The best books exploring class warfare and that the wrong class is winning

Robert Chernomas Author Of Neoliberal Lives: Work, Politics, Nature, and Health in the Contemporary United States
By Robert Chernomas

Who am I?

Neoliberalism and I have grown up in opposition to one another over the past four decades. As a professor of economics, union, and political activist I have observed, wrote about, and resisted its effects on the life chances of the great majority of its citizens with particular focus on the United States as its primary protagonist and gatekeeper. The opposition to this transformative epoch included writing about the significant contributions of my profession to Neoliberal economics in two previous books; The Profit Doctrine: The Economists of the Neoliberal Era and Economics in the 21st Century: A Critical Perspective.


I wrote...

Neoliberal Lives: Work, Politics, Nature, and Health in the Contemporary United States

By Robert Chernomas, Ian Hudson, Mark Hudson

Book cover of Neoliberal Lives: Work, Politics, Nature, and Health in the Contemporary United States

What is my book about?

In Neoliberal Lives we decided to write a different kind of book one which not only contained an overview of Neoliberalism but the changes that took place in the lives of Americans at work, their income and wealth share, debt levels, schools, hospitals, environment, political capacity, and perspective. After all the Business Roundtable established in the 1970s representing what some would call a more organized American oligarchy set out to change the rules the rest of us live by and were remarkably successful in what alternatively has been called the new Gilded Age. As Warren Buffet made clear “it’s class warfare and my side is winning.” We set out to examine the interconnected results.

The books I picked & why

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The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism

By David M. Kotz,

Book cover of The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism

Why this book?

In addition to its excellent coverage of the economics of this transformation, its historical account of the shift in class partnerships makes a unique contribution to our understanding of the period. In the Golden Age of the previous period Big Business maintained a fraught alliance with its unions willing to pay growing wages closely aligned with labor productivity growth with the grudging acceptance of higher taxes and regulations of the Keynesian era leaving small business to fend for itself. Once Japan and Germany reindustrialized creating a more competitive economic landscape Kotz describes the full-blown class warfare identified by Buffet as Big Business realigned with small business to fight for cuts to its wages, taxes, regulatory costs and unions, and progressive politics.

The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism

By David M. Kotz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The financial and economic collapse that began in the United States in 2008 and spread to the rest of the world continues to burden the global economy. David Kotz, who was one of the few academic economists to predict it, argues that the ongoing economic crisis is not simply the aftermath of financial panic and an unusually severe recession but instead is a structural crisis of neoliberal, or free-market, capitalism. Consequently, continuing stagnation cannot be resolved by policy measures alone. It requires major institutional restructuring.

"Kotz's book will reward careful study by everyone interested in the question of
stages in…


What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America

By Frank Thomas,

Book cover of What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America

Why this book?

The fact that the capitalist class organizations, with their use of capital strike and flight, lobbying, funding right-wing “grassroots” organizations, think tanks, media, and Chicago school intellectuals, wanted to drive economic policy in a certain direction does not inevitably lead to the conclusion that they would have succeeded in achieving these goals. Neoliberal policies could not have been implemented in even a nominal democracy without at least a modicum of support from its victims. Remarkably, large sections of the American electorate vote for and support policies that favor the very business class that has profited from their economic decline. This is the first book to describe the abandonment of the Democratic Party by less-educated Whites which had a significant effect on the American shift to the right from the 1970s onward. My co-authors and I explore this shift in up-to-date detail in our book.

What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America

By Frank Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What's the Matter with Kansas? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reveals how conservatism became the preferred national political ideology, exploring the origins of this philosophy in the upper classes and tracing its recent popularity within the middle class.

Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America

By Martin Gilens,

Book cover of Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America

Why this book?

For Martin Gilens, the normal business of governing in the U.S. is largely untroubled by the preferences and desires of anybody but the wealthy.  Gilens looks at thousands of proposed policy changes, and the degree of support for each among poor, middle-class, and affluent Americans. His findings: when preferences of low- or middle-income Americans diverge from those of the affluent, there is virtually no relationship between policy outcomes and the desires of less advantaged groups. In contrast, affluent Americans’ preferences exhibit a substantial relationship with policy outcomes whether their preferences are shared by lower-income groups or not.

Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America

By Martin Gilens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Affluence and Influence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Can a country be a democracy if its government only responds to the preferences of the rich? In an ideal democracy, all citizens should have equal influence on government policy--but as this book demonstrates, America's policymakers respond almost exclusively to the preferences of the economically advantaged. Affluence and Influence definitively explores how political inequality in the United States has evolved over the last several decades and how this growing disparity has been shaped by interest groups, parties, and elections. With sharp analysis and an impressive range of data, Martin Gilens looks at thousands of proposed policy changes, and the degree…

Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class

By Jacob S. Hacker, Paul Pierson,

Book cover of Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class

Why this book?

This is a book about how inequality and economic crisis reflect what the government has done to aid the rich and what it has not done to safeguard the interests of the middle class. Hacker and Pierson trace the rise of the winner-take-all economy back to the late 1970s when, under Democratic president Carter and a Democratic Congress, a major transformation of American politics occurred. With big business and conservative ideologues organizing themselves to undo the regulations and progressive tax policies that had helped ensure a fair distribution of economic rewards, deregulation got underway, taxes were cut for the wealthiest, and business decisively defeated labor in Washington. As a sign of the Neoliberal times this transformation began with Carter, continued under Reagan, the Bushes, the Democrats Clinton and Obama, revealing a new reality where both parties learned to serve mammon. For Hacker and Pierson once we recognize that both parties behave as if they are under corporate control the path ahead becomes crystal clear, the need to rebuild American democracy. 

Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class

By Jacob S. Hacker, Paul Pierson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Winner-Take-All Politics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Making Of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy Of American Empire

By Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin,

Book cover of The Making Of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy Of American Empire

Why this book?

This book adds the international dimension to the Neoliberal story. Gindin and Panitch argue that the U.S. national state and “American MNCs” found key allies abroad among many dominant groups, as various state elites and dominant class fractions worldwide stood to gain through neoliberal reforms. The authors argue that supranational organizations developed largely along U.S. strategic lines. They explain for example how U.S. representatives hold inordinate influence through supranational forums such as the Bank for International Settlements, the World Trade Organization, and the International Monetary Fund. Furthermore, legal reforms (with U.S. support) have been made in many countries to limit the influence that voters have on economic policy with, for example, the de-politicization of trade policy. This is the story we tell for the U.S. writ large.

The Making Of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy Of American Empire

By Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Making Of Global Capitalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The all-encompassing embrace of world capitalism at the beginning of the twenty-first century was generally attributed to the superiority of competitive markets. Globalization had appeared to be the natural outcome of this unstoppable process. But today, with global markets roiling and increasingly reliant on state intervention to stay afloat, it has become clear that markets and states aren't straightforwardly opposing forces.

In this groundbreaking work, Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin demonstrate the intimate relationship between modern capitalism and the American state. The Making of Global Capitalism identifies the centrality of the social conflicts that occur within states rather than between…

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Interested in decision making, Kansas, and neoliberalism?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about decision making, Kansas, and neoliberalism.

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