Born OTD in 1820, Friedrich Engels. Much of what Marx and Engels’ proposed – a state education system, a progressive income tax, the nationalisation of banks – would continue to be at the heart of political debate into the 21st century. It is no surprise, perhaps, that The Communist Manifesto (as it was later renamed) is the second best-selling book of all time, surpassed only by The Bible.

The Guardian’s editorial cartoonist Martin Rowson employs his trademark draughtsmanship and wit to this lively graphic novel adaptation of Marx … More

Born OTD in 1859, American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform, John Dewey. More than six decades after John Dewey’s death, his political philosophy is undergoing a revival. With renewed interest in pragmatism and its implications for democracy in an age of mass communication, bureaucracy, and ever-increasing social complexities.

Dewey’s The Public and Its Problems, first published in 1927, remains vital to any discussion of today’s political issues. This … More

Global finance is a system that works for the few and against the many. We need finance – but when finance grows too big it becomes a curse. The City of London is the single biggest drain on our resources; it sucks talent out of every sphere, it siphons wealth and hoovers up government time. Yet to be `competitive’, we’re told we must turn a blind eye to money-laundering and appease big business with tax cuts. We are told global finance is about wealth creation; the reality is wealth extraction.

Tracing the curse back through economic history, Shaxson uncovers how we got to this point. He exposes offshore tax havens; … More

Born OTD in 1810, English novelist, biographer, and short story writer, Elizabeth Gaskell. Set in Manchester in the 1840s – a period of industrial unrest and extreme deprivation – Mary Barton depicts the effects of economic and physical hardship upon the city’s working-class community.

Paralleling the novel’s treatment of the relationship between masters and men, the suffering of the poor, and the workmen’s angry … More

The turbulence of the financial markets is often explained in terms of the immorality of market agents, misguided economic theory or unsuitable regulation. Even when these explanations are not false ones, they leave aside the main problem: the nature of financial value. Starting out from the concept of fictitious capital, Cedric Durand argues that finance pre-empts future production, appropriating for itself wealth that is yet to be created.

  Using comparative data covering the last four decades, he shows that the rise in private and public debt, the … More