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Books for changing the world

Economics for the 99%: A Reading List

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic's emergence and the cruel mismanagement of its impacts by many powerful governments around the world, we face the most severe global economic downturn since the Great Depression.

But even while all people, and especially the most exploited and oppressed in our society, are affected by this economic crisis, economic analysis remains the purview of a small cohort of academics and specialists. The need to come to grips with the economic system under which we live, however, is more pressing than ever for the rest of us. For this reason, we've put together a reading list of books dealing with economic theory and history geared toward anyone interested in understanding how capitalism works—in order to replace it.

A lively, accessible, and timely guide to Capitalism for those who want to understand and dismantle the world of the 1%.  

A powerful guide to action for people in debt.

An eye-opening reckoning with the care economy, from its roots in racial capitalism to its exponential growth as a new site of profit and extraction.

Eminent scholar-activist Neil Davidson’s brilliance is on full display in this posthumous work, a timely and prescient introduction to the neoliberal era.

“No contemporary intellectual has better illuminated the interwoven social histories and conceptual dimensions of race and class domination.” —Nikhil Singh

In this highly unauthorized account of the Big Five's origins, Rob Larson delivers a blistering primer on the political economy of silicon valley.

In this groundbreaking study, David McNally reveals the true story of money’s origins and development as one of violence and human bondage.

Spanning centuries and continents, this short work fundamentally reconfigures our view of the rise of capitalism on the world stage.

This volume offers a radical critique of techno-utopianism, instead seeing innovation as a field of ongoing class struggle.

Marx’s groundbreaking analysis of capitalism retains its relevance today. This book guides readers as they grapple with Marx’s masterpiece, Capital.

This illustrated beginners guide to Capital illustrates the key concepts, humor, and immense vitality to be enjoyed in Marx's great work.

World-renowned economist Richard Wolff explores the roots of the Great Recession and its immense impact on working people.

An incisive and devastating critique of capitalism, sounding the alarm that the system poses a threat to human well-being.

A significant new analysis of the ongoing economic crisis by leading Marxist economist, Michael Roberts.

The most comprehensive empirically based defense of Marx’s law of profitability as the cause of Capitalist crises.

Henryk Grossman’s substantial essays highlight vital but still neglected aspects of Marx’s economic theory.

An insightful and timely analysis of how global economic restructuring will impact workers' struggles in the US.

A call for international solidarity to resist the assaults on labor’s power. This collection of essays by international labor activists and academics examines models of worker solidarity, different forms of labor organizations, and those models’ and organizations’ relationships to social movements and civil society.

In this ground-breaking history, renowned economist Éric Toussaint argues for a radical reversal of the prevailing balance of accounts through the repudiation of sovereign debt.

In the last decade, neoliberal policies have created debt and global impoverishment on a massive scale. In this updated edition of his internationally recognized book, Éric Toussaint traces the origins and development of the crisis in global finance.

A critical examination of the contradictory rise to power of emerging economies Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

A piercing historical explanation for poverty and inequality in African societies today, and social impact of resource-driven growth.

Joseph Daher analyzes the resilience of the Syrian regime and the failings of the uprising, while also taking a closer look at the counter revolutionary processes that have been undermining the uprising from without and within.

This book comprises a collection of groundbreaking writings by Marta Russell on the nature of disability and oppression under capitalism, including extensive discussion of the emergence of disability as a “human category” rooted in the rise of industrial capitalism and the transformation of the conditions of work, family, and society.

“A welcome construction of a materialist explanation for the persistence of racism.” —Journal of Economic Literature

This pathbreaking book offers a radical analysis of how people play, produce, and profit from video games, and the major role the industry plays in contemporary capitalism.

The essential writings of one of the most significant Marxist thinkers of recent decades, collected in one volume for the first time.

An introductory guide to the neo-liberal ideology of the global 1%. Perfect for those of us without economics degrees.

Everywhere the Market goes it spawns monsters in its wake. From Frankenstein to Zombies, McNally analyzes these creatures of Capitalism.

Theory as Critique argues that the key to understanding Marx’s Capital lies in viewing it as a critique of economic theory.

This book presents a rich new analysis of the specific features of contemporary capitalism, notably its global nature and financialization.

Lise Vogel revisits classical Marxian texts, tracking analyses of “the woman question” in socialist theory and drawing on central theoretical categories of Marx's Capital to open up an original theorization of gender and the social production and reproduction of material life.

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