Governments today in both Europe & the United States have succeeded in casting government spending as reckless wastefulness that has made the economy worse. In contrast, they have advanced a policy of draconian budget cuts―austerity―to solve the financial crisis. We are told that we have all lived beyond our means & now need to tighten our belts. This view conveniently forgets where all that debt came from. Not from an orgy of government spending, but as the direct result of bailing out, recapitalizing, & adding liquidity to the broken banking system. Through these actions private debt was rechristened as government debt while those responsible for generating it walked away scot free, placing the blame on the state, & the burden on the taxpayer.

In the worst case, austerity policies worsened the Great Depression and created the conditions for seizures of power by the … More

Born OTD in 1883, English lawyer, soldier and politician, Clement Attlee. His government’s Keynesian approach to economic management aimed to maintain full employment, a mixed economy and a greatly enlarged system of social services provided by the state. To this end, it undertook the nationalisation of public utilities and major industries, and implemented wide-ranging social reforms, including the passing of the National Insurance Act 1946 and National Assistance Act, the foundation of the National Health Service (1948) and the enlargement of public subsidies for council house building. His government also reformed trade union legislation, working practices and children’s services; it created the National Parks system, passed the New Towns Act 1946 and established the town and country planning system.

Clement Attlee was the Labour prime minister who presided over Britain’s radical postwar government, delivering the end of the Empire … More

Born OTD in 1935, Marxist economic geographer and Distinguished Professor of anthropology and geography, David Harvey. This major new textbook from the premier Marxist political thinker guides us through the classic text of political economy. For nearly forty years, David Harvey has taught and lectured on Marx’s “Capital”. In this book he draws on his rich knowledge of the text to create a step-by-step guide to the most important and influential study of capitalism.

Aimed to guide first-time readers through a dense and complicated as well as a rich and fascinating text, the book … More

Born OTD in 1908, Canadian-born economist, public official, and diplomat, John Kenneth Galbraith. Galbraith’s international bestseller The Affluent Society is a witty, graceful and devastating attack on some of our most cherished economic myths. As relevant today as when it was first published over 60 years ago, this newly updated edition of Galbraith’s classic text on the ‘economics of abundance’, lays bare the hazards of individual and social complacency about economic inequality. Why worship work and productivity if many of the goods we produce are superfluous – artificial ‘needs’ created by high-pressure advertising? Why begrudge expenditure on vital public works while ignoring waste and extravagance in the private sector of the economy? Classical economics was born in a harsh world of mass poverty, and has left us with a set of preconceptions ill-adapted to the realities of our own richer age.

And so, too often, ‘the bland lead the bland’. Our unfamiliar problems need a new approach, and the reception given … More

The GND has the potential of becoming one of the largest global campaigns of our times, and it started in Ann Pettifor’s flat. In 2008, the first Green New Deal was devised by Pettifor and a group of English economist and thinkers, but was ignored within the tumults of the financial crash. A decade later, the ideas was revived within the democratic socialists in the US, forefront by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. The Green New Deal demands a radical and urgent reversal of the current state of the global economy: including total de-carbonisation and a commitment to fairness and social justice. Critics on all sides have been quick to observe that the GND is a pipe dream that could never be implemented, and would cost the earth. But, as Ann Pettifor shows, we need to rethink the function of money, and how it works within the global system.

  How can we bail out the banks but not the planet? We have to stop thinking about the imperative … More

Book launch tomorrow of ‘Stolen’ with Grace Blakeley at St Mary in the Castle. 6pm. “Stolen tells the story of how and why this financialization occurred, what it means for our society and politics, and what the left can do to fight it. At present, the odds are stacked against labour and in favour of finance capital. But what follows it will be determined by which group — the many or the few — manages to take power in this moment of crisis. How we understand this moment, and what we do with it, will determine the course of the future.”

Available in store and online.

The first meeting of the Das Kapital Reading Group will take place at 6pm, Monday, 30th September at the shop. The first session we’ll be discussing chapter one, which if you have the Wordsworth edition of Vol’s 1 & 2 is up to page 55. The Wordsworth edition is available from the shop for £3.50 for all attendees.

One of the most notorious works of modern times, as well as one of the most influential, “Capital” is an … More

In August 1765 the East India Company defeated and captured the young Mughal emperor and forced him to set up in his richest provinces a new government run by English traders who collected taxes through means of a vast and ruthless private army. The creation of this new government marked the moment that the East India Company ceased to be a conventional international trading corporation, dealing in silks and spices, and became something much more unusual: an aggressive colonial power in the guise of a multinational business. In less than half a century it had trained up a private security force of around 260,000 men – twice the size of the British army – and had subdued an entire subcontinent, conquering first Bengal and finally, in 1803, the Mughal capital of Delhi itself.

The Company’s reach stretched relentlessly until almost all of India south of the Himalayas was effectively ruled from a boardroom … More

Coming soon. The Green New Deal has the potential of becoming one of the largest global campaigns of our times, and it started in Ann Pettifor’s flat. In 2008, the first GND was devised by Pettifor and a group of English economist & thinkers, but was ignored within the tumults of the financial crash. A decade later, the ideas was revived within the democratic socialists in the US, forefront by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. Ann is also adviser to the Labour Party’s Economic Advisory Committee.

The Green New Deal demands a radical and urgent reversal of the current state of the global economy: including total … More

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 … More