Amazon.com publishes reviews by readers
that give you some idea what others think of each book. The links to
books below take you to these reviews, whenever they are available.
The author's name is generally linked to an online biography.
Acemoglu, Daron and
James Robinson (2012)
Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty
attempts to explain the way in which the evolution of economic and political
institutions interact to create economic prosperity and economic and political
Acharya, Viral and
Matthew Richardson (Editors),
Restoring Financial Stability: How to Repair a Failed System
(2009) is a collection of papers written by the faculty of the
New York University Stern School of
Business that explain the fundamental causes of the current financial
crisis and offers proposals as to how to prevent such crises in the future.
Akerlof, George and
Robert J. Shiller (2009)
Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters
for Global Capitalism examines the role of confidence in causing
Alperovitz, Gar and
Unjust Deserts: How the Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance
(2008) examines the contribution of what we have inherited from the past to
our ability as individuals to produce wealth in the present.
Authoritarians (2006) examines the
scientific research pertaining to the personal beliefs actions of those people
who are particularly susceptible to rightwing propaganda as well as those of
the leaders of right-wing movements. He relates this research to the history
of rightwing movements the 1930s as well as to the rightwing movements today.
Most important, he explains why these movements pose a threat to our freedom
and to the very existence of our democratic society.
Amy, Douglas J.,
Government is Good: An Unapologetic Defense of a Vital Institution
(2010) provides a comprehensive discussion of the role of
government in providing for the common good in society that explains why
strong government is essential to our economic wellbeing and individual
freedom and liberty. Amy's work provides a lesson in civics that the American
electorate desperately needs.
Lombard Street: A Description of the Money Market
(1873) is the
classic work on the role of a central bank in dealing with financial crises.
Bair, Sheila A.,
Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall
Street from Itself (2012) not only examines the
interactions between the regulatory agencies during the financial crisis, but
provides an exceedingly good explanation of the problems that led to the
crisis, and the kinds of regulatory changes needed to avoid this kind of
crisis in the future.
Taking Economics Seriously
(2010) examines how economic are being misused and how they should be used to
deal with economic problems .
Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy
(2009) explains the nature of speculative bubbles, why speculative bubbles
have become such an endemic part of our economic system over the past thirty
years, and how the housing bubble led to the crisis of 2008.
Social Security: The Phony Crisis
(1999) explains why there is no
economic or demographic crisis that requires the dismantling of the Social
Essays on the Great Depression (2000) provides a collection of essays on the causes and nature
of the Great Depression from a Neoclassical perspective. It also examines the
role of the Gold Standard in the international transmission of the economic
collapse among countries.
Besharov, Douglas J.,
Rethinking WIC: An Evaluation of the Women, Infants, and Children Program.
I read this book at the request of one of the authors, Douglas J.
Besharov, during the correspondence I had with him concerning some comments he
had made in a Capital Journal interview that I found objectionable. (See:
Correspondence With Douglas J. Besharov.) I was
pleasantly surprised to find how thorough this book is in analyzing the WIC
program and suggesting ways the program can be improved. I was somewhat
disappointed by its negative tone in Part One but was very impressed with the
inclusion in Part Two of the critical comments by the researchers who were
examine in Part One. I could make a list of those areas where I believe the
authors have gone astray in Part I, but I see no need to do so as the comments
in Part Two include and go beyond any criticisms I might have of my own. This
book is remarkable.
The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and
Politicians Looted the S&L Industry (2005) provides an in depth
look at the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s.
Bogle, John C.,
Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life (2009) examines the
breakdown in business ethics that has accompanied the government deregulation
of the economic system over the past thirty years.
The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism by (2005) examines the
transformation of the American capitalist system from owner's capitalism where
stock owners control corporations to manager's capitalism where managers
control corporations. This book makes an extremely important contribution to
the understanding of how today's economic system works.
A Demon of Our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the Perils of Financial
Innovation (2007) examines the role of market complexity in risk management and
Boyer, Richard O. and
Herbert M. Morais,
Labor's Untold Story (1979)
tells the story of the labor movement from the
prospective of the union organizers.
