Reading list

Finance and Economics: Verso Student Reading

Our selected reading on Finance and Economics for the academic year ahead!

Verso Books22 August 2023

Finance and Economics: Verso Student Reading

The power of money and finance dominates our world, but mainstream economics' only offer is defenses of capitalism. What about an economics that shows how the market lets capitalists exploit the working class? Here we present a list of books that challenge the mainstream neoliberal consensus and offer powerful alternative models in contemporary economics.

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See all our recommended Student Reading here.

Mute Compulsion
Despite insoluble contradictions, intense volatility and fierce resistance, the crisis-ridden capitalism of the 21st century lingers on. To understand capital’s paradoxical expansion and entrenchme...
A Companion To Marx's Capital
In recent years, we have witnessed a surge of interest in Marx’s work in the effort to understand the origins of our current predicament. For nearly forty years, David Harvey has written and lectur...
Our Lives in Their Portfolios
Banks have taken a backseat since the global financial crisis over a decade ago. Today, our new financial masters are asset managers, like Blackstone and BlackRock. And they don't just own financia...
Reading Capital
Originally published in 1965, Reading Capital is a landmark of French thought and radical theory, reconstructing Western Marxism from its foundations. Louis Althusser, the French Marxist philosophe...
Revolutionary Mathematics
Our finances, politics, media, opportunities, information, shopping and knowledge production are mediated through algorithms and their statistical approaches to knowledge; increasingly, these metho...
Democratizing Finance

Democratizing Finance

What if our financial system were organized to the benefit of the many rather than simply empowering the few? Robert Hockett and Fred Block argue that an entirely different financial system is both...
Keystroke Capitalism

Keystroke Capitalism

Contemporary capitalism produces more and more money, debt, and inequality. These three trends have a common cause: the privilege of private banks to create money by means of accounting - by the st...
Levers of Power
It’s no secret that the 1%—the business elite that commands the largest corporations and the connected network of public and private institutions—exercise enormous control over the US government. W...
The Imperial Mode of Living
With the concept of the Imperial Mode of Living, Brand and Wissen highlight the fact that capitalism implies uneven development as well as a constant and accelerating universalisation of a Western ...
Money
As the financial crisis reached its climax in September 2008, the most important figure on the planet was Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. The whole financial system was collapsing, without a...
Critical Encounters
From the acclaimed author of How Will Capitalism End? comes an omnibus of long-form critical essays engaging with leading economists and thinkers. Critical Encounters draws on Wolfgang Streeck’s in...
The Origin of Capitalism
In The Origin of Capitalism, a now-classic work of history, Ellen Meiksins Wood offers readers a clear and accessible introduction to the theories and debates concerning the birth of capitalism, im...
Buying Time
The financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 still has the world on tenterhooks. The gravity of the situation is matched by a general paucity of understanding about what is happening and ho...
How Will Capitalism End?
After years of ill health, capitalism is now in a critical condition. Growth has given way to stagnation; inequality is leading to instability; and confidence in the money economy has all but evapo...
Post-Growth Living
The reality of runaway climate change is inextricably linked with the mass consumerist, capitalist society in which we live. And the cult of endless growth, and endless consumption of cheap disposa...
Owning the Future
The question of ownership is the critical fault line of our times. During the pandemic this issue has only become more divisive. Since March 2020 we have witnessed the extraordinary growth of asset...
The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems
Why do patriarchal systems survive? In this groundbreaking work of feminist theory, Nancy Folbre examines the contradictory effects of capitalist development. She explains why the work of caring fo...
Nine Lives of Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism is dead. Again. After the election of Trump and the victory of Brexit in 2016, many diagnosed the demise of the ideology of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Augusto Pinochet, and the...
Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste
At the onset of the Great Recession, as house prices sank and joblessness soared, many commentators thought that neoliberalism itself was in its death throes. And yet it seems that—post-apocalypse—...
Rentier Capitalism
In this landmark book, the author of The New Enclosure provides a forensic examination and sweeping critique of early-twenty-first-century capitalism. Brett Christophers styles this as ‘rentier cap...
The Limits to Capital
Now a classic of Marxian economics, The Limits to Capital provides one of the best theoretical guides to the history and geography of capitalist development. In this edition, Harvey updates his cla...
Paperback
Spaces of Global Capitalism
Fiscal crises have cascaded across much of the developing world with devastating results, from Mexico to Indonesia, Russia and Argentina. The extreme volatility in contemporary economic fortunes se...
The Production of Money
According to leading economist Ann Pettifor, one of the few people to predict the 2008 financial crisis, money is not a commodity but a promise. This radical reconsideration of the power of money m...
The New Spirit of Capitalism
In this major work, sociologists Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello go to the heart of the changes in contemporary capitalism. Via an unprecedented analysis of the latest management texts that have fo...
The Old Is Dying and the New Cannot Be Born
Across the globe politics as usual are being rejected and faith in neoliberalism is fracturing beyond repair. Leading political theorist Nancy Fraser, in conversation with Jacobin publisher Bhaskar...
Historical Capitalism
In this short, highly readable book, the master of world-systems theory provides a succinct anatomy of capitalism over the past five hundred years. Considering the way capitalism has changed and ev...
Never Ending Nightmare
How do we explain the strange survival of the forcesresponsible for the 2008 economic crisis, one of the worst since 1929? How do we explain the fact that neoliberalism has emerged from the crisis...
The Morals of the Market
Drawing on detailed archival research on the parallel histories of human rights and neoliberalism, Jessica Whyte uncovers the place of human rights in neoliberal attempts to develop a moral framewo...
The Making of Global Capitalism
The all-encompassing embrace of world capitalism at the beginning of the twenty-first century was generally attributed to the superiority of competitive markets. Globalization had appeared to be ...
The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg, Volume I

