The Case For A Four Day Week by Anna Coote, Aidan Harper and Alfie Stirling

The Blurb On The Back:

Not long ago, people thought that a ten-hour, six-day week was normal; now, it’s the eight-hour, five-day week.  Will that soon be history too?

In this book, three leading experts argue why it should be.  They map out a pragmatic pathway to a shorter working week that safeguards earnings for the lower-paid and keeps the economy flourishing.  They argue that this radical vision will give workers time to be better parents and carers, allow men and women to share paid and unpaid work more equally, and help to save jobs – and create new ones – in the post-pandemic era.  Not only that, but it will combat stress and illness caused by overwork and help to protect the environment. 

This is essential reading for anyone who has ever felt they could live and work a lot better if all weekends are three days long. 

You can buy THE CASE FOR A FOUR DAY WEEK by Anna Coote, Aidan Harper and Alfie Starling from Amazon USA, Amazon UKWaterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

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The Case For Universal Basic Services by Anna Coote and Andrew Percy

The Blurb On The Back:

The idea that health care and education should be provided as universal public services on the basis of need is widely accepted.  But why leave it there?  Why not expand it to more of life’s essentials?

Anna Coote and Andrew Percy argue that such a transformational expansion of public services is exactly what we need.  They show that expanding the principle of collective universal service provision to everyday essentials like transport, child care and housing is not only the best way of tackling many of our biggest problems: it’s also efficient, practical and affordable.

Anyone who cares about fighting for a fairer, greener and more democratic world should read this book.

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The Case For Community Wealth Building by Joe Guinan and Martin O’Neill

The Blurb On The Back:

Our broken economic model drives inequality and disempowerment, lining the pockets of corporations while extracting wealth from local communities.

Joe Guinan and Martin O’Neill argue for an approach that uses the power of democratic participation to drive equitable development and ensure that wealth is widely shared.  They show how this model – Community Wealth Building – can transform our economic system by creating a web of collaborative institutions, from worker cooperatives to community land trusts and public banks, that empower and enrich the many, not the few.

This book is essential reading for everyone interested in building more equal, inclusive, and democratic societies.

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The Firm Divided: Manager-Shareholder Conflict And The Fight For Control Of The Modern Corporation by Graeme Guthrie

The Blurb On The Back:

A battle is being fought within modern corporations.

Shareholders want managers to make their shares as valuable as possible, managers want shareholders to leave them alone, and the board of directors is caught in the middle.  The Firm Divided shows how strong boards persuade managers to do what’s best for shareholders – and how weak board don’t.

Graeme Guthrie blends the stories of particular firms and individuals with the insights of scholarly  research, inhaling understanding of how seemingly separate events are examples of a fundamental divide in the nature of the firm: the separation of ownership and control that results in manager-shareholder conflict.  Boards of directors are caught in the middle trying to weigh their fiduciary duty to shareholders against the close ties that inevitably bind them to senior executives.  A firm’s directors can influence the outcome of this conflict by monitoring managers, providing incentives for managers to work in shareholders’ best interests, delegating monitoring to outside parties, and determining the effectiveness of the market for corporate control.

The Firm Divided provides conceptual insight, underpinned by research into corporate governance, into board-manager interactions.  It shows how tools that can benefit shareholders when used by strong boards can actually harm shareholders when used by weak boards.  Guthrie provides a 360 degree view of firms exploring the ways in which each player pursues their own goals with examples from a range of firms in diverse industries.

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Riding For Deliveroo: Resistance In The New Economy by Callum Cant

The Blurb On The Back:

What is life like for workers in the gig economy?  Is it a paradise of flexibility and individual freedom?  Or is it a world of exploitation and conflict?  Callum Cant took a job with one of the most prominent platforms, Deliveroo, to find out.

