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Redeeming Economics

James R. Maclean
The list author says: "Orthodox economic theory is crammed with tautologies, fundamentalisms, and recondite abstractions. It's a social science that struggled to make of itself a branch of mathematics. But is the field lost beyond all repair? Is there anything valuable to learn? This list, I hope, will help the earnest reader redeem economics for a future generation."
The Wealth of Nations: Books 1-3 (Penguin Classics) (Bks.1-3)
The Wealth of Nations: Books 1-3 (Penguin Classics) (Bks.1-3)
"Yes, this classic--so often cited by market fundamentalists who have forgotten its contents if they ever read them--is something very different from the libertarian tract it is imagined to be. Smith is much more responsible and careful in his use of generalized descriptions of how economic transactions take place, than are even his most immediate, and putative, apostles--Ricardo or Senior."
The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time
The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time
"The origins of the "market" in land, labor, and finance-capital are rather different than economists have claimed.  Polanyi explains how the early bourgeois systematically restructured the social foundations of economic relations."
Legal Foundations of Capitalism
Legal Foundations of Capitalism
"Amazing eye-opener to the evolution of the legal rights of the corporation."
Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism
Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism
"An impartial and thorough inquiry into the development of the modern industrial enterprise.  Why did the corporation take its present form?  How is the US corporation different from business climates of other industrial nations?  Find out here."
Rational Expectations (Cambridge Surveys of Economic Literature)
Rational Expectations (Cambridge Surveys of Economic Literature)
"A careful and exhaustive critique of Rational Expectations theory.  Rather than supply an exposé, Sheffrin works through the assumptions and mathematics to explain what RE had contributed to our understanding of the economy."
Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil
Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil
"A clear-eyed, sometimes hard-nosed look at severe poverty and its implications.  According to Scheper-Hughes, observing poverty challenges our most cherished anthropological--and economic--assumptions."
Market Domination!: The Impact of Industry Consolidation on Competition, Innovation, and Consumer Choice
Market Domination!: The Impact of Industry Consolidation on Competition, Innovation, and Consumer Choice
"Essential and unique introduction to the phenomenon of oligopoly, oligopsony, and market dominance."
How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities By John Cassidy
How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities By John Cassidy
"Outstanding summary of the evolution of market theory and its eventual implosion; accompanied by a well-informed explanation of how this led to the Financial Crisis of 2008."
Economics and the Public Purpose
Economics and the Public Purpose
"One of the best books by Galbraith. Over many years of studying economics, my respect for him has grown immensely.  In a field that remorselessly disparages older works, this remains a masterpiece.  Summarizes the major flaws in assumptions used by economists--still--to formulate policy recommendations."
Debunking Economics - Revised and Expanded Edition: The Naked Emperor Dethroned?
Debunking Economics - Revised and Expanded Edition: The Naked Emperor Dethroned?
"An outstanding and academically rigorous riposte to neoclassical orthodoxy.  This book has utterly transformed my understanding of the field."
Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science that Makes Life Dismal
Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science that Makes Life Dismal
"Concise, devastating rebuke of the intellectual bankruptcy of mainstream economics--especially when it seeks to trump democracy"
ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism
ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism
"Indispensable political critique of economics and its ideological grip on North America."
How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities
How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities
"Rigorous, well-researched survey of market analysis; debunks the popular religion of efficient, benevolent markets."
All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis
All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis
"One of the best accounts of the current financial crisis."
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
"A brilliant and crucial tour of real world history. Vital for understanding current events, from the Arab Spring to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina."
Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism
Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism
"Almost nothing to take its place: an account of how the rich nations of the world actually got that way, and how they've been pulling up the ladder."