Reading list

We all live in a country called Capitalism

Books that identify our economic system as the key obstacle in our fight for liberation.

Verso Books14 December 2021

We all live in a country called Capitalism

The Korean director Bong Joon Ho, when asked about why Parasite had resonated so deeply, with so many across the world, replied "there is no borderline between countries now because we all live in the same country, it’s called capitalism." Parasite is a film that speaks to the class inequalities, societal structures, and violence that underpins capitalism. The same is felt by many, across our world. Capitalism is, in short, a global moral, political, and ecological global disaster. One that is shared across borders and nations.

These books look closely at the origins of the capitalist system, and offer alternative ways of organising our societies.
 

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An urgent and powerful argument for socialism, and an unparalleled guide to help us get there. Another world is possible.

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How did the dynamic economic system we know as capitalism develop among the peasants and lords of feudal Europe?

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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa is an ambitious masterwork of political economy, detailing the impact of slavery and colonialism on the history of international capitalism.

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A radical and pragmatic manifesto for tackling the interconnected crises of contemporary capitalism: work, care and the environment. The time we spend at work is neither natural nor inevitable. Instead the amount of time we spend working is a political, cultural and economic question. 

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How shipping is central to the very fabric of global capitalism.

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Free market, competitive capitalism is dead. The separation between politics and economics can no longer be sustained. In The Corona Crash, leading economics commentator Grace Blakeley theorises about the epoch-making changes that the coronavirus brings in its wake.

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Taking as its inspiration the new wave of feminist militancy that has erupted globally, this manifesto makes a simple but powerful case: feminism shouldn’t start—or stop—with the drive to have women represented at the top of their professions. It must focus on those at the bottom, and fight for the world they deserve. And that means targeting capitalism. Feminism must be anticapitalist, eco-socialist and antiracist.

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A brilliant, stringently argued pamphlet reflecting on capitalism’s death drive, the left’s complicated entanglements with fossil fuels, and the rising tide of fascism. In response, the authors propose Salvage Communism, a programme of restoration and reparation that must precede any luxury communism. The Tragedy of the Worker demands an alternative future—the Proletarocene—one capable of repairing the ravages of capitalism and restoring the world.

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A sweeping account of imprisonment—in time, in language, and in a divided country—from Korea’s most acclaimed novelist.

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Lefebvre's classic analysis of daily life under capitalism in one complete volume.

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Capitalism is a moral, political, and ecological disaster; it is also an incredibly powerful social system that seems to only get stronger. How do we think about an alternative that is possible within this system? Why is socialism still the most practical alternative to our alienated society?

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How has capitalism devastated the planet—and what can we do about it?

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An exhilarating exploration into the utopias and dystopias that could develop from present society.

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A reflection on everyday existence in the 'sphere of consumption of late Capitalism', this work is Adorno's literary and philosophical masterpiece.

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Drawing on environmentalist, feminist, and Marxist thought, Moore offers a groundbreaking new synthesis: capitalism as a “world-ecology” of wealth, power, and nature.

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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 evaporated. In How Will Capitalism End?, the acclaimed analyst of contemporary politics and economics Wolfgang Streeck argues that the world is about to change.

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It’s not capitalism, it’s not neoliberalism—what if it’s something worse?

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A different kind of politics for a new kind of society—beyond work, scarcity and capitalism.

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A bold manifesto for life after capitalism. Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams demand a postcapitalist economy capable of advancing standards, liberating humanity from work and developing technologies that expand our freedoms.

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 The fundamental flaws in the British economy are not just the symptoms of arrested development but the contradictions of the capitalist system itself. Britain today, Wood maintains, is the most thoroughly capitalist culture in Europe.

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Three radical perspectives on the critique of capitalism.

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Why do people work for other people? This seemingly naïve question is more difficult to answer than one might at first imagine, and it lies at the heart of Lordon's Willing Slaves of Capital.

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Based on Harvey's recent lectures, this current volume—finally bringing together his guides to volumes I, II and much of III—presents this depth of learning to a broader audience, guiding first-time readers through a fascinating and deeply rewarding text. A Companion to Marx’s Capital offers fresh, original, and sometimes critical interpretations of a book that changed the course of history and, as Harvey intimates, may do so again. 

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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.

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New edition of this major work examining the development of neoliberalism.

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Well, it wouldn't be a anti-capitalism reading listing without The Communist Manifesto! Marx and Engels’s enduring insights into the capitalist system: its devastating impact on all aspects of human existence; its susceptibility to enormous convulsions and crises; and its fundamental weakness. 