His vivid account of the reality is grim.  Workers toil under conditions set by the company’s algorithms, but they are not resigned to maintaining the status quo.  Cant reveals a transactional network of encrypted chats and informal groups which have given birth to a wave of strikes and protests.  Far from being atomised individuals helpless in the face of massive tech companies, workers are tearing up the rule book and taking back control. New developments in the workplace are combining to produce an explosive subterranean class struggle – where the stakes are high, and the risks are higher.

Riding For Deliveroo is the first portrait of a new generation of working class militants.  Its mixture of compelling first-hand testimony and engaging analysis is essential for anyone wishing to understand class struggle in platform capitalism.

You can order RIDING FOR DELIVEROO: RESISTANCE IN THE NEW ECONOMY by Callum Cant from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

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The Sex Factor: How Women Made The West Rich by Victoria Bateman

The Blurb On The Back:

Why did the West become so rich?  Why is inequality rising?  How ‘free’ should markets be?  And what does sex have to do with it?

In this passionate and skilfully argued book, leading feminist Victoria Bateman shows how we can only understand the burning economic issues of our time if we put sex and gender – ‘the sex factor’ – at the heart of the picture.  Spanning the globe and drawing on thousands of years of history, Bateman tells a bold story about how the status and freedom of women are central to our prosperity.  Genuine female empowerment requires us not only to recognise the liberating potential of markets and smart government policies but also to challenge the double-standard of many modern feminists when they celebrate the brain while denigrating the body.

This iconoclastic book is a devastating expose of what we have lost by ignoring ‘the sex factor’ and of how reversing this neglect can drive the smart economic policies we need today.   

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The Econocracy: On The Perils Of Leaving Economics To The Experts by Joe Earle, Cahal Moran and Zach Ward-Perkins

The Blurb On The Back:

A century ago the idea of ‘the economy’ didn’t exist.  Now economics is the supreme ideology of our time, with its own rules and language.  The trouble is, most of us can’t speak it.  This galvanising book shows us why this is damaging democracy, and what we can do about it. 

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The Case For People’s Quantitative Easing by Frances Coppola

The Blurb On The Back:

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, central banks created trillions of dollars of new money, and poured it into financial markets.  ‘Quantitative Easing’ (QE) was supposed to prevent deflation and restore economic growth.

But the money didn’t go to ordinary people: it went to the rich, who didn’t need it.  It went to big corporations and banks – the same banks whose reckless lending caused the crash.  This led to a decade of stagnation, not recovery.  QE failed.

In this book, Frances Coppola makes the case for a ‘people’s QE’, in which the money goes directly to ordinary people and small businesses.  She argues that it is the fairest and most effective way of restoring crisis-hit economies and helping to solve the long-term challenges of ageing populations, automation and climate change. 

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The Economics Of Arrival: Ideas For A Grown Up Economy by Katherine Trebeck and Jeremy Williams

The Blurb On The Back:

What do we want from economic growth?  What sort of a society are we aiming for?  In everyday economics, there is no such thing as enough, or too much, growth.  Yet in the world’s most developed countries, growth has already brought unrivalled prosperity: we have ‘Arrived’.

More than that, through debt, inequality, climate change and fractured politics, the fruits of growth may rot before everyone has a chance to enjoy them.  It’s high time to ask where progress is taking us, and are we nearly there yet?

In fact, Trebeck and Williams claim in this ground-breaking book, the challenge is now to make ourselves at home with this wealth, and to ensure, in the interests of equality, that everyone is included. They explore the possibility of ‘Arrival’, urging us to move from enlarging the economy to improving it, and the benefits this would bring for all. 

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Money – Myths, Truths And Alternatives by Mary Mellor

The Blurb On The Back:

What does money mean?  Where does it come from and how does it work?

In this highly topical book, Mary Mellor, an expert on money, examines money’s social, political and commercial histories to debunk longstanding myths such as money being in short supply and needing to come from somewhere.

Arguing that money’s immense social value means that its creation and circulation should be a matter of democratic choice, she sets out a new finance system, based on green and feminist concerns, to bring radical change for social good.  