The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg, Volume I

This first volume in Rosa Luxemburg’s Complete Works, entitled Economic Writings 1, contains some of Luxemburg’s most important statements on the globalization of capital, wage labor, imperialism, ...
In the Long Run We Are All Dead
In the ruins of the 2007–2008 financial crisis, progressives the world over clamoured to resurrect the economic theory of John Maynard Keynes. The crisis seemed to expose the disaster of small-stat...
Thomas Piketty's 'Capital in the Twenty-First Century'
US Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman described Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century as “perhaps the most important book of the last decade”. It has sparked major international debates...
The Knowledge Economy
Adam Smith and Karl Marx recognized that the best way to understand the economy is to study the most advanced practice of production. Today that practice is no longer conventional manufacturing: it...
How Europe Underdeveloped Africa
How Europe Underdeveloped Africa is an ambitious masterwork of political economy, detailing the impact of slavery and colonialism on the history of international capitalism. In this classic book, R...
Sinews of War and Trade
On the map of global trade, China is now the factory of the world. A parade of ships full of raw commodities—iron ore, coal, oil—arrive in its ports, and fleets of container ships leave with manufa...
Fictitious Capital
The 2007–08 credit crisis and the long recession that followed brutally exposed the economic and social costs of financialization. Understanding what lay behind these events, the rise of “fictitiou...
Capitalism, Socialism, Ecology

Capitalism, Socialism, Ecology

In this major new book, Andre Gorz expands on the political implications of his prescient and influential Paths to Paradise and Critique of Economic Reason. Against the background of technological ...
Fossil Capital
The more we know about the catastrophic implications of climate change, the more fossil fuels we burn. How did we end up in this mess?In this masterful new history, Andreas Malm claims it all began...
Capital Is Dead
In this radical and visionary new book, McKenzie Wark argues that the all-pervasive presence of data in our networked society has given rise to a new mode of production, one not ruled over by capit...
The Last Neoliberal
This book analyses the French political crisis, which has entered its most acute phase in more than thirty years with the break-up of traditional left and right social blocs. Governing parties have...
The Cost of Living Crisis
We are living through a cost of living crisis, with interest rate hikes and the prices of everyday consumables and energy bills sky-rocketing. Why is this happening? Sometimes we are told that wage...
Alternatives to Capitalism
What would a viable free and democratic society look like? Poverty, exploitation, instability, hierarchy, subordination, environmental exhaustion, radical inequalities of wealth and power—it is not...
Value