Bruner, Robert F.,
The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market's Perfect Storm
(2007) provides a comprehensive examination of the
financial crisis of 1907 that led to the founding of the Federal Reserve
System in 1913.
Buchanan, James M., and
Richard A. Musgrave
Public Finance and Public Choice: Two Contrasting Visions of the State
(2004) provides a valuable insight into the way in which the
fundamental issues surrounding the free market ideology have been debated
within the discipline of economics.
Silent Spring (1962) examined the effects of pollution on the environment in the United
Carville, James and
Take It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future (2008) discusses some of the consequences of the rise of Free Market Movement in
the United States over the past forty years and the failure of the Democratic
Party to confront these consequences.
How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities (2009) is the most uneven book I have ever read. Part I provides an
excellent discussion of the failings of Utopian Economics, Part II provide an
adequate discussion of Reality-Based Economics, and Part III contains so many
misstatements, misunderstandings, and outright falsehoods that it appears to
have been written by someone other than the person who wrote Part I. I do not
recommend reading this book beyond Chapter 16.
Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone
(2006) documents the role that ideological bias played in the ineptitude,
incompetence, and corruption played in our attempts at nation building in
Iraq. When read in conjunction with
Naomi Kleins book,
The Shock Doctrine, it would appear that this ineptitude and
incompetence may have been intentional.
Black-Scholes and Beyond: Option Pricing Models (1997) explains the
Black-Scholes model of option pricing and the way this model has been extended
to handle the pricing of other derivatives.
Cohan, William D.,
House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street
(2009) tells the story of the fall of Bear Stearns.
Committee on Banking and Currency,
Stock Exchange Practices (1934), better known as
The Pecora Report, documents and elaborates on the financial abuses
that occurred during the 1920s and early1930s that led to the financial
regulatory system put in place during the 1930s.
The Origin of Financial Crises (2008) examines the role of the rational/efficient market fallacy of the
Chicago School in deregulating the financial markets and generating the
The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality (2014)
examines the way in which health, wealth, and inequality are created within
society and how economic development is inhibited by foreign aid.
My Life as a Quant: Reflections of Physics and Finance
the role played by mathematicians, physicists, and other quantitative types on
Wall Street from1985 through 2005.
Dew-Becker, Ian and
Robert J. Gordon,
Where Did the Productivity Growth
Go? Inflation Dynamics and the Distribution of Income (2005) examines the
discrepancy between the distribution of income and increases in productivity.
Domhoff, G. William,
Who Rules America?
(1967) is the first in a series of books by Domhoff that examine the power
structure in America and explains how that power structure maintains control
within our society. Much of Domhoff's analysis is explained on his
Who Rules America Now? A View From the 80s
(1986) is an update of
Domhoff's 1967 book that examines the changes in the power structure that took
place in the 1970s and early 1980s.
The Myth of Liberal Ascendancy: Corporate Dominance from the Great Depression
to the Great Recession (2014) is a truly
remarkable book in which Domhoff examines in great detail the way in which the
conservative political collation in the United States has dominated American
economic policy since 1939.
Dowd, Kevin and
Alchemists of Loss: How Modern Finance and Government Intervention Crashed the
Financial System (2010) provides an account of how institutional
changes led to perverse incentives and short-rum, optimizing behavior that,
when combined with naive risk models and a misguided belief in the efficiency
of markets ultimately led to excess risk taking and inevitably to a collapse
of the system. The authors attempt to explain all of this in terms of
government meddling with the economy in spite of the fact that the prelude to
this crisis was twenty odd years of deregulation in which the government
refused to meddle in the markets.
All About Derivatives
(2006) provides a
basic introduction to derivatives, what they are, how they are priced, and how
they are used.
Hall of Mirrors The Great Depression, the Great Recession, and the Uses
and Misuses of History (2015) examines the parallels between the
1920s and the lead up to the Great Depression.
Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the
International Monetary System (2011) examines the role of the dollar in international
finance and trade and explains why the US financial crisis has not yet led to
an international exchange collapse and what could cause this situation to
Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939
(1995) examines how the functioning of the post World War I gold standard
contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Farmer, Roger E. A.,
Expectations, Employment, and Prices
(2010) an original work that attempts to integrate
modern macroeconomic theory with Keynes's theory of expectations.