You can order MONEY – MYTHS, TRUTHS AND ALTERNATIVES by Mary Mellor from Amazon USA,  Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

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Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas

The Blurb On The Back:

What explains the spreading backlash against the global elite?  In this revelatory investigation Anand Giridharadas takes us into the inner sanctums of a new gilded age, showing how the elite follow a ‘win-win’ logic, fighting for equality and justice any way they can – except ways that threaten their position at the top.

But why should our gravest problems be solved by consultancies, technology companies and corporate-sponsored charities instead of public institutions and elected officials?  Why should we rely on scraps from the winners?  Trenchant and gripping, this is an indispensable guide and call to action for elites and citizens alike. 

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Do Central Banks Serve The People? By Peter Dietsch, François Claveau and Clément Fontan

The Blurb On The Back:

In the wake of the 2007 financial crisis, central banks injected trillions of dollars of liquidity – through quantitative easing – to prevent financial meltdown and stimulate the economy.  The untold story behind these measures is that they have come at a considerable cost.

Central bankers argue we had no choice.  Using examples from Europe and the US, this book shows why this claim is false.  It outlines why we should worry about the role played by central banks since the crisis and what could be done about it.  Not only do central bank policies drive economic inequality, they have also become worryingly dependent on financial markets.  Far from applying neutral and scientific solutions, their expertise is often biased in predictable ways.

This book is a sobering and urgent wake-up call for policy makers and anyone interested in how our monetary and financial system really works. 

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The Case For A Maximum Wage by Sam Pizzigati

The Blurb On The Back:

Modern societies set limits, on everything from how fast motorists can drive to how much waste factory owners can dump in our rivers. But incomes in our deeply unequal world have no limits. Could capping top incomes tackle rising inequality more effectively than conventional approaches?

In this engaging book, leading analyst Sam Pizzigati details how egalitarians worldwide are demonstrating that a “maximum wage” could be both economically viable and politically practical. He shows how, building on local initiatives, governments could use their tax systems to enforce fair income ratios across the board.

The ultimate goal? That ought to be, Pizzigati argues, a world without a super rich. He explains why we need to create that world – and how we could speed its creation. 

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Small Money, Big Impact: Fighting Poverty With Microfinance by Peter Fanconi and Patrick Scheurle

The Blurb On The Back:

Small Money Big Impact brilliantly illustrates what microfinance is, how it works and all the ways microloans and impact investing can be a socially and financially rewarding asset class.

Impact investing is a global megatrend and is reshaping the way people invest as pension funds, insurance companies, foundations, family offices and private investors jump on board.

However, more than two billion people still lack access to basic financial services so opportunities abound.  This first-of-its-kind guide offers in-depth, yet accessible coverage to making a social and environmental impact, while benefitting from competitive, consistent and uncorrelated returns.  Returns that have proven themselves for well over a decade.

Gain expert-level understanding of both the processes and investment vehicles used in microfinance as well as an awareness of the power this asset class has to enrich the impoverished.

– Explore the global impact investing phenomenon.

– Learn how microloans work, and how they make a difference.

– Discover why investors are increasingly leaning into impact investing.

– Consider the factors that inform impact investing decisions.

Small Money Big Impact has your complete solution to using a small amount of capital to make the world a better place and sustain a robust portfolio. 

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The New Scramble For Africa by Pádraig Carmody

The Blurb On The Back:

Once marginalized in the world economy, Africa today is a major global supplier of crucial raw materials like oil, uranium and coltan.  China’s part in this story has loomed particularly large in recent years, and the American military footprint on the continent has also expanded.  But a new scramble for resources, markets and territory is now taking place in Africa, involving not just state, but non-state actors, including Islamic fundamentalist and other rebel groups.

The second edition of Pádraig Carmody’s popular book explores the duamics of the new scramble for African resources, markets and territory, and the impact of current investment and competition on people, the environment, and political and economic development on the continent.  Fully revised and updated throughout its chapters explore old and new economic power interest in Africa; oil, minerals, timber, biofuels, land, food and fisheries; and the nature and impacts of Asian and South African investment in manufacturing and other sectors.