Value

This influential collection of essays focuses on the elusive concept of “value,” and aims to answer the question “Why is Marx’s theory of value so important?” Aboo Aumeeruddy and Ramon Tortajada ...
The State of Capitalism
The health emergency that broke out in 2020 is a landmark event in the development of capitalism, confirming the underlying change signalled by the Great Crisis of 2007-9. The Pandemic Crisis has c...
Marx on Money
The republication of Suzanne de Brunhoff’s classic investigation into Karl Marx’s conception of “the money commodity” shines light on commodities and their fetishism. The investigation of money a...
A Theory of Capitalist Regulation
Aglietta's path-breaking book is the first attempt at a rigorous historical theory of the whole development of US capitalism, from the Civil War to the Carter presidency. A major document of the "R...
The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems
Why do patriarchal systems survive? In this groundbreaking work of feminist theory, Nancy Folbre examines the contradictory effects of capitalist development. She explains why the work of caring fo...
Nine Lives of Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism is dead. Again. After the election of Trump and the victory of Brexit in 2016, many diagnosed the demise of the ideology of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Augusto Pinochet, and the...
Rentier Capitalism
In this landmark book, the author of The New Enclosure provides a forensic examination and sweeping critique of early-twenty-first-century capitalism. Brett Christophers styles this as ‘rentier cap...
The Limits to Capital
Now a classic of Marxian economics, The Limits to Capital provides one of the best theoretical guides to the history and geography of capitalist development. In this edition, Harvey updates his cla...
Paperback
Spaces of Global Capitalism
Fiscal crises have cascaded across much of the developing world with devastating results, from Mexico to Indonesia, Russia and Argentina. The extreme volatility in contemporary economic fortunes se...
Equal Shares

Equal Shares

“Nice idea, but it doesn’t work in practice.” How often have socialists had this claim thrown back at them? And now, after the events of 1989, many of the Left are openly wondering what a defensibl...
The Origin of Capitalism
In The Origin of Capitalism, a now-classic work of history, Ellen Meiksins Wood offers readers a clear and accessible introduction to the theories and debates concerning the birth of capitalism, im...
The Production of Money
According to leading economist Ann Pettifor, one of the few people to predict the 2008 financial crisis, money is not a commodity but a promise. This radical reconsideration of the power of money m...
The New Spirit of Capitalism
In this major work, sociologists Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello go to the heart of the changes in contemporary capitalism. Via an unprecedented analysis of the latest management texts that have fo...
The Old Is Dying and the New Cannot Be Born
Across the globe politics as usual are being rejected and faith in neoliberalism is fracturing beyond repair. Leading political theorist Nancy Fraser, in conversation with Jacobin publisher Bhaskar...
Prisoners of the American Dream
Prisoners of the American Dream is Mike Davis’s brilliant exegesis of a persistent and major analytical problem for Marxist historians and political economists: Why has the world’s most industriall...
Historical Capitalism
In this short, highly readable book, the master of world-systems theory provides a succinct anatomy of capitalism over the past five hundred years. Considering the way capitalism has changed and ev...
How Will Capitalism End?
After years of ill health, capitalism is now in a critical condition. Growth has given way to stagnation; inequality is leading to instability; and confidence in the money economy has all but evapo...
Never Ending Nightmare
How do we explain the strange survival of the forcesresponsible for the 2008 economic crisis, one of the worst since 1929? How do we explain the fact that neoliberalism has emerged from the crisis...
Money
As the financial crisis reached its climax in September 2008, the most important figure on the planet was Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. The whole financial system was collapsing, without a...
Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste
At the onset of the Great Recession, as house prices sank and joblessness soared, many commentators thought that neoliberalism itself was in its death throes. And yet it seems that—post-apocalypse—...
The Morals of the Market
Drawing on detailed archival research on the parallel histories of human rights and neoliberalism, Jessica Whyte uncovers the place of human rights in neoliberal attempts to develop a moral framewo...
The Making of Global Capitalism
The all-encompassing embrace of world capitalism at the beginning of the twenty-first century was generally attributed to the superiority of competitive markets. Globalization had appeared to be ...
The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg, Volume I

The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg, Volume I

This first volume in Rosa Luxemburg’s Complete Works, entitled Economic Writings 1, contains some of Luxemburg’s most important statements on the globalization of capital, wage labor, imperialism, ...
In the Long Run We Are All Dead
In the ruins of the 2007–2008 financial crisis, progressives the world over clamoured to resurrect the economic theory of John Maynard Keynes. The crisis seemed to expose the disaster of small-stat...
The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
When John Maynard Keynes published The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in the middle of the Great Depression, he predicted it would “revolutionize” economics. He was right. The boo...
Ebook
Thomas Piketty's 'Capital in the Twenty-First Century'
US Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman described Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century as “perhaps the most important book of the last decade”. It has sparked major international debates...
Buying Time
The financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 still has the world on tenterhooks. The gravity of the situation is matched by a general paucity of understanding about what is happening and ho...
The Knowledge Economy
Adam Smith and Karl Marx recognized that the best way to understand the economy is to study the most advanced practice of production. Today that practice is no longer conventional manufacturing: it...

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