The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report, Authorized Edition: Final Report of the
National Commission on the Causes of the Financial and Economic Crisis in the
United States (2011) provides an in depth examination of the 2008
History of the 80s, (1997) provides
an insightful analysis of the regulatory failures that led to the financial
crisis of 1988. Again, it is astounding how the Bush Administration
either ignored or was completely oblivious to principles explained in this
book. This book can be read on line by clicking on one of the above links.
Social Security: The Inherent Contradiction (1980) is an example
of the schizophrenic nature of ideological logic. In the course of
trying to prove the inherent contradiction of attempting to serve a welfare
function within the context of an insurance program, Ferrara unwittingly
provides a compelling argument for eliminating the income cap on payroll
taxes and extending Social Security taxes to unearned income. His
argument that the pay-as-you-go nature of Social Security reduces economic
growth depends crucially on the absurd assumption that
an increase in saving forces investors to invest. At the same time, his
seemingly irrefutable math/logic that Social Security beneficiaries would be
better off if they were to put their payroll tax money in private investment
accounts is oblivious to the risks involved in this scheme and the dismal
history of private retirement accounts and pension funds going broke.
Field, Alexander J.,
A Great Leap Forward: 1930s Depression and U.S. Economic Growth (2011)
examines the ways in which increases in total factor productivity change over
time and attempts to explain why it increased dramatically during the 1930s,
fell during World War II, increased again following the war, and then
decreased after 1973.
Booms and Depressions (1932) provides the first explanation as to how excess leverage
inspired during an economic boom leads to financial crises and economic
collapse in a capitalistic system.
The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on
Wall Street (2009) examines the history of the rational/efficient
market hypothesis as it was created by the free market ideologues in the
utopian world of the Chicago School of Economics.
The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule (2008) explains the role of the
Free Market Movement in the rise of the Republican Party from the Goldwater
defeat in 1964 through the present and explains the role of each of the
participants and factions in this rise, including the role played by Jack
Abramoff from the 1970s onward.
Whats the Matter With Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America
(2004) explains how
the Rightwing Propaganda Machine was able to shift the body politic to the
right in Kansas.
Working-Class New York: Life and Labor Since World War II
(2000) presents a history of New York City since World War II in which he
examines the effects of the policies discussed by
Tabb as manufacturing
businesses migrated from New York to right-to-work states in the South.
Friedman, Milton and
Free to Choose: A Personal Statement (1980) is a well written explanation of Friedmans view of the
benefits of free market capitalism. It combines an insightful analysis of the
inefficiencies of government interference with markets with an appalling lack
of insight as to the harm caused by market failures in the lives of ordinary
Anna Jacobson Schwartz,
A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960 (1971) is a well written tome that provides a
comprehensive history of the financial system in the United States.
Anna Jacobson Schwartz,
The Great Contraction, 1929-1933 (1963) is also a rather short, very well written history
of the stock market crash of 1929 and its aftermath.
Capitalism and Freedom (1962) provides an explanation of Friedmans view of the
relationship between free market capitalism and his concept of freedom.
Essays in Positive Economic
(1953) explains Friedman's epistemological understanding of economic theory.
Galbraith, James K.,
Inequality and Instability: A Study of the World Economy Just Before the Great
Crisis (2012) examines the role of inequality in increasing
unemployment and economic instability.
The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why
Liberals Should Too (2008) examines the institutional changes in the world economy that
have taken place over the past sixty years and suggests a plan to deal with
the disastrous consequences that have resulted from the free market economic
policies of the past thirty years.
Galbraith, John Kenneth,
The New Industrial State (1966) examines the role of technology,
technocrats, and government within the modern economic system.
The Affluent Society,(1958) examines the way in which the power
structures within the economic system develop and counterbalance each other.
The Great Crash of 1929 (1955) is a rather short, very
well written history of the stock market crash of 1929 and its aftermath.
Carl-Johan Lindgren, and
Matthew I. Saal,
Bank Soundness and Macroeconomic Policy (1996) provides a comprehensive analysis of the
kinds of problems faced by financial regulators throughout the world and the
kinds of regulatory policies that are essential for effective regulation of
the financial system. It is astounding how the Bush Administration either
ignored or was completely oblivious to the principles explained in this book.
