Political Economy Books by URPE members (2014-15)

Robin Hahnel. 2015.  The ABCs of Political Economy Pluto.

The ABCs of Political Economy provides a lively and accessible introduction to modern political economy. In this compelling book, informed by the work of such eminent economic philosophers as Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, Michal Kalecki, Joan Robinson, and Hyman Minksy, Robin Hahnel provides the essential tools to comprehend today’s economic crises. Hahnel explains the origins of the financial crisis of 2008, the ensuing “Great Recession,” and why government policies in Europe and North America over the past six years have failed to improve matters for the majority of their citizens.

A. Bitzenis, N. Karkagiannis, J. Marangos (Editors). 2015. Europe in Crisis: Problems, Challenges and Alternative Perspectives Palgrave Macmillian.

Europe in Crisis examines the current state of the European economy, society, and polity, both on the theoretical and political levels, by placing special emphasis on its current crisis. With important contributions from heterodox economists and radical social and political scientists, this innovative new edited collection seeks to evaluate past efforts and policies (mainly since World War II), criticize the failed neoclassical/neoliberal perspectives, and offer alternative strategies and policies to Europe's socioeconomic impasse and misery.

Robin Hahnel and Erik Olin Wright. 2014.   Alternatives to Capitalism: Proposals for a Democratic Economy Verso.  Also free download.

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 difficult to list capitalism’s myriad injustices. But is there a preferable and workable alternative? Alternatives to Capitalism: Proposals for a Democratic Economy presents a debate between two such possibilities: Robin Hahnel’s “participatory economics” and Erik Olin Wright’s “real utopian” socialism. It is a detailed and rewarding discussion that illuminates a range of issues and dilemmas of crucial importance to any serious effort to build a better world.

Elliott D. Sclar, Måns Lönnroth, Christian Wolmar (Editors). 2014.  Urban Access for the 21st Century: Finance and Government Models for Transportation Infrastructure Routledge.

This book sets out a road map for the provision of urban access for all. For most of the last century cities have followed a path of dependency on car dominated urban transport favouring the middle classes. Urban Access for the 21st Century seeks to change this. Policies need to be more inclusive of the accessibility needs of the urban poor. Change requires redesigning the existing public finance systems that support urban mobility. The aim is to diminish their embedded biases towards automobile-based travel.

Mark Weisbrot. 2015. Failed: What the "Experts" Got Wrong about the Global Economy Oxford University Press.

The book analyzes long-term economic failures, from the Eurozone to developing countries, shows how political agendas are often at the root of long-term economic failures and - as in the Eurozone - can prolong financial crises unnecessarily, and examines why the IMF has lost most of its influence in middle-income countries over the past decade and a half.

Lourdes Beneria, Günseli Berik, Maria Floro. 2015. Gender, Development and Globalization: Economics as if All People Mattered. 2nd Edition Routledge.

Gender, Development, and Globalization is the leading primer on global feminist economics and development. Lourdes Benería, a pioneer in the field of feminist economics, is joined in this second edition by Gunseli Berik and Maria Floro to update the text to reflect the major theoretical, empirical, and methodological contributions and global developments in the last decade. Its interdisciplinary investigation remains accessible to a broad audience interested in an analytical treatment of the impact of globalization processes on development and wellbeing in general and on social and gender equality in particular.

Passion and Patience book cover

David Laibman.  2015.  Passion and Patience: Society, History and Revolutionary Vision  International Publishers.

The chapters in this book are built up mainly from the "Editorial Perspectives" essays written by Laibman for the Marxist journal Science & Society, over the past 20 years, with some material that first appeared elsewhere.  They cover aspects of historical materialist theory; labor, symbols and human nature; political economy and economics; capitalism and crisis; revolution, reform and socialism; conceptualizing and theorizing time; the theory of socialism and communism; the USSR and Russia, history and controversy; Marxism, science, methodology; forecasts, culture, ideology.  The book can be used as a systematic introduction to Marxist theory, but the reader can also sample the essays randomly.

