The 11 crucial books that explain modern capitalism


Rich People

Summary List Placement

Fifty years ago, capitalism in the West was based on manufacturing which provided well-paid, lifelong jobs and close to full employment. By the 1970s and 1980s that system was carrying a layer of credit and debt that made it more lucrative for banks to extract profits from deals and transactions than to provide finance for the creation of actual products.

Then, in the 1990s, the burgeoning tech industry made physical products even less relevant — and even more lucrative for investors and speculators.

These classic non-fiction books tell the story of how modern capitalism in the West changed from a system that made actual things into a trading desk for bonds, credit derivatives, and leverage … and created modern inequality along the way.

We’ve arranged the books chronologically according to the period of history they cover. If you read them in this order you’ll see how one segues into the next, and how dramatically capitalism has changed in the last 50 years.

LORDS OF FINANCE: 1929, The Great Depression, and the Bankers who Broke the World

Writer Liaquat Ahamed tells the story of the crash of 1929 told from the point of view of the central bank chiefs of the US, Britain, France, and Germany.

It’s a fantastically detailed personal account — based on letters and diaries — of the men who controlled the world’s currencies during the historic financial crisis that continues to dominate how we think about economics today.

The power of the drama lies in the book’s gradually unfolding revelation that those in charge of the great banks of the day did not themselves truly understand how capitalism worked (even though many of their colleagues had personal fortunes at stake) as they made error after error after error …

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BUY: “Lords of Finance” by Liaquat Ahamed, 2010.

RANK AND FILE (1973): The brutal, …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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