The Sellout: How Three Decades of Wall Street Greed and Government
Mismanagement Destroyed the Global Financial System (2009) is a somewhat
uneven account of the of the history of the financial system over the past
thirty years in the sense that his grasp of basic economics in some areas is
lacking (he sees the FDIC as bailing out banks and the GSEs as guaranteeing
mortgages, which indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of these
institutions). Other than that Gasparino's history of this period is quite
good. It is fairly comprehensive, objective, and surprisingly, for the most
After the Fall: Saving Capitalism from Wall Street and Washington
(2009) provides a concise statement of the kinds of regulations that are
necessary to avoid future financial crises. Specifically, she argues that the
principles of regulation needed today are the same as those put in place in
the 1930s which allowed us to avoid financial crises for fifty odd years until
they were dismantled beginning in the 1970s. These principles include
limiting speculative bowering by imposing margin/capital requirements,
requiring full exposure on the part of financial intuitions, and
circumscribing reckless exposure to risk on the part of these institutions.
Debt: The First 5,000 Years (2010) is a fascinating history of
debt, its relationship to money, and the role it has played throughout
history. This is a very important book.
Gorton, Gary B.,
Misunderstanding Financial Crises: Why We Don't See Them
(2015) provides a rather interesting history of financial crises in the United
Sates and how they have changed as a result of institutional changes in the
financial system. Its only drawback is its bias toward financial institutions
in that it only considers an option between bailing out the banks in a crisis
or allowing the system to collapse and fails to consider the possibility of
nationalizing them or putting them into receivership in the way the FDIC has
worked since its inception. It also downplays the importance of leverage in
exacerbating financial crises in a contradictory way.
The Other America: Poverty in the United States
(1962) examined poverty in the United States.
Cracking the Code: How to Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America's
Original Vision (2008) provides a very well written nonacademic explanation of the
Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class - And What We Can Do
about It (2007) discusses some of the consequences of the rise of free market
capitalism in the United States over the past forty years.
A Brief History of Neoliberalism (2005) discusses the hypocrisy
endemic in the Free Market Movement in terms of what is called
Neo-Conservatism in the United States and Neoliberalism in the rest of the
world. This book documents the way in which the policies of free market
ideologues when implemented in the name of freedom and economic prosperity for
all have lead to freedom and economic prosperity for the few and desperation
for most everyone else.
The Road to Serfdom (1944)
has proved to be one of the seminal documents of the Free Market Movement. It
provides the basis for the argument that government intervention in markets
leads to totalitarian socialism. A Readers Digest condensed version of this
book is available
Autobiography of "Big Bill," Haywood (1966) tells
the life story of Big Bill Haywood and his involvement in the labor movement
in founding the Western Federation of Miners and the International Workers of
the World during the latter half of the nineteenth century.
The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times And Ideas Of The Great Economic
Thinkers (1955-1999) is the place to start. This book provides a history of
economic thought throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and has
gone through seven additions.
The White Sharks of Wall Street: Thomas Mellon Evans and the Original
Corporate Raiders (2000) examines the beginnings of the hostile takeover and
leverage buyout craze leading up to the 1980s.
Imperialism: A Study by J. A. Hobson
of original 1902 version) is the classic study of 19th century
imperialism. Many parallels can be drawn between Hobson's analysis imperialism
in the latter half of the 19th century with the globalization phenomenon we
have experienced since World War II.
Huntington, James B.,
Work's New Age: The End of Full Employment and What It Means to You (2011) examines the problems automation creates in maintaining full employment
in today's world.
Isikoff, Michael and
Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War
(2006) documents the
way in which the Bush Administration distorted available intelligence in order
to justify their invasion of Iraq.
The Age of Anxiety: McCarthyism to Terrorism (2006) shows the similarities between the tactics used in the
McCarthy Era and those used by the Rightwing Propaganda Machine today.
Johnson, Simon and
White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why it
Matters to You (2012) examines the his history of the federal debt
and explains the fundamental choices we are faced with today in dealing with
our federal deficit/debt problem.
13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown (2010)
compares the way financial crises are dealt with in third world countries and
how we dealt with the crisis of 2008.