The New Scramble For Africa will be essential reading for students of African studies, international relations and resource politics, as well as anyone interested in current affairs.

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The Ascendancy Of Finance by Joseph Vogl

The Blurb On The Back:

The global financial crisis of 2008 ushered in a system of informal decision-making in the grey zone between economics and politics.  Legitimised by a rhetoric of emergency, ad hoc bodies have usurped democratically elected governments.  In line with the neoliberal credo, the recent crisis has been used to re-align executive power with the interests of the finance industry.

In this important book, Joseph Vogl offers a longer perspective on these developments, showing how the dynamics of modern finance capitalism have always rested on a complex and constantly evolving relationship between private creditors and the state.  He argues that over the last three centuries, finance has become a ‘fourth power’, marked by the systematic interconnection of treasury and finance, of political and private economic interests.

The Ascendency Of Finance provides valuable and unsettling insight into the genesis of modern power and where it truly resides.

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What Everyone Needs To Know About Tax by James Hannam

The Blurb On The Back:

What the taxman hopes you won’t find out.

What Everyone Needs To Know About Tax is an entertaining and informative guide to the tax system in the United Kingdom.  This easy to understand explanation of tax and tax policy is written for the layman, with no accounting or legal background necessary.  It lifts the fog surrounding the latest political arguments and public controversies over taxation, including the effect of Brexit, whether multinational companies are unfairly avoiding their dues, the special privileges of the ultra-wealthy non-doms and more.

Tax expert and historian James Hannam gives insight on every aspect of the tax system, along with practical case studies illustrating how taxation functions in the real world.  He shows how taxes are kept as invisible as possible, why there are so many different taxes and how they almost all end up being paid by ordinary people.  Having read this book, you will:

–           Find out how much of your money goes in taxes without your noticing it

–           Understand the logic behind the wrinkles and foibles in the UK tax system

–           See through the cant of politicians and the media on the subject of tax

Above all, this book shows how, when it comes to tax, there are no easy answers.  May yourself a better-informed voter and taxpayer by reading What Everyone Needs To Know About Tax!

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Do We Need Economic Inequality? by Danny Dorling

The Blurb On The Back:

Although economic inequality provokes widespread disquiet, its supposed necessity is rarely questioned.  At best, a basic level of inequality is seen as a necessary evil.  At worst, it is seen as insufficient to encourage aspiration, hard work and investment – a refrain sometimes used to advocate ever greater inequality.

In this original new book, Danny Dorling critically analyses historical trends and contemporary assumptions in order to question the idea that inequality is an inevitability.  What if, he asks, widespread economic inequality is actually just a passing phase, a feature of the capitalist transition from a settled rural way of life to our next highly urban steady-state?  Is it really likely that we face a Blade Runner-style dystopian future divided between a tiny elite and an impoverished mass?

Dorling shows how, amongst much else, a stabilizing population, changing gender relations and rising access to education make a more egalitarian alternative to this nightmare vision not only preferable, but realistic. This bold contribution to one of the most significant debates of our time will be essential reading for anyone interested in our economic, social and political destiny. 

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Can The Euro Be Saved? by Malcolm Sawyer

The Blurb On The Back:

The economies of the Eurozone countries are plagued by multiple crises, which cast major doubts over the future of the euro.  In this engaging new book, leading economist Malcolm Sawyer argues that the entire policy framework of the Eurozone was fundamentally flawed from its foundation.  He shows how these ‘design faults’ intensified the crisis and are now locking in perpetual self-defeating austerity.

Sawyer proposed a bold alternative agenda for reviving the continent’s economic prosperity and saving the euro.  He argues, however, that the required solutions are certain to encounter huge obstacles.  He therefore concludes that Europe faces a bleak economic future, blighted by low growth, high unemployment and social division. 

