy on the edge: Covers everything from social justice to COVID-19. It shows how vulnerable and overleveraged the American economy is, and how easy it would be for another economic crisis worse than the Great Recession to shake the seemingly unbreakable pillars of American commerce.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century By Thomas Piketty

If you want to learn about economics, this book has been called “the most important economics book of the year and maybe the decade.” (New York Times)

The book was written by Thomas Piketty, a “rock star of the policy-intellectual world” and the Director of Studies at the Paris School of Economics. It “aims to change the way people think about the economic history of the past two centuries.” It might be able to do it. The Economist says:

Capitalism By Arundhati Roy

America sends capitalism all over the world, and we’re not the only country to benefit or be hurt by it. This book by Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy is a “vehement broadside against capitalism in general and American cultural imperialism in particular.” She looks at the unintended consequences of democracy and capitalism in her home country, India.

In that country, the 100 richest people control more than a quarter of the country’s GDP. This leads to the “ghosts” of the book’s title, which include hundreds of thousands of suicides, poisoned rivers, and clear-cut forests.

A People’s Guide to Capitalism By Hadas Thier

Thier’s book is “urgently needed,” says Sarah Leonard of The Nation. “It removes jargon to make Marx’s most important work understandable to today’s diverse mass movements,” she says. How do we fight inequality in a way that is both effective and comprehensive? That’s what this comprehensive and easy-to-read guide is all about. 

Books like A People’s Guide will help us understand the root causes of today’s financial crises, which affect so many of us. It’s from the book Race for Profit, by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.

Capitalism’s Crisis Deepens By Richard D. Wolff

Richard D. Wolff, who has been called the “leading socialist economist in the country,” says that the crisis that led to the Great Recession isn’t just something that happened in the past. It’s a series of systemic flaws that could lead to even more inequality and economic collapse in the future.

Economics for the Rest of Us By Moshe Adler

In this collection of case studies, Adler’s frustration with wrongheaded economic thinking is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking, according to Publishers Weekly. The case studies show how capitalism doesn’t just lead to inequality, but that it’s a part of many people’s ideas about how to think about the world.

He says that economics has become the “science” of the rich, which makes it easier for them to justify cruel policies and widen the gap between rich and poor even more.

Inside Job By Stephen Pizzo, Mary Fricker and Paul Muolo

In the 1970s, savings and loan institutions were able to put their money, which was insured by taxpayer money, into new and risky businesses. This also opened the door to a lot of shady deals, which led to a savings and loan scandal that saw half of the country’s S&L institutions fail in less than ten years.

Written by people who worked in the industry, this fascinating look at how it happened and how it might happen again is “hard to put down.” Even decades later, it’s still relevant.

The Lords of Creation By Frederick Lewis Allen

This “stimulating” (Kirkus Reviews) account of the people and events that led to the stock market crash of 1929 and shaped American finance into the present day was first published in 1935, when the Great Depression was still very much alive. It’s still as interesting and important today as it was then.

These “lords of creation” of the late 19th and early 20th centuries still have an impact on us today, and we seem to be stuck in a downward spiral of boom and bust. The lessons from the Great Depression and America’s first one percent are still important to our lives and our future.

A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things By Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore

Global climate change and ecological and environmental collapse are two of the biggest threats to the world’s economies and life on Earth.

In this “intriguing” book, authors Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore show how the world’s ecological and environmental crises are all linked to the economy, and how the economy always has an effect on the environment. This is a “informed, sometimes acute, polemic against capitalism’s half-millennium of colonial exploitation.” (Nature)

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics By Richard H. Thaler

Richard Thaler’s book, which won the Nobel Prize in Economics, doesn’t usually use the word “antic.” But that’s what many of the stories in the book are. The idea that people who make decisions about the economy aren’t “rational,” but rather imperfect people who make them under a lot of biases and pressures that economists haven’t thought about. This helps us understand how our understanding of the economy works and where it doesn’t.

‘Transaction Man’ by Nicholas Lemann

People in the U.S. are now talking about capitalism in a different way than they did before the financial crisis and the populist movements that came with it. The roots of this change are in the American economy’s rise to power after World War II. When Nicholas Lemann, a staff writer for the New Yorker, talks about how the US economy got where it is now, he talks about how it happened. Richard Feloni, one of the people who wrote this article, went to journalism school when Lemann was the dean.

He talks about how the theories of shareholder primacy and trickle-down economics led to, as the title of the book says, “the rise of the deal and the decline of the American Dream.” This is what he talks about. And it’s not just a theory. Through the stories of both people who have done well and people who have been hurt, Lemann makes his story come alive. This is how he makes his story come alive.

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