Jones, Mary Harris
Field (editor) ,
The Autobiography of Mother Jones (1996) tells the life story of Mother Jones and her involvement in the labor movement
during the latter half of the nineteenth century.
The Robber Barons (1934) is, of course, the classic work
describing the excesses of free market capitalism in the latter half of the
Kennedy, David M.,
Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945
(1999) provides an in depth account of the ways in which the Great
Depression and World War II changed the American society from 1929 through
Keynes, John M.,
The General Theory of Money, Interest, and Prices (1936) (Electronic
Edition) is the classic work on the economics of depressions.
World in Depression, 1929-1939: Revised and Enlarged Edition (History of the
World Economy in the Twentieth Century)
(1986) is a comprehensive examination of the Great Depression from the
perspective of how it reverberated throughout the world.
Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises (2005) provides an update to MacKay's tome and is much easier to
The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot (1953-1985) explains the
conservative movement in the United States and England from the eighteenth
century through the mid 1980s in terms of 1) an abiding faith in Natural Law
as determined by a Devine Providence, 2) the superiority of intuition,
predigests, and tradition over the scientific method in the search for meaning
and truth, and 3) the belief that ideas are more important than facts in this
regard. Unfortunately, Kirk fails to explain how a movement which he shows to
have fought the spread of Free Market Capitalism and Democracy for over one
hundred and fifty years has managed to become the unquestioning, fanatical
champions of these two institutions in today's world.
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007) is probably the most
shocking book I have ever read. It explains the role free market ideologues
have played in international finance over the past forty years, and documents
the disastrous consequences of their policies throughout Latin America,
Eastern Europe, Indonesia, Iraq, and South Africa.
Kleinbard, Edward D.,
We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money (2015)
explains the justification and need for government expenditures and taxes.
Foundations of Real World Economics: What Every Economics Student Needs to
Know (2019) provides a devastating critique of mainstreamed
economics that is a must read for any undergraduate economics major or
graduate student. It would also make an excelent textbook for a course
in political or sociological economics.
The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century
(2009) chronicles the economic misdeeds of the Bush Administration .
The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 (2009) examines the historical context in which the current
financial crisis occurred and the underlying economics that brought this
The Conscience of a Liberal
(2007) discusses the way in which the
Rightwing Propaganda machine is organized and the economic effects of this
take over of the Republican Party on our society.
Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished
Expectations (1995) examines the economic sense and nonsense generated
by the Rightwing Propaganda Machine.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) presents, what was
at the time Kuhn published this book, an iconoclastic explanation of the way
in which scientific truth changes over time.
Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction (2006) discusses the
hypocrisy with which free market ideologues have used the Christian Right for
their political and economic ends.
The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our
Prosperity (2008) is a sequel to his
Everything for Sale that examines the role the deregulation of
economic behavior has played in undermining democratic institutions. He shows
how giving lip service to the Utopian Capitalist's ideals has led to the
squandering of America's economic resources and the concentration a larger and
larger portion of our wealth and income in the hands of fewer and fewer
people, and how this concentration of wealth and power has undermined the
wellbeing of the vast majority of Americans.
Everything for Sale: The Virtues and Limits of Markets (1999)
provides a devastating critique of the economic foundations of the
free market ideology. It is one of the best, and most important books on the
discipline of economics I have read. Anyone who considers herself an
economist, or who has even a passing interest in the discipline of economics
should read this book. Only the most ardent true believer in the free market
ideology can fail to grasp its significance.
The Political Mind: Why You Can't Understand 21st-Century American Politics
with an 18th-Century Brain (2008)
explains the mechanism by which the Rightwing Propaganda Machine frames the
political debate in our country to divert the debate from substantive issues
to non-substantive issues within the context of the cognitive sciences.
Whose Freedom?: The Battle Over America's Most Important Idea
(2006) explains the mechanism by which the Rightwing Propaganda Machine
frames the fundamental concept of freedom to engender support for their
Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate--The
Essential Guide for Progressives (2004)
provides a nonacademic explanation of the framing mechanism of the Cognitive
The Cost of Inequality: Why Economic Equality is Essential for Recovery
(2012) examines the effects of inequality on the
British economy with comparisons with the United States.
