An upswing in downturn topics. A review of bestselling books about the economy | Best of GMF 2014 | DW | 30.10.2012
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Best of GMF 2014

An upswing in downturn topics. A review of bestselling books about the economy

Economic issues are trendy. Find here some interesting literature on economics.

Titles such as Hidden Champions by Hermann Simon and The Price of Inequality by JosephStiglitz were tagged as popular trends in literature by experts at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair. Economic topics are evidently keenly read in times of crisis. The two publications take very different approaches to globalization and the economy. And both develop unconventional strategies and critically question economic values - the canon of global markets. Here's a list of other publications worth reading:

Prosperity Without Growth,by Tim Jackson, London and New York: Earthscan/Routledge, 2011.

What guarantees us prosperity and social peace? Politics and economics repeat the mantra of "growth, growth and more growth". The entire economic order is built on continued expansion, but according to British economist Tim Jackson, we need a new concept to drive the economy. Jackson argues for no less than a new economic order founded on a different understanding of prosperity. His explosive book already counts as one of the most important publications for a post-growth society.

Mental Infrastructures: How Growth Entered the World and Our Souls, by

Harald Welzer, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, 2011.

In light of the recent ecological, financial and economic crisis, criticizing the all-powerful paradigm of economic growth is necessary more than ever before. Individual lifestyles hold the key to the future. Economic innovations won’t be sufficient to make economy and society sustainable. This essay by social psychologist Harald Welzer is a piece of enlightenment at its best and clears the way for change.

Debt: The First 5000 Years,by David Graeber, Brooklyn, N.Y, Melville House, 2011.

Since the invention of debt 5,000 years ago, the promise of repayment has held people in slavery. David Graeber traces the human narrative as defined by the history of debt - a principle that only serves to preserve the power of the powerful. Graeber breaks the moral shackles that bind us to the principle of debt, calling it a weapon in the hands of the mighty. A global economy based on indebtedness is a declaration of bankruptcy of the entire system. Graber exposes currency and debt theories as myths, driving the economization of all social and societal relations.

The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality,by Richard Heinberg, New Society Publishers, 2011.

The End of Growth proposes a startling diagnosis: humanity has reached a fundamental turning point in our economic history. Richard Heinberg’s latest landmark work goes to the heart of the ongoing financial crisis, explaining how and why it occurred, and what we must do to avert the worst potential outcomes.

The End of Growthdescribes what policymakers, communities, and families can do to build a new economy that operates within Earth’s budget of energy and resources.

The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World,byMichael Spence,Macmillan US, 2012.

With the British Industrial Revolution, part of the world’s population started to experience extraordinary economic growth – leading to enormous gaps in wealth and living standards between the industrialized West and the rest of the world. This pattern of divergence reversed after World War II, and now we are midway through a century of high and accelerating growth in the developing world and a new convergence with the advanced countries. Michael Spence explains what happened to cause this dramatic shift in the prospects of the five billion people who live in developing countries. A winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, Spence clearly and boldly describes what’s at stake for all of us as he looks ahead to how the global economy will develop over the next fifty years.