Category Archives: Books on harm

Books on various aspects of harm and productive + harmful social systems.

The Macroeconomics Anti-Textbook by Tony Myatt

Cover of the Macroeconomics Anti-Textbook

Mainstream textbooks present economics as an objective science, free from value judgements. This book demonstrates this to be a myth – one which serves to make such textbooks not only off-puttingly bland, but also dangerously misleading in their justification of the status quo and neglect of alternatives.

In this much-needed companion volume to the popular Microeconomics Anti-Textbook, Tony Myatt reveals how the blind spots and methodological problems present in microeconomics continue to exert their influence in mainstream macroeconomics. From a flawed conception of the labour market, to a Pollyana view of the financial sector, macroeconomic principles as they are set out in conventional undergraduate textbooks consistently fail to set out a realistic, useful, or equitable framework for understanding the world.

By summarising and then critically evaluating the major topics found in a typical macroeconomics textbook, the Anti-Textbook lays bare their sins of omission and commission, showing where hidden value judgements are made and when contrary evidence and alternative theories are ignored. The Macroeconomics Anti-Textbook is the student’s essential guide to decoding mainstream macroeconomic textbooks, and demonstrating how real-world economics are much more interesting than most economists are willing to let on.

See book webpage.

Paths of Development in the Southern Cone by Paul Cooney

Cover of Paths of Development in the Southern Cone by Paul Cooney
Cover of Paths of Development in the Southern Cone by Paul Cooney

This book analyzes the recent development paths pursued by progressive governments in Argentina and Brazil, namely deindustrialization and reprimarization, and the social and environmental consequences thereof.

A key part of understanding the trajectories in both Argentina and Brazil has been the role played by international institutions, especially the IMF and WTO, and also, the ever-growing hegemony of transnational corporations in the global economy and as a result, significantly limiting the possibilities of genuine development for local populations. Two major issues which extend beyond Latin America are: the expansion of genetically modified crops and agrotoxics and the concern for global food security and sovereignty; second, how reprimarization, associated with mining, cattle, soy and petroleum, has been key in leading to the risk of desertification in the Argentine pampas and also causing deforestation in the Amazon Rain forest, described as the lungs of the planet, and thus has major implications for climate change for the planet as a whole.

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Review of Nazi Billionaires: The Dark History of Germany’s Wealthiest Dynasties by David de Jong

Nazi Billionaires by David de Jong: How Hitler’s financiers are still in business Ela Maartens and Verena Nees November 2, 2022
…first, it was the ruling capitalist class, not the people, that wanted the rise of Hitler’s dictatorship. It massively financed the Nazi party in order to prevent a revolutionary uprising of workers in Germany.

The Tragic Science by George F. DeMartino

The Tragic Science: How Economists Cause Harm (Even as They Aspire to Do Good) by George F. DeMartino University of Chicago Press 2022

The practice of economics, as economists will tell you, is a powerful force for good. Economists are the guardians of the world’s economies and financial systems. The applications of economic theory can alleviate poverty, reduce disease, and promote sustainability. 

While this narrative has been successfully propagated by economists, it belies a more challenging truth: economic interventions, including those economists deem successful, also cause harm. Sometimes the harm is manageable and short-lived. But just as often the harm is deep, enduring, and even irreparable. And too often the harm falls on those least able to survive it. 

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