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And finally, last but not least: All of Marx’s essential political writing in one volume.

Further Reading

Radicalize Your Niblings

Radical Happiness

Tis the Season to Abolish the Family

Understanding the Cost of Living Crisis

Christianity and Anticapitalism

I Do Not Dream of Labour: books that imagine a different working world

We all live in a country called Capitalism

Imagining Radical Futures: utopian thinking for a different world

Abolition is the only solution: a reading list for breaking police power

10 Books Every Student Should Read

COP26: a radical climate reading list

Decolonize your bookshelf! Verso Student Reading

Histories of Global Underdevelopment

Theorizing the Climate Crisis

How to Be an Anticapitalist in the Twenty-First Century
Capitalism has transformed the world and increased our productivity, but at the cost of enormous human suffering. Our shared values equality and fairness, democracy and freedom, community and solid...
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...
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...
Overtime
Overtime is about the politics of time, and specifically the amount of time that we spend labouring within capitalist society. It argues that reactivating the longstanding demand for shorter workin...
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...
The Corona Crash
In The Corona Crash, leading economics commentator Grace Blakeley theorises about the epoch-making changes that the coronavirus brings in its wake. We are living through a unique moment in history...
Feminism for the 99%
Unaffordable housing, poverty wages, healthcare, climate change, border policing; not the issues you ordinarily hear feminists talking about. But don’t these issues impact the vast majority of wome...
The Tragedy of the Worker
To understand the scale of what faces us and how it ramifies through every corner of our lives is to marvel at our inaction. Why aren’t we holding emergency meetings in every city, town and village...
The Prisoner

The Prisoner

In 1993, writer and democracy activist Hwang Sok-yong was sentenced to five years in the Seoul Detention Center upon his return to South Korea from North Korea, the country he had fled with his fam...
Critique of Everyday Life
The three-volume text by Henri Lefebvre is perhaps the richest, most prescient work about modern capitalism to emerge from one of the twentieth century's greatest philosophers and is now availabl...
The ABCs of Socialism

The ABCs of Socialism

The remarkable run of self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders for president of the United States has prompted—for the first time in decades and to the shock of many—a national convers...
A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things
Nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives: these are the seven things that have made our world and will shape its future. In making these things cheap, modern commerce has transformed, gov...
Paperback
Four Futures
“It is easier to imagine the end of the world,” the theorist Fredric Jameson has remarked, “than to imagine the end of capitalism.” Jacobin Editor Peter Frase argues that technological advancements...
Minima Moralia

Minima Moralia

Written between 1944 and 1947, Minima Moralia is a collection of rich, lucid aphorisms and essays about life in modern capitalist society. Adorno casts his penetrating eye across society in mid-cen...
Capitalism in the Web of Life
Finance. Climate. Food. Work. How are the crises of the twenty-first century connected? In Capitalism in the Web of Life, Jason W. Moore argues that the sources of today’s global turbulence have a ...
Paperback
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...
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...
Fully Automated Luxury Communism
Fully Automated Luxury Communism promises a radically new left future for everyone. New technologies will liberate us from work, providing the opportunity to build a society beyond both capitalism ...
Inventing the Future
Neoliberalism isn’t working. Austerity is forcing millions into poverty and many more into precarious work, while the left remains trapped in stagnant political practices that offer no respite.Inve...
The Pristine Culture of Capitalism
In this lively and wide-ranging book, Ellen Meiksins Wood argues that what is supposed to have epitomized bourgeois modernity, especially the emergence of a “modern” state and political culture i...
Sociology, Capitalism, Critique

Sociology, Capitalism, Critique

For years, the critique of capitalism was lost from public discourse; the very word “capitalism” sounded like a throwback to another era. Nothing could be further from the truth today. In this ne...
Willing Slaves of Capital

Willing Slaves of Capital

Why do people work for other people? This seemingly naïve question is more difficult to answer than one might at first imagine, and it lies at the heart of Lordon's Willing Slaves of Capital. To ...
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...
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
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 Communist Manifesto
In the two decades following the fall of the Berlin Wall, global capitalism became entrenched in its modern, neoliberal form. Its triumph was so complete that the word “capitalism” itself fell out ...
The Political Writings
Karl Marx was not only the great theorist of capitalism, he was also a superb journalist, politician and historian. For the first time ever, this book brings together all of his essential political...

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