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Platform Capitalism by Nick Srnicek

The Blurb On The Back:

What unites Google and Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, Siemens and GE, Uber and Airbnb?  Across a wide range of sectors, these firms are turning into platforms: businesses that provide the hardware and software foundation for others to operate on.  This transformation signals a major shift in how capitalist firms operate and how they interact with the rest of the economy: the emergence of ‘platform capitalism’.

Platform Capitalism critically examines these new business forms, tracing their genesis from the long downturn of the 1970s to the boom and bust of the 1990s and the aftershocks of the 2008 crisis.  It shows how the foundations of the economy are rapidly being carved up among a small number of monopolistic platforms and how the platform introduces new tendencies within capitalism that pose significant challenges to any vision of a post-capitalist future.  This book will be essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how the most powerful tech companies of our time are transforming the global economy. 

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The Money Formula: Dodgy Finance, Pseudo Science And How Mathematicians Took Over The Markets by Paul Wilmott and David Orrell

The Blurb On The Back:

There is no blurb on the back, but there are the following quotes:

“This book has humour, attitude, clarity, science and common sense; it pulls no punches and takes no prisoners.” 

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Scholar and former trader

 

”There are lots of people who’d prefer you didn’t read this book: financial advisors, pension fund managers, regulators and more than a few politicians.  That’s because it makes plain their complicity in a trillion dollar scam that nearly destroyed the global financial system.  Insiders Wilmott and Orrell explain how it was done, how to stop it happening again – and why those with the power to act are so reluctant to wield it.” 

Robert Matthews, Author of Chancing It: The Laws Of Chance And How They Can Work For You

 

”Few contemporary developments are more important – and more terrifying – than the increasing power of the financial system in the global economy.  This book makes it clear that this system is operated either by people who don’t know what they are doing or who are so greed-stricken that they don’t care.  Risk is at dangerous levels.  Can this be fixed?  It can and this book – full of healthy scepticism and high expertise – shows how.” 

Bryan Appleyard, Author and Sunday Times writer

 

”In a financial world that relies more and more on models that fewer and fewer people understand, this is an essential, deeply insightful as well as entertaining read.”

Joris Luyendijk, Author of Swimming With Sharks: My Journey Into The World Of The Bankers

 

”A fresh and lively explanation of modern quantitative finance, its perils and what we might do to protect against a repeat of disasters like 2008-09.  This insightful, important and original critique of the financial system is also fun to read.” 

Edward O. Thorp, Author of A Man For All Markets and New York Times bestseller Beat The Dealer

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Will China’s Economy Collapse? by Ann Lee

The Blurb On The Back:

The recent downturn in the Chinese economy has become a focal point of global attention, with some analysts warning that China is edging dangerously close to economic meltdown.  Is it possible that the second largest economy in the world could collapse and drag the rest of the world with it?

In this penetrating essay, Ann Lee explains both why China’s economy will not sink us all and the policy options on which it is drawing to mitigate against such a catastrophic scenario.  Dissecting with realistic clarity the challenges facing the Chinese economy, she makes a compelling case for its continued robustness in multiple sectors in the years ahead. 

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Will Robots Take Your Job? by Nigel M. de S. Cameron

The Blurb On The Back:

The trend that began with ATMs and do-it-yourself checkouts is moving at lightning speed.  Everything from driving to teaching to the care of the elderly and, indeed, code-writing can now be done by smart machines.  Conventional wisdom says there will be new jobs to replace those we lose – but is it so simple?  And are we ready?

Technology writer and think-tank director Nigel Cameron argues it’s naïve to believe we face a smooth transition.  Whether or not there are “new” jobs, we face massive disruption as the jobs millions of us are doing gets outsourced to machines.  A twenty-first century “rust belt” will rapidly corrode the labour market and affect literally hundreds of different kinds of jobs simultaneously.

Robots won’t design our future – we will.  Yet, shockingly, political leaders and policymakers don’t seem to have this in their line of sight.  So how should we assess and prepare for the risks of this unknown future?

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