Levin, Carl and
Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse
(2011) provides both a comprehensive overview of the financial crisis and a
detailed analysis of some of the major actors that helped to bring on this
Take on the Street: How to Fight for Your Financial Future
examines the regulatory issues at the SEC during Levitt's tenure as Chairman
of the SEC from 1993 through 2000.
Liar's Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street (1989) examines the effects of deregulation during the 80s on the
behavior of the financial sector as it led to the savings and loan crisis in
the late 80s.
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (2011) chronicles the
events leading up to the Crash of 2008 through the eyes of a number of
investors who saw it coming and shorted the market to make money off the
Lindert, Peter H.,
Growing Public: Social Spending and Economic Growth Since the Eighteenth
Century Volume 1 and
Volume 2 (2005) provides a compelling history and analysis of the
evolution of social welfare/transfer systems over the past three-hundred
Volume 2 examines the statically analysis on which Lindert's
conclusions are based.
The End of Wall Street (2010)
examines the housing bubble from its inception through the crash of 2008.
Origins of the Crash: The Great Bubble and Its Undoing (2004)
examines the effects of deregulation on the dotcom and telecom bubbles
during the 1990s and early 2000s.
When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management
(2002) examines the effects of deregulation during the collapse of
the Long-Term Capital Management hedge fund and the way in which it threatened
to take down the entire financial system.
From the New Deal to the New Right: Race and the Southern Origins of Modern
Conservatism (2009) examines the mechanisms by which southern conservatives took over
the Republican party.
Lux, Michael ,
The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be (2009)
examines the history of the Progressive movement in the United States.
The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War
on American Ideals (2008) documents the way in which the free market ideologues of the
Bush Administration subverted the American government into adopting a policy
of torturing people to serve their ends. It is very explicit in its
discussion of the kinds of torture techniques used, the extent to which these
techniques were used, and on whom these techniques were used. I do not
recommend that everyone read this book. It is very upsetting.
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841)
is, of course, a classic tome on the subject of economic bubbles and other
kinds of mass delusions. Unfortunately, it is rather dry reading and not
nearly as fun as its title suggests.
Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World
(2014) examines how simplistic interpretations of basic economic
principles in the face of ideological blindness leads to economic catastrophe.
Mian, Atif and
House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession, and How We
Can Prevent It From Happening Again (2014) is an iconoclastic work
that systematically refutes the fundamental beliefs of the kind of
macroeconomic theory that led to the Great Recession. This is a very important
book that promises to have a dramatic effect on the way economists, especially
the younger generation, view macro economy going forward.
Meltzer, Allan H.,
A History of the Federal Reserve, Volume 1: 1913-1951 (2003) examines
the history of central banking and of the Federal Reserve through 1951.
Miller, T. Christian,
Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq
(2006) documents the conflicts of interests and the huge
fortunes that were made through political patronage in Iraq.
Minsky, Hyman P.,
Stabilizing an Unstable Economy
extends Keynes and Fisher's explanations of the Great Depression and explains how economic and psychological
forces in the financial sector has a destabilizing effect on the economy in a
capitalistic system. It is one of the most underrated books, until recently,
Mises, Ludwig von,
Human Action: A Treatise on Economics (1949)
is also a seminal document of the Free Market Movement. This tome provides
the praxeological arguments for the notion that the underlying assumptions
of the free market ideology are universal truths and explains why all that is
good in the world comes from free markets and everything that is bad comes
from interfering with free markets. This book is available
Morris, Charles R.,
The Two Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great
Credit Crash (March 2008) explains the housing bubble and its bursting in 2007 and
forecasted the crash of 2008 six months before it happened. Morris explained
in detail why the coming crash was inevitable.
Money, Greed, and Risk: Why Financial Crises and Crashes Happen
(1999) examines both the history and the economics of financial
crises and evaluates the inadequacy and the importance of regulation in
moderating these crises.
The Theory of Public Finance: A Study in Public Economy (1959) is a classic work on the functions of government in the economic
Unsafe At Any Speed The Designed-in Dangers of the American Automobile
(1965) chronologies the safety problems in the American
1984 Nineteen eighty four (1948)
seems to provide both a warning and a guide to the free market movement: A
warning as to the evils of totalitarian socialism, and a guide as to how to
rule and control public opinion in a free market society.