Catherine P. Mulder. 2015.  Transending Capitalism Through Cooperative Practices. Palgrave Macmillan.

Transcending Capitalism Through Cooperative Practices identifies and analyzes sustainable alternatives to capitalism by examining five diverse enterprises, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Green Bay Packers football team, and the Lusty Lady sex club.

Cover of Real World Globalization

Dollars and Sense. 2015. Real World Globalization.

Real World Globalization is an essential guide to the changing trends in global trade, investment, labor relations, and economic development. Its well-researched, clearly written articles are drawn from the pages of Dollars & Sense, the leading magazine of popular economics. They provide highly accessible analysis of global corporations, international institutions and "free trade" agreements, globalization and conditions of labor, international debt, environmental and resource issues, and alternatives to dominant policies and institutions. This fourteenth edition is thoroughly revised and updated, with new chapters on "Crisis, Austerity, and Stagnation" and "The Political Economy of Empire."

Cover of Current Economic Issues

James M. Cypher, Robert Larson, Alejandro Reuss, Chris Sturr, and the Dollars & Sense collective, editors. 2015. Current Economic Issues.  Dollars and Sense.

A lively anthology on today’s most important economic debates, Current Economic Issues highlights shorter, more accessible material from the pages of Dollars & Sense. These articles pack all of the punch—the incisive analysis and thought-provoking alternative perspectives for which D&S is known—into a concise format perfect for introductory-level courses in economics and other social sciences.  This brand-new edition covers key controversies—ongoing economic stagnation, fiscal policy and deficits, financial instability, the social-welfare state, environmental protection, labor and unions, economic inequality, and the changing global economy. One new chapter, on food and agriculture, includes articles on land reform, food insecurity, and the failure of industrial agriculture. Another new chapter, on race and class, addresses such timely topics as the racial wealth divide, environmental injustice, and the economics of policing.

John Komlos. 2014. What Every Economics Student Needs to Know and Doesn't Get in the Usual Prinicples Text.  Routledge. 

This short book explores a core group of 40 topics that tend to go unexplored in an Introductory Economics course. Though not a replacement for an introductory text, the work is intended as a supplement to provoke further thought and discussion by juxtaposing blackboard models of the economy with empirical observations.

Southern Insurgency

Immanuel Ness. 2015. Southern Insurgency: The Coming of the Global Working Class. Pluto Press. 

The site of industrial struggle is shifting. The West needs to look further if it wants to understand how workers’ self-organisation is developing in countries it too often ignores. Inevitably, new methods of combating the spread of industrial capitalism are evolving in ambitious, militant and creative ways. Southern Insurgency will lead the way in examining these organisations in the contemporary era. Immanuel Ness looks at three key countries: China, India and South Africa. In each case he considers the broader historical forces at play – the effects of imperialism, the decline of the trade union movement, the class struggle and the effects of the growing reserve army of labour. For each case study, he narrows his focus to reveal the specifics of each grassroots insurgency: the militancy of the miners in South Africa, the new labour organisations in India and export promotion and the rise of worker insurgency in China.

Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis

Ismael Hossein-zadeh. 2014. Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis Parasitic Finance Capital. Routledge. 

Focusing on superficial descriptions or symptomatic factors such as deregulation, securitization, greed, and the like, mainstream economics falls way short of providing a satisfactory explanation for the 2008 financial collapse. Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis skillfully fills this theoretical void as it provides an alternative explanation of the collapse, of the ensuing long recession and of the neoliberal austerity responses to it. Instead of simply blaming the “irrational behavior” of market players, as neoliberals do, or lax public supervision, as Keynesians do, the study focuses on the core dynamics of capitalist development that not only created the financial bubble, but also fostered the “irrational behavior” of market players and subverted public policy.  See Amazon reviews.

Principles of Economics for a Post-Meltdown World

John Komlos. 2015. Principles of Economics for a Post-Meltdown World: A critique of Samuelson’s and Nordhaus’s Economics 19th edition.  WEA Books.

