Global Economics Reading List

Panic Rules

Robin Hahnel, South End
“For years, people have been asking what to read to understand the global economy, its institutions, its crises, the reasons for the particular forms it has taken and their effects — and what they can do about it. Is there really ‘No Alternative,’ as constantly proclaimed? Why these arrangements and principles, not others? Robin Hahnel has written that book: lucid, enlightening, deeply-informed, wide-ranging, and constructive. It’s just what has been needed.” —Noam Chomsky

Globalization From Below

Jeremy Brecher, South End
When tens of thousands of protestors brought the World Trade Organization in Seattle to a halt in November 1999, it marked the “coming out party” for a new global movement. Trade unionists, environmentalists, students, women’s rights groups, and human rights advocates demanded an alternative to “globalization from above.” As Newsweek commented, “There are now two visions of globalization on offer, one led by commerce, one by social activism.”

Dark Victory

The United States and Global Poverty
by Walden Bello, Shea Cunningham & Bill Rau
As we enter the 21st century, many countries of the South are in a state of economic crisis, with once optimistic visions of the future cruelly dashed by rising mass poverty, inequality, and hunger. “Bello et al build their case with relentless scholarship. Even those who think they know the structural adjustment scenario inside our will be grateful to Bello for taking the toughest cases for examination.”   –Susan George

The Amoral Elephant

William K. Tabb, Monthly Review
In this overview of world capitalism, William K. Tabb confronts the prevailing view of globalization as the steamroller against which even the most powerful nations are helpless. Tabb describes how institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization have focused on neoliberal goals, devising regulatory frameworks to provide greater freedom and opportunity for capital at the expense of social need.  

Corporate Predators

Mokhiber and Weissman, Common Courage
Fifty-one of the world’s biggest 100 economies are corporations, not countries. As the most powerful institution of our time, the multinational corporation dominates not only global economics, but politics and culture as well. But the mechanisms of corporate control and the details of corporate abuses have remained largely hidden from public perception — until now.

 

Private Planet

Corporate Plunder and the Fight Back
David Cromwell, Jon Carpenter Publishing
This book shows that free trade is actually forced trade, depending as it does on the coercive efforts of powerful corporate and political elites in the rich countries of the north to prise open the economies of the south, and gain access to their plentiful natural resources, including cheap labour. There is also nothing ‘free’ about a system of trade which systematically degrades the environment and widens the gap between rich and poor.

Economic Fundamentalism

The New Zealand Experiment – A World Model for Structural Adjustment?
Jane Kelsey, Pluto Books, 1995
Since 1984, New Zealand has undergone the most radical free market reforms of any OECD country. The application of a set of untested economic theories to an unsuspecting population as government policy mirrored all of the key elements of structural adjustment programs. This is the country which The Economist praised for “out-Thatchering Mrs Thatcher”. New Zealand continues been held up by institutions like the World Bank and neoliberal governments the world over as a success story, a model for others to emulate. 

But the radical economic transformation has led to massive social inequalities and a takeover of much of the country’s infrastructure by transnational capital. Jane Kelsey book debunks the claims made by adherents of this economic fundamentalism about the “success” of this experiment in a thorough critique of the social, political, economic impacts of this process.

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