Palley, Thomas I.,
The Economic Crisis: Notes From the Underground
the causes of the economic crisis and the failure of the economics profession
to foresee and explain it.
The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly
Destroyed It (2010) explores the role of hedge funds,
quantitative models, and the belief in
self-adjusting free markets
in the meltdown of
the economic system from 2007 through 2008. Provides some insight into the way
electronic trading works in the global economy.
The Hellhound of Wall Street: How Ferdinand Pecora's Investigation of the
Great Crash Forever Changed American Finance (2010) explains the
importance of the Pecora Hearings in bringing about the financial regulation
of the 1930s.
Phillips, Kevin P.,
Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of
American Capitalism (2008)
provides a penetrating analysis of the way in which the rise of speculative
finance combined with the geopolitics of oil and the failure of domestic
politics in the United States to meet the challenge of state capitalism in the
developing world led to the economic crisis with which we are faced.
Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich
provides an encyclopedic examination of the rise and fall of the Spanish,
Dutch, and British empires and the striking similarities with the development
of the United States' empire over the past 200 years.
The Emerging Republican Majority (1969)
provides a comprehensive analysis of the changes in the voting trends through
the 1968 election that eventually led to the Republican majority in the
The Great Transformation (1944) provides a critical view of the
fundamental assumptions that underlie the Utopian Capitalists view of
reality. The uniqueness of this book and its insight into the human
condition makes it one of the most important, if not the single most important
contribution to this debate. Unfortunately, it has received very little
recognition within the discipline of economics.
Rajan, Raghuram G.,
Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy
(2010) I a very disappointing book. While it contains some understanding
of the current crisis, it contains innumerable ideological clichιs and
indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of the role government housing played
in this crisis.
Saving Capitalism From the Capitalists: Unleashing the Power of Financial
Markets to Create Wealth and Spread Opportunity (2003) argues for
the need to regulate the financial markets.
Atlas Shrugged (1959) concludes with the utopian dream of the Utopian Capitalistsa world
without government where we all just get along.
Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future (2010) examines
the consequences of the current crisis and argues that the long run effect of
this crisis is going to be sustained unemployment in the absence of a
redistribution of income.
Carmen M. and
Kenneth S. Rogoff,
This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly (2009)
examines eight centuries of financial crises and shows how the crises arise
from the same kinds of speculative behavior and are imminently predictable.
Ricks, Thomas E.,
Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003 to 2005
(2006) examines the way in which the ideological biases in the
Bush Administration have led to the fiasco in Iraq. At the same time I was
terribly impressed by the integrity of the American military in the picture
that is painted by Ricks, particularly as it relates to the loyalty of the
military to the Constitution and the requirement of civilian control. This is
a very good book for anyone interested in military history and who takes pride
in our military.
The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy
(2011) explains the inherent conflict between globalization, national
sovereignty and democratic politics.
Has Globalization Gone Too Far?
(1997) examines who loses and who gains from globalization and explains
how globalization leads to economic and social instability.
Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of America
provides one of the best analyses of how financial crises come into being,
particularly the crisis of 2007-2008, and of the nature of the problems the
current crisis is going to cause going forward.
Sachs, Jeffrey D.,
Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (2008)
provides a sobering view of the economic situation in the world today and not
only explains the need for governmental intervention to deal with our economic
problems, but the need for international cooperation among governments to
solve these problems.
Sanger, David E.,
The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American
Power (2009) examines the problems created by the Iraq war and the
economic collapse with regard to American influence through out the world.
Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army
examines the corruption involved in privatizing the military functions of
The Assumptions Economists Make
(2012) provides a comprehensive
overview of the history of economic thought as this history relates to modern
divisions within the discipline of economic today. It is a must read for
anyone who wishes to understand the discipline.
Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (1942) is a classic work
that undertakes a detailed examination of the fundamental issues surrounding
capitalism, socialism, and democracy.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany is the classic work on the history of Hitler and his rise to power in
Hostile Takeover: How Big Money and Corruption Conquered Our Government--And
How We Take It Back (2007) examines how the corporate takeover of
our government has led to corruption in our everyday lives.
Keynes: The Return of the Master
(2012) discusses the resurgence
of Keynesian Economics and the Economics of Keynes since the Crash of 2008.
Maynard Keynes 1883-1946: Economist, Philosopher, Statesman, New York:
Penguin Books, 2003.
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations
(1776) is, of course, a classic in the true sense that it is a book everyone
knows but no one has read. I know of no other book that has been used so
often to create a false air of authority save the Bible and, perhaps, the
ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted
(2010) examines the role played by economics in the financial the 2008
financial crisis and provides a biting criticism of economic dogma.
Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to
Save the Financial System---and Themselves (2009) examines the actions of Secretary of Treasury Paulson,
New York Fed Chairman Geithner, and the various Wall Street players as they
attempted to stabilize the financial system from the fall of Bear Sterns
through the passage of the TARP program.
Stewart, James B.,
Den of Thieves
(1992) examines the hostile takeover, leverage buyout junk bond craze in the
Stiglitz, Joseph E.,
The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them
(2015) examines the role of government policy in creating economic inequality.
The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future
(2012) examines the way in which the increase in the concentration of income leads to economic
Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy
(2010) examines of the economics of financial crisis and evaluates the
inadequacy and inequity of the policy responses to this crisis.
The Roaring Nineties: A New History of the World's Most Prosperous Decade
(2003) examines the economic deregulatory policies of the Clinton
Administration and how they led to the dotcom and telecom bubbles.
Globalization and Its Discontents (2002)
examines the ideological conflict between the International Monetary Fund and
World Bank in dealing with financial crises during the 1990s.
Tabb, William K.,
The Long Default: New York City and the Urban Fiscal Crisis
examines the effects of the policies of free market ideologues in managing New
York Citys financial crisis during the 1970s.
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (2007) examines the role of market complexity and
uncertainty in risk management and economic instability.
Peter, and David Vines,
Keynes: Useful Economics for the World Economy
(2014) traces the development of Keyness theory of the relationship between
domestic and international economics from
The Economic Consequences of the Peace through the
Bretton Woods Agreement. It provides a rather
good primer on the relationship between domestic and international economics.
Fool's Gold: How the Bold Dream of a Small Tribe at J.P. Morgan Was Corrupted
by Wall Street Greed and Unleashed a Catastrophe (2009) tells
the story of the role played by J.P. Morgan in creating Credit Default Swaps
and how these and other derivatives brought on the financial crisis.
The Theory of the Leisure Class (1900) (PDF)
is, without question, the most entertaining of all the books written on the
excesses of free market capitalism.
The Theory of
Business Enterprise (1904) (PDF)
is probably the first objective account of nineteenth century business in the
United States Senate,
Stock Exchange Practices, Report of the Committee on Banking and Currency
(1934), also known as
The Pecora Report, documents and elaborates on the financial abuses
that occurred during the 1920s and early1930s that led to the financial
regulatory system put in place during the 1930s.
Latin Lessons: How South America Stopped Listening to the United States and
Started Prospering (2012) examines
the effect of the Washington Consensus on Latin America and the reaction to
this consensus during the first decade of the new millennium.
In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke's War on the Great Panic (2009)
examines the actions of Chairman Bernanke's in his attempt to stabilize the
financial system throughout the financial crisis from its beginning.
The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation
(2007) is one of the most important books I have ever read. It explains
the importance of emotional appeals in the basic psychology of the Rightwing
Propaganda Machine and how this machine has used these appeals to shift the
mind of the body politic to the right. More important, it explains why this
shift in the mind of the body politic is the fault of the Democratic Party.
Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (2010)
provides a lucid, though uncritical, exposition of
many basic concepts in economics but seems to be at a loss in its attempt to
explain the economic catastrophe we are in the midst of today.
Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right
(2006) examines the role the
religious right in the Republican Party.
The Post-American World (2009)
examines the problems created by the Iraq war and the economic collapse with
regard to American influence through out the world.
A People's History of the United States
(2003) provides an examination of US history from the prospective of ordinary
people as opposed to from the prospective of the political and economic