The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism  Edited by Immanuel Ness, Zak Cope

Elliot Ness and Zak Cope. 2015. The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism. Palgrave McMillian.

The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism is a brand new, two-volume publication which presents theoretical explanations and historical accounts of imperialism and anti-imperialism from the 16th Century to the present day. The work contains over 170 entries written by an international team of experts and scholars in the field of imperialism and anti-imperialism.   Key themes include: current information on recent and continuing conflicts such as Ukraine, Libya, and Darfur; biographies of key figures, their concepts, theories and perspectives; how imperialism has impacted Third World countries, and how it has shaped social relations and popular perceptions in the First World.

schroeder Public credit rating agencies

Susan K. Schroeder 2015. Public Credit Rating Agencies: Increasing Capital Investment and Lending Stability in Volatile Markets.  Palgrave McMillian.

Whether it be a sovereign debt crisis or housing bubble, credit ratings often emerge has having a role in creating the conditions conducive to an economic or financial crisis. Why? This book examines the functions and malfunction of credit ratings, or, more generally, assessments of credit risk. It also examines the methodological underpinnings of the dominant methods of assessment. A key point is the book makes is that these methods reflect an inherent vision of stability of a capitalist economy. If a market economy is inherently unstable, the methods of credit risk assessment are likely to exacerbate instability, rather than promote stability. (Discount available on the hardcover with the code: PM15THIRTY)

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Tae-Hee Jo and Zdravka Todorova (editors). 2015.  Advancing the Frontiers of Heterodox Economics: Essays in Honor of Frederick S. Lee Routledge.

This collection of essays honors the life and work of one of the most prominent and fervent heterodox economists, Frederic S. Lee, who has been at the heart of the heterodox economics movements for the past three decades. Part I addresses the importance of history, theory, research methods, and institutions in the making of the identity of heterodox economics as an alternative to mainstream economics. Part II delves into heterodox microeconomic theories—in particular, investment, pricing, competition, markets, and market governance—as foundations of heterodox macroeconomic analyses. Part III expands the analysis of the capitalist social provisioning process with an emphasis on its subsystems and their relationships over historical time. Part IV encapsulates the life and work of Frederic S. Lee.

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Mark Kleindinst (editor). 2015.  Katrina, Ten Years After

This book tells the truth about the resiliency of the people of the area, buffeted by not only a storm but by the Great Recession over the last decade.  There was a great amount of generosity, but there were also conflicts between classes and ethnic groups over the spoils of aid funds. Among the chapters is the story of the Lower Ninth Ward’s struggle to rebuild, the environmentally concerned salvage business in New Orleans the “Green Project,” and the efforts of Vietnamese communities to respond to yet again another devastating series of events.

Zack Cope Divided World Divided Class

Zack Cope. 2015. Divided World Divided Class: Global Political Economy and the Stratification of Labour under Capitalism Kersplebedeb (Montreal)

The book demonstrates not only how redistribution of income derived from super-exploitation has allowed for the amelioration of class conflict in the wealthy capitalist countries, it also shows that the exorbitant 'super-wage' paid to workers there, particularly since the globalisation of production associated with neoliberal hegemony, has meant the disappearance of a domestic vehicle for socialism, an exploited working class. Rather, in its place is a deeply conservative metropolitan workforce committed to maintaining, and even extending, its privileged position through imperialism.

See the review of this book by Timothy Kerswell in the Monthly Review.

Dollars and Sense. 2015. Real World Macro

Real World Macro is a lively, thought-provoking supplement to introductory and intermediate macroeconomics textbooks. Real World Macro asks the big questions that standard textbooks try to avoid: What's so great about growth? Is unemployment natural? Why should inequality matter?

Along with covering the basics—monetary and fiscal policy, productivity and investment, inflation and unemployment—Real World Macro also looks at the so-called debt crisis, debates about taxes and their effects on macroeconomic outcomes, and arguments for and against "free trade." Chapter introductions help students review the concepts examined in each article, and discussion questions help students relate macroeconomic theories to the latest real-world issues.

Dollars and Sense. 2015. Real World Micro

Real World Micro is a great supplement to any mainstream introductory textbook. In addition to presenting alternative perspectives on the basics—supply and demand, production and consumption decisions, market structure and monopoly, market failure and the roles of government—Real World Micro relates theoretical principles to current controversies about income distribution, environmental protection, taxes, labor, trade, and (in a new "Policy Spotlight" chapter) intergenerational equity.

Organized to follow the outline of a standard economics text, each chapter leads off with a brief introduction, including study questions for the entire chapter, to help students relate the articles to the theories in standard textbooks. Its contents provide vivid, real-world illustrations of key economic concepts.

Book cover:  The Systemic Nature of the Current Crisis

Arturo Hermann 2015. The Systemic Nature of the Economic Crisis: The perspectives of heterodox economics and psychoanalysis Routledge.

The most prominent aspect of the current financial crisis is its systemic character which manifests itself in high levels of inequality, rampant unemployment, economic and social insecurity and environmental decay. This book examines the potential of a number of contributions from heterodox economics and psychoanalysis in providing a deeper understanding of these problems.

Europe in Crisis

Aristidis Bitzenis, Nikolaos Karagiannis, and John Marangos, Editors. 2015. Europe in Crisis: Problems, Challenges, and Alternative Perspectives Palgrave Macmillan.

Europe in Crisis examines the current state of the European economy, society, and polity, both on the theoretical and political levels, by placing special emphasis on its current crisis. With important contributions from heterodox economists and radical social and political scientists, this innovative new edited collection seeks to evaluate past efforts and policies (mainly since World War II), criticize the failed neoclassical/neoliberal perspectives, and offer alternative strategies and policies to Europe's socioeconomic impasse and misery.

Cover of Towards a New Understanding of Sraffa

Riccardo Bellofiore and Scott Carter (Editors). 2014. Towards a New Understanding of Sraffa: Insights from Archival Research Palgrave Macmillan.

The book examines the legacy of Piero Sraffa by approaching his ideas in a new light, thanks to the insights gained from the opening of the archive collection of his papers at the Wren Library (Trinity College, Cambridge, UK). It provides a refreshing perspective into Sraffa's approach to money, the role of equilibrium and of the surplus in economic theory. 

Cover of The Evolution of the Property Relation: Understanding Paradigms, Debates, and Prospects

Ann E. Davis. 2015.  The Evolution of the Property Relation: Understanding Paradigms, Debates, and Prospects Palgrave MacMillan.

Although the neoliberal paradigm relies on an unchanging, unexamined definition of property,  this book makes the case that the definition of property is discretionary and continually evolving.  Further, the conception of the role of the state and the "rational individual" also vary accordingly.  By including a projection of future possibilities of property forms, this book overcomes the tendency for reification in mainstream economics, and makes a contribution to a reflexive historical institutional political economy.

Cover of Just One More Hand: Life in the Casino Economy

Ellen Mutari and Deborah M. Figart 2015. Just One More Hand: Life in the Casino Economy Roman and Littlefield

"Just One More Hand is a masterful tale of the perils of economic development strategy gone awry, told with the analytical skills of two talented economists and seen through the eyes of a diverse group of people who depended on Atlantic City’s casinos for their livelihoods." — Eileen Appelbaum, Senior Economist, Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Cover of  Economics of the 1% How Mainstream Economics Serves the Rich, Obscures Reality and Distorts Policy

John Weeks.  2014. Economics of the 1% How Mainstream Economics Serves the Rich, Obscures Reality and Distorts Policy  Anthem Press

“John F. Weeks has performed a big and important service. The economic dogma that sired the financial crash of 2008–9 and the longest recession for a century remains the dominant ideology, for lack of the coup de grace to consign it to oblivion. John F. Weeks sets about this task with a forthrightness and zeal akin to the biblical destruction of false prophets. This book should be read by all who seek the restoration of sanity in economics from the corrupting clutches of perhaps the biggest austerity hoax ever perpetrated.” —Michael Meacher, British Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton

Cover of he Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism

David M. Kotz. 2015. The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism Harvard University Press

The book considers the key features of the changed form of capitalism that arose around 1980, why it emerged starting in the late 1970s (including the role of big business political action), how it worked through 2007,  why it gave rise to a severe financial and real sector crisis in 2008, and the institutional changes that might arise in the years ahead.

Cover of Corporate Power, Oligopolies, and the Crisis of the State Luis Suarez-Villa. 2015. Corporate Power, Oligopolies, and the Crisis of the State SUNY Press

Cover of Principles of Macroeconomics: Activist vs. Austerity Policies

Howard Sherman and Michael A. Meeropol. 2013.  Principles of Macroeconomics: Activist vs. Austerity Policies Routledge

Cover of Myths of Capitalism - A Guide for the 99%

Andrew Torrre. 2014. Myths of Capitalism - A Guide for the 99% Routlege

This primer on the capitalist system – its history, current functioning, and future – addresses the long-promulgated capitalist belief system that has become the accepted wisdom in most of American society. The main tenets of this belief system – the sanctity of private property, the social benefits of profit, the elevation of the individual, capitalism’s compatibility with democracy, the underlying stability of the market, the virtues of competition, etc. – do not hold up under empirical data and a careful analysis of the actual workings of the system. Written in layman’s language and non-polemical, the book is eminently accessible to the intelligent reader, including students of economics and political science.

Cover of Political Economy After Economics: Scientific Method and Radical Imagination

David Laibman. 2014 (paperback). Political Economy After Economics: Scientific Method and Radical Imagination Routledge

This book examines a wide range of economic problems; among others: technical change and the rate of profit, value and price formation in capitalist economics, classical (as opposed to textbook) approaches to supply and demand, rationing and price control, the impact of government policy on economic activity, and the nature and role of incentives in a model of socialist planning that is both central and decentral.  In each case, it is shown that formal economic-theory methods can be used to support, rather than to obscure, the core insights of critical political economics.  This re-incorporation of economics into political economy is one element in a larger project: to place the resources of present-day social-scientific research at the service of increasing democracy, in an ultimate direction toward socialism in the classic sense.

Real World Micro cover Dollars and Sense (editor). 2014. Real World Micro 21st edition Dollars and Sense
cover of Microeconomics: Individual Choice in Communities

Gerald Friedman. 2014. Microeconomics: Individual Choice in Communities Dollars and Sense.

This unique textbook covers all the standard topics of an introductory microeconomics course, including the profit-maximizing firm, the utility-maximizing consumer, supply and demand, price and income elasticities, factors of production and their marginal products, and so on. But this book does much more: it offers both an alternative vision of microeconomics—placing individual decision-making in the context of social norms and institutions—and cogent criticism of neoclassical theory. Students using this book will get more than just an introduction to mainstream microeconomics—they will gain a deeper and more critical understanding of it.

Cover of  Methodological Misconceptions in the Social Sciences Angelo Fusari. 2014. Methodological Misconceptions in the Social Sciences Springer.
Cover of The Microeconomics of Complex Economies Wolfram Elsner, Torsten Heinrich, and Henning Schwardt. 2014. The Microeconomics of Complex Economies Evolutionary, Institutional, and Complexity Perspectives Elsevier.
Cover of Daniel E. Saro Information Technology and Socialist Construction The End of Capital and the Transition to Socialism. Daniel E. Saros. 2014. Information Technology and Socialist Construction The End of Capital and the Transition to Socialism Routledge.
Cover of Digital Labour and Karl Marx Christian Fuchs. 2014. Digital Labour and Karl Marx New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-71615-4.
Social Media: A Critical Introduction Christian Fuchs. 2014. Social Media: A Critical Introduction. London